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BRAVE Awards Recipients Announced

DUBLIN, Nov. 18, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Fourteen caregivers from around the world have been announced today as Recipients or Distinguished Honorees in the inaugural Shire BRAVE Awards, an international program that aims to recognize everyday people who serve as caregivers. Launched by Shire in June 2011, the BRAVE Awards is the first and only awards initiative of its kind that honors the courage and dedication of non-professional caregivers, the unsung everyday heroes who provide regular and consistent care for other people.  

"Helping another person through consistent, dedicated care is one of the most generous acts and we believe that such caregivers deserve to be recognized and celebrated," said Angus Russell, Shire Chief Executive Officer. "This unique program strikes to the core of Shire's purpose of enabling people with life-altering conditions to lead better lives. We are privileged to honor these individuals who are models of courage and selflessness through their devotion to caring for others, often in the face of adversity."

Shire received nearly 400 nominations from seven countries over 10 weeks for the BRAVE Awards. The BRAVE Awards Selection Committee, which included select Shire employees and Gary Barg, Editor in Chief of Today's Caregiver and as well as author of The Fearless Caregiver, reviewed and ranked the nominations based on the qualities that define Shire's own BRAVE culture: respect, courage, dedication, impact and patience. Shire's nearly 5,000 employees from across the world helped to select the Recipients and Distinguished Honorees from the pool of eligible finalists.  

Shire is proud to honor 14 people as part of the inaugural BRAVE Awards; 10 Recipients each will receive $10,000 USD or the local currency equivalent, and four Distinguished Honorees will each be awarded $2,500 USD or the local currency equivalent, for a total of $110,000 USD.  

"The BRAVE Awards is an outstanding program that recognizes those who selflessly dedicate their lives to the health and well-being of others who need it most," said Mr. Barg. "The 14 inaugural recipients and honorees are heroes who are truly deserving of this recognition."

2011 BRAVE Awards Recipients*
While they come from a range of different backgrounds and face unique challenges, the Recipients and Distinguished Honorees are connected by their tireless dedication and commitment to others.  To read more about and hear from each Recipient and Distinguished Honoree, visit


Zarrar Beg: Zarrar cares for four handicapped children, including his three daughters, who have a form of Mucopolysaccharidosis (MPS), and his autistic son, all the while striving to fill every day of their lives with as much joy as they've given him and his wife.

Natalie Gibbs: For 14 years, Natalie has selflessly acted as her daughters' "arms and legs" after they were diagnosed with Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA), a progressive disease that leads to loss of muscle control and movement.

Joan Metz: Joan has spent nearly 12 years caring for her adopted daughter Sophie, who suffers from the effects of Shaken Baby Syndrome, making sure that she receives speech therapy and gets the regular care she needs to thrive in a loving family environment.

Christine Muller: Thanks to Chris's strength, her son Ben, who has Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, learned to ride a bike at six years old, walked until he was 14 years old and is now a thriving 26 year-old.

Ronna Reid: Ronna has been her daughter Amanda's primary caregiver following her Rett Syndrome diagnosis in 1991, all while raising three other children diagnosed with other various disorders and advocating tirelessly for Amanda's future.

Micky Todd: For over a decade, Micky has dedicated his life to supporting whoever in his family is in need of help, beginning with his father-in-law, and including his own father and later his mother, who is dealing with both Alzheimer's and arthritis.

Rosemarie Veliz: Rosemarie has committed herself to caring for her son, Chase, who was diagnosed with a form of Mucopolysaccharidosis (MPS), and to becoming an integral part of his medical team over the years.

Jennifer Wheeler: Jennifer has spent the last nine years dedicated to her son, Brandon, who was involved in a motorcycle accident that left him paralyzed from the neck down.

Matthew Wolfson: Matthew stayed by his now fiancée's side when she was in a coma following an accident; after she emerged from the coma, Matthew stepped in to support her in their life together.

*One Recipient requested that her information not be shared in this press release.


Jennifer Alawadi: After marrying her husband, who suffered from Cystic Fibrosis, Jennifer focused on fighting for his quality of life – including a successful legal battle to win insurance coverage for his lung transplant surgery.

Douglas R. Cook: Doug has committed himself to providing the best life possible to his wife, Radene, who suffered a concussion and severely damaged spine after a plane crash.

Maria Douglas: Maria dedicated herself to her husband's recovery after he was injured as a soldier in Iraq, giving up her job twice to become his full-time caregiver.

Vickie Whalen: Vickie has spent more than nine years taking care of her son Brandon, who was born with Agenesis of the Corpus Callosum (ACC), a disorder in which the structure of the brain that connects the two hemispheres is absent, and helping him live a joyful life.

The Shire BRAVE Awards are presented in the spirit of Shire's BRAVE culture, which fosters an environment that encourages its employees and partners to act with integrity; create innovative solutions that make a difference; act on the needs of others; strive to be better every day; and to exemplify trust and openness through teamwork. Nominations for the 2012 Shire BRAVE Awards are expected to be open on or about March 15, 2012.  

Notes to editors

About the Shire BRAVE Awards

The Shire BRAVE Awards is an international program created by Shire to honor the courage and dedication of individual caregivers. For the Shire Brave Awards, a caregiver is defined as an individual who is providing regular, consistent care for another person(s). The caregiver cannot be a professional healthcare provider and cannot be compensated in any formal way through their efforts as a caregiver.  The caregiver can be a relative, neighbor, or friend who gives their time, support, and compassion regularly, helping another person(s) who is (partly or wholly) unable to care for themselves due to health issues, injury, or other extenuating circumstance. For further information on the Shire BRAVE Awards, including official rules, legal disclosures, and privacy policy please visit


Shire's strategic goal is to become the leading specialty biopharmaceutical company that focuses on meeting the needs of the specialist physician. Shire focuses its business on attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, human genetic therapies, gastrointestinal diseases and regenerative medicine as well as opportunities in other therapeutic areas to the extent they arise through acquisitions. Shire's in-licensing, merger and acquisition efforts are focused on products in specialist markets with strong intellectual property protection and global rights. Shire believes that a carefully selected and balanced portfolio of products with strategically aligned and relatively small-scale sales forces will deliver strong results.

For further information on Shire, please visit the Company's website:

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