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BRAVE Awards Recipients Announced

November 14, 2012


Fifteen everyday heroes who selflessly care for others in the face of adversity honored by Shire in annual international awards program

They inspire with their determination, selflessness, courage and hope.  Fifteen caregivers from around the world have been announced today as Recipients or Distinguished Honorees in the 2nd Annual Shire BRAVE Awards, an international program that honors the bravery and devotion of non-professional caregivers. Launched by Shire in 2011, the BRAVE Awards are the first and only initiative of its kind and are designed to celebrate the amazing commitment of unsung everyday heroes – caregivers – who provide consistent and dedicated care for others.

“Our BRAVE Award winners represent the invisible army of millions of family caregivers, many of whom balance a job, household tasks and the intense medical needs of another person, and in many case, several people,” said Angus Russell, Shire Chief Executive Officer. “Their consistent care of others is an enormously generous way to live their life, and we at Shire are privileged to recognize these individuals who bravely overcome unimaginable obstacles and work tirelessly to give their loved ones as normal and healthy a life as possible.”

Shire received more than 550 nominations for the 2012 BRAVE Awards from 10 countries over the 15 week nomination period. The nominations were reviewed and ranked by the BRAVE Awards Selection Committee, including select Shire employees from around the world and two external and independent experts in the area of caregiving.  The experts who supported the selection process for 2012 were Frank Goodwin, Secretary of EuroCarers, the European association that works on behalf of unpaid caregivers; and Gary Barg, Founder and Editor in Chief of Today’s Caregiver and author of The Fearless Caregiver

“The BRAVE Awards is a unique international program that not only recognizes these specific carers but which also importantly raises awareness of the role non-professional caregivers play in our society everyday,” said Mr. Goodwin.

Nominations were ranked based on the qualities that define Shire’s own BRAVE culture: respect, courage, dedication, impact and patience. Shire’s 5,200 global employees helped to select the Recipients and Distinguished Honorees from the pool of eligible finalists.  The ten Recipients of a 2012 BRAVE Award each will receive $10,000 USD or the local currency equivalent, and the five Distinguished Honorees will each be awarded $2,500 USD or the local currency equivalent. 

“Providing resources and support for caregivers is a constant focus for those of us who serve these dedicated healthcare heroes. This unique awards initiative recognizes and celebrates family caregivers who fearlessly advocate for the wellbeing of their loved ones, often drawing strength and spirit from the very people for whom they care,” said Mr. Barg.

To read more about and hear from each of the 2012 BRAVE Awards Recipients and Distinguished Honorees, visit www.ShireBRAVEAwards.com


Brian Burke (Santa Rosa, CA): Thanks to Brian’s love, support and care, his wife Kate, who was diagnosed with a stage IV brain tumor, breast cancer and suffered a severe stroke, has beaten the odds, living well beyond her prognosis and providing hope for countless cancer and stroke survivors.

Carmen Carrasco Lobato (Malaga, Spain): Carmen a mother of five, has dedicated more than 43 years of her life to care for her three sons and recently, a family friend, all of who were born with serious development disabilities.  She goes well above and beyond the role of mother and friend.

Patsy Fleckenstein (Baltimore, MD): For nearly two decades, Patsy has served as the inspiring matriarch of her family, caring full-time for her two grown children (and their four kids) after separate car accidents left them both paralyzed from the neck down.

Debra Frain (Cheektowaga, NY): Thanks to Debra’s tireless devotion and refusal to give up, her 21-year-old son Matt, who suffers from a rare neuromuscular disease and is confined to a wheelchair, is halfway through college, having lived well past the 12 months that doctors originally forecasted.

Randall Gregory (Beverly, MA): After Randall’s wife Nicole suffered a stroke that left her paralyzed from the neck down just one year into their marriage, he has provided constant emotional, physical and financial support for the woman he calls his wife and best friend, striving daily to give Nicole as normal a life as possible.

Carol Harmer (Wagga Wagga, Australia): Carol is a full-time mother and full-time caregiver for her three children, two of whom have Phelan-McDermid syndrome (PMS) and are fully dependent for basic needs.  She also finds time to be an advocate, helping raise awareness about children with special needs.

Raul Navarro (Corona, CA): Raul has served as his wife Mary’s 24/7 caregiver for nearly 25 years despite his own battle with cancer, trading in his well-paying job to help her through two bouts of thyroid cancer, seizures and Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS).

Mary Pizzurro (Tampa, FL): Mary has spent the past 21 years caring for her four children, two of whom suffer from giant axonal neuropathy (GAN), a disease with no cure that causes Michael and Joseph to use power wheelchairs, feeding tubes and tracheotomies.  She is also pursuing a nursing degree, inspiring her two daughters to follow in her footsteps.

Chelsea Scheiber (Rio Oso, CA): By refocusing her career and relocating to care for her brother and best friend Travis, who has Becker Muscular Dystrophy (BMD), Chelsea is the very definition of a selfless sister.

Otis Williams (Jackson, MS): A family hero, Otis works evenings so he can take care of his family full-time when they’re awake. His wife Michelle and two of their three children have Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease (CMT), a form of muscular dystrophy.


William Dent (Oakland, CA): Around-the-clock, 70-year-old Bill selflessly cares for his son Darren, who has Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) and relies on a feeding tube and ventilator, all the while striving to put a smile on Darren’s face each day, as he knows laughter can be the best medicine.

Mark Jubinville (Chicopee, MA): For 30 years, Mark has selflessly fought for his wife Lori after she had a stroke during pregnancy and three subsequent strokes that left her paralyzed on her left side.  He also researched a potential solution to prevent future strokes, all the while raising their son.

Catherine O’Hare (Birmingham, AL): Catherine’s extraordinary level of passion, humility and commitment to her 18-year-old daughter Amelia, who was diagnosed with spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) as a one-year-old, has allowed Amelia to live a rich and fulfilling life, even though she cannot stand or walk.

Daniel Steckman (Holyoke, CO): A great father and loving husband, Dan is the primary caregiver for his son Jeremy, who suffers from muscular dystrophy, and serves as the household leader, as his wife received a heart transplant and has health restrictions.

Mary Sweeney (Willis, TX): Mary’s husband Bill, who suffers from Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) and cannot walk or speak, has learned to use an eye-gaze computer to communicate and does more than many able-bodied men thanks to her endless care, love and encouragement over the past 15 years.

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 2013 Shire BRAVE Awards are expected to be open on or about March 15, 2013.


For further information please contact:

Matthew Cabrey ([email protected])
+1 484 595 8248

Beverly Volpe ([email protected])
+1 215 545 4715 x24

Jessica Mann ([email protected])
+44 1256 894 280


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 www.ShireBRAVEAwards.com.


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