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Great Comebacks® Program Recognizes WOC Nurse Heidi H. Cross at WOCN 43rd Annual Conference

NEW ORLEANS, June 5, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Heidi H. Cross, RN, MSN, FNP-BC, CWOCN was presented with the 2011 WOC Nurse Great Comebacks® Award at the opening ceremony of the Wound, Ostomy and Continence Nurses (WOCN) Society's 43rd Annual Conference in New Orleans, LA. The Great Comebacks® Program, which provides information and support for people living with intestinal diseases that can lead to ostomy surgery, annually honors a WOC nurse who has provided exceptional care to help patients after surgery.

Cross was presented with her award in recognition of the support she has provided current Great Comebacks® Award recipient for the East region, Linda Pasto, RN, as well as many other patients and families. She is a board-certified family nurse practitioner and WOC nurse at Upstate University Hospital, in Syracuse, NY.

Cross also volunteers at a free ostomy clinic and founded a support group where she met Pasto, nearly five years ago, after she had recently had ostomy surgery.  Even though she was a nurse, Pasto found her ostomy challenging to understand and accept at first.

"I was completely out of my element, but Heidi immediately welcomed me into the group and connected me with the other members. She gave me the courage and the strength to face my ostomy in those early stages," says Pasto.

Pasto noted that Cross took time to visit members of the support group when they went to the hospital or put together cards for those who couldn't make a meeting. Based on her example, Pasto has been inspired to pursue her own WOCN certification.

"I am so grateful that Heidi agreed to become my preceptor for WOCN certification because she really gave me my life back," says Pasto.

Cross works with ostomy patients at the Upstate University Hospital and assists CNY Surgical Physicians at the Community General Wound Care Center in Syracuse, NY. She received her master's degree in Nursing and Nurse Practitioner Certificate from SUNY Upstate Medical University. She is chairman of the national WOCN Certification Board Exam Committee and has authored several articles and lectured nationally on wound and ostomy care. She was named the 2008 Nurse of the Year by the United Ostomy Associations of America.

"As we honor patients through the Great Comebacks® program, we find that nurses continually play a vital role in helping our award winners to achieve their goals and be active members of their families and communities. We are proud to recognize Heidi Cross, who has been a resource and inspiration for so many individuals and families affected by digestive disease as well as her colleagues in the nursing profession," said Rolf Benirschke, Founder and Chairman, Great Comebacks® Program.  

The Great Comebacks® Program is sponsored by ConvaTec, a world-leading developer and marketer of innovative medical technologies for community and hospital care, in partnership with the Crohn's & Colitis Foundation (CCFA), the United Ostomy Associations of America, Inc. (UOAA), the Intestinal Disease Education and Awareness Society (IDEAS), the Wound, Ostomy and Continence Nurses (WOCN) Society and the American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons (ASCRS).

"We are exceptionally delighted to honor Heidi Cross for her dedication to patients and her many achievements in ostomy care. She is a wonderful example of a nurse who regularly goes the extra mile to help patients achieve a full recovery and live a healthier life. She is a great example of the dedication that so many nurses in our field demonstrate every day," said Phyllis Bonham, PhD, MSN, RN, CWOCN, DPNAP, FAAN and President, WOCN Society.

About the Great Comebacks® ProgramNow in its third decade, the Great Comebacks® Program raises awareness of quality of life issues for people with Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis, colorectal cancer and other diseases that can lead to ostomy surgery. The mission of Great Comebacks® is to provide information and inspiration to people facing the emotional and physical challenges of living with serious intestinal diseases and ostomy surgery. The program also aims to remove the stigma surrounding ostomy surgery and to educate patients, their families and friends, and the general public that ostomy surgery can be a second chance to fulfill dreams and lead a full and productive life with joy and passion. For more information, please visit

About ConvaTecConvaTec is a leading developer and marketer of innovative medical technologies that have helped improve the lives of millions of people worldwide. With four key focus areas – Ostomy Care, Wound Therapeutics, Continence and Critical Care, and Infusion Devices – ConvaTec products support health care professionals from the hospital to the community health setting. For more information, please visit Contacts:Punnie DonohueConvaTec Phone: 908-904-2151punnie.donohue@convatec.comAndrea Coan Berry & Company Public RelationsPhone: Great Comebacks and the Great Comebacks Logo are registered trademarks of ConvaTec Inc.

© 2011 ConvaTec Inc.


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