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The Great Comebacks(R) Program Announces 2009 Regional Awards Recipients

SKILLMAN, N.J., Oct. 1 /PRNewswire/ -- The Great Comebacks® Program announced today the 2009 regional awards recipients. Celebrating its 25th anniversary this year, the annual Great Comebacks® Program recognizes the inspirational achievements of adults and young people who have overcome debilitating intestinal diseases and ostomy surgery.

The awards are 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), and the Wound, Ostomy and Continence Nurses (WOCN) Society.

Inflammatory Bowel Disease, a collective term for Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis, affects an estimated 1.4 million Americans, many of whom are initially impacted when they are adolescents or young adults.(1) Along with colorectal cancer, inflammatory bowel disease is a common condition that may lead to a permanent or temporary ostomy.

The 2009 Great Comebacks® regional award recipients are:

  • South: Father Dennis Donovan, SDB, 55, Tampa, FL
  • Central: Tony Bell, 28, Harveyville, KS
  • East: Scott Bowling, 38, Annapolis, MD
  • West: Sylvia Prothro Hebert, 42, Park City, UT

"These debilitating diseases, and the prospect of ostomy surgery, can leave you feeling isolated, fearful and uncertain about the future," said Rolf Benirschke, former San Diego Chargers place-kicker, ulcerative colitis patient and chairman of the Great Comebacks® Program. "For 25 years, Great Comebacks has honored inspiring individuals who, by sharing their stories, give hope and encouragement so that others, too, can reclaim their lives and pursue their dreams."

Joining the regional Great Comebacks® recipients are young people being recognized with Ina Brudnick and Comeback Kids(TM) Awards. The Ina Brudnick Award, given in memory of the pioneering stoma care nurse, presents $1,000 each to four students who have undergone ostomy surgery and/or have Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis and intend to pursue a higher education. The Comeback Kids(TM) Award, additionally sponsored by Youth Rally, recognizes young people who are living active, productive lives while managing an ostomy and/or other bowel/bladder disorders.

The 2009 Ina Brudnick regional award recipients are:

  • South: Tyler Kalbac, 17, Miami, FL
  • Central: Nadia Deane, 18, DePere, WI
  • East: Cheryl Ebbinghaus, 24, Groton, CT
  • West: Misty Foster, 24, San Mateo, CA

The 2009 Comeback Kids(TM) regional award recipients are:

  • South: Sara Biesiadny, 17, Grapevine, TX
  • Central: Laurel Schwartz, 16, St. Paul, MN
  • East: Sarah Vasilakos, 18, Annadale, VA
  • West: Jamie Nakamura, 16, Honolulu, HI

All of this year's recipients will be honored at regional ceremonies during the fall and their stories will be shared on the Great Comebacks® Website at Early next year, one of the Great Comebacks® regional recipients also will be honored as the 2009 National Great Comebacks® recipient. ConvaTec and the WOCN Society also will present the WOC Nurse Great Comebacks® Award, a new recognition honoring a WOC nurse who has been instrumental in helping one of these recipients achieve their "great comeback."

"At ConvaTec, our mission is to make a difference in people's lives, a mission reflected in our commitment to innovation and in our long-standing support for programs such as Great Comebacks," said Nino Pionati, President of ConvaTec Ostomy Care. "We are proud to recognize these remarkable recipients and spread the important message that life after surgery can be full - not of limitations, but of possibilities."

About the Great Comebacks® Program

Now 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 disorders that can lead to ostomy surgery. The program also provides educational materials and support for individuals facing the emotional as well as physical challenges of these debilitating diseases and transitioning to life after surgery. For more information, please visit

About ConvaTec

ConvaTec is a leading developer and marketer of innovative medical technologies that have helped improve the lives of millions of people worldwide. With four key business divisions - 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. From its headquarters in Skillman, New Jersey, the company oversees more than 8,000 employees in over 90 countries serving consumers and their health care professionals on six continents. For more information, please visit

Great Comebacks is a registered trademark of ConvaTec Inc.

Comeback Kids is a trademark of ConvaTec Inc.

© 2009 ConvaTec Inc.



1. About Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis. Crohn's & Colitis Foundation of America. Accessed August 12, 2009.

    Punnie Donohue                          Courtney Judd
    ConvaTec                                Weber Shandwick
    Phone: 908-904-2151                     Phone: 212-445-8365   


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