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Arthritis Foundation Bestows Highest National Awards

The Arthritis Foundation bestowed its highest nationwide honors to several deserving recipients during its national meeting in Atlanta.

(PRWEB) December 3, 2009 -- The Arthritis Foundation bestowed its highest nationwide honors to several deserving recipients during its national meeting on Nov. 20 in Atlanta. The honorees are as follows:

Charles B. Harding Award for Distinguished Service
The Arthritis Foundation honored Laura Robbins, DSW, of Brooklyn, N.Y., with its highest nationwide volunteer award, the Charles B. Harding Award for Distinguished Service. This annual award recognizes a volunteer who has provided leadership and direction to the Arthritis Foundation, given their time and talent generously to help others, and challenged other foundation volunteers to be their best. Dr. Robbins has served the Arthritis Foundation in various capacities for nearly 25 years and currently holds the position of vice president of education and academic affairs at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York.

Lee C. Howley Sr. Prize for Arthritis Research
John O’Shea, M.D., of the National Institutes of Health was named the 2009 winner of the Lee C. Howley Sr. Prize for Arthritis Research. The Howley Prize recognizes researchers whose contributions during the previous five years have represented a significant advancement in the understanding, treatment or prevention of arthritis. Dr. O’Shea was chosen for his continued research in the treatment and control of rheumatic diseases, including findings that have led to the development of a new class of immunosuppressive drugs that have significantly improved treatment options for people living with various forms of arthritis and related diseases.

Floyd B. Odlum Making a Difference Award
The first ever Floyd B. Odlum Making a Difference Award, which honors an individual, organization, corporation or government agency that has helped to make a difference in the lives of people and families with arthritis, was given to the Independent Order of Odd Fellows and Rebekah Assemblies. The Odd Fellows, one of the oldest fraternal organizations in the country, received the award for their continued generous support of the Arthritis Foundation nationwide.

Heart of the Mission Award
The Heart of the Mission Award was presented to the Deb and Chris Uschan family of Sun Prairie, Wis. The award is given annually to a group or individual who has raised funds for and improved the lives of others through their unfaltering dedication to the mission of the Arthritis Foundation.

Lorraine Potocki Award
The Lorraine Potocki Award was bestowed upon Autumn Ehnow of San Francisco, Calif., for her outstanding work with the Arthritis Walk. This prestigious award is named in honor of the first national chairperson of the Arthritis Walk event and is given to an outstanding Arthritis Walk chairperson who has mirrored the soul of the event.

Jingle Bell Run/Walk Spirit Award
Colleen Bjornstad of Fargo, N.D., was awarded the Jingle Bell Run/Walk Spirit Award. This award is presented to an outstanding Jingle Bell Run/Walk chairperson who led their special event to success through spirit and determination.

Development Volunteer of the Year
Deborah Wohlers of Orange County, Calif., was honored with the foundation’s Development Volunteer of the Year award. The award is given to a volunteer who has exemplified the true spirit of fundraising and has selflessly given their time, resources and energy to further the financial growth of the Arthritis Foundation.

Gala Excellence Award
The Gala Excellence Award was presented to Paul and Pam Sturkey of Cincinnati, Ohio. The award highlights an outstanding dinner, gala or specialty party chairperson who epitomizes success in this special event category.

Community Excellence Award
Daniel Ricciardi, M.D., of Brooklyn, N.Y., was honored with the Community Excellence Award for his ability to inform and lead community-based volunteer committees and model the success of the community development process. The award is presented to a volunteer who has strengthened the Foundation through their vision for change.

Philip S. Magaram Award
Darryl L. Harris of Woodstock, Ga., was awarded the Philip S. Magaram Planned Giving Leadership Award for outstanding volunteer leadership in planned giving.

Clifford M. Clarke Award for Outstanding Leadership
The Clifford M. Clarke Award, which is the highest honor provided to an Arthritis Foundation staff member, was awarded to Cindy McDaniel of Marietta, Ga., and Marilyn Williams of Atlanta, Ga.

About the Arthritis Foundation
The Arthritis Foundation is the leading health organization addressing the needs of some 46 million Americans living with arthritis, the nation’s most common cause of disability. Founded in 1948, with headquarters in Atlanta, the Arthritis Foundation has multiple service points located throughout the country.

The Arthritis Foundation is the largest private, not-for-profit contributor to arthritis research in the world, funding more than $415 million in research grants since 1948. The foundation helps individuals take control of arthritis by providing public health education; pursuing public policy and legislation; and conducting evidence-based programs to improve the quality of life for those living with arthritis. Information is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week at 1-800-283-7800 or


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