Global volunteers recognized at WFH Awards Ceremony

At the 2014 World Congress in Melbourne, the WFH took some time to recognize some of the outstanding volunteers who are the cornerstone of its global community.

The ceremony held at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre was emceed by Aris Hashim and started with a few opening words from CEO John E. Bournas and WFH Patron Jan Willem André de la Porte.

The Christine Lee Haemophilia Journal Award is named in honour of Prof. Christine Lee, who founded Haemophilia journal in 1995 and was inaugurated at the WFH 2012 World Congress in Paris. The award is given to a young researcher in recognition of a published article in Haemophilia that receives wide recognition and support from the scientific community. At the awards, the WFH recognized the 2013 winner Susanna Lovdahl (Sweden) for her published paper, Incidence, mortality rates, death in haemophilia patients in Sweden. The 2014 winner was Laurens Nieuwenhuizen (Netherlands) for his paper—Identification and expression of iron regulators in human synovium: Evidence for upregulation in hemophilic arthropathy compared to rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, and
healthy controls.

Magdy El-Ekiaby (Egypt) was the winner of the 2014 Inga Marie Nilsson Award, sponsored by Octapharma, given to an individual or pair of WFH volunteers who best contribute to develop hemophilia care through their own initiative and for contributing new ideas and projects. There are many instances of Magdy’s leadership in the community, from his participation in workshops, symposiums, and outreach programs around the world to his involvement with many WFH programs, all done with grace and humility.

The 2013 Pietrogrande Prize was awarded to Dr. James Luck. This prize is given to a health care professional who has made a significant contribution to furthering the mission of the WFH Musculoskeletal Committee.

The Henri Chaigneau Award of the Association française de hemophiles was awarded to Professor Alan Thomas Nurden for his lifelong major scientific contributions to the understanding of platelet pathologies mechanisms present in rare congenital bleeding disorders.

The Twins of the Year Awards are given out annually to the organizations or treatment centres that best showcase the philosophy and potential behind the Twinning Program. The program pairs hemophilia organizations and treatment centres in developing and developed countries to encourage the transfer of skills, knowledge and information.

The Hemophilia Treatment Centre Twins of the Year for 2012 are National Institute of Hematology in Hanoi, Vietnam and the Blood Transfusion and The Alfred in Melbourne, Australia and for 2013 the award is shared between Davangere Hemophilia Society, India and Liverpool Paediatric Haemophilia Society (UK) and Christian Medical College, Ludhiana (India) and the Henry Ford Hospital (USA). The Hemophilia Organization Twins of the Year for 2012 went to the Vietnam Society of Congenital Bleeding Disorders and the Irish Haemophilia Society and The Hemophilia Association of Mauritius and South African Haemophilia Foundation in 2013.

The Susan Skinner Memorial Fund for 2014 was awarded to Salma Karan of Pakistan and in 2013 it went to Leslie Situ Ferber from the USA. Both Salma, who is a nurse and has von Willebrand disease, and Leslie, a carrier and passionate advocate, best exemplify the young women who demonstrate leadership in their communities.

As part of the Advocacy in Action Program, funded by Baxter, the Advocacy Recognition Award was given to the Fundacion de la Hemofilia de Argentina, filial Cordoba in 2013 and the Polish Hemophilia Society in 2014. Both organizations successfully implemented steps learned from the program and helped to sustain and improve care for people with bleeding disorders in their country.

Launched in 2013, the WFH Clinical Research Grant Program is a peer reviewed program that helps provide support for international clinical investigation relating to inherited bleeding disorders. The programs awards up to four grants per year for the best proposals that address critical issues of broad international significance. The 2013 recipients of the grants were Roger Schutgens and Lize van Vulpen (Netherlands), Joint distraction in the treatment of hemophilic ankle arthropathy; Kevin Deschamps and Sebastien Lobet, (Belgium) Quantifying foot biomechanics in haemophilic children with ankle athropathy through an integrated approach; Paula James (Canada) Validation of the self-BAT in hemophilia carriers; Thomas Hilberg and Steffen Kruger, (Germany) Pain profile in people with hemophila.

Riten Kumar, Janneke I. Loomans, Yvonne V. Sanders, Hamideh Yadegari, and Jane Young where all awarded the WFH Young Researcher Award for their highly rated abstracts on hemophilia and other inherited bleeding disorders. The winners are selected from principle presenters and authors of abstracts submitted for Congress.

The emotional moment of the award ceremony came with the announcement of the International Healthcare Volunteer Award that honours a volunteer health care professional who has helped contribute to the vision and goals of Treatment for All. Kevin Rickard, a native Melbournian and a dedicated hematologist, deservedly won the award for his lifelong service to the bleeding disorders community. Professor Rickard was clearly moved and spoke passionately about his work and what the award meant to him. Rickard received a standing ovation from the audience as he walked off stage.

The Lifetime Achievement Award went to Gordon Clarke for his life-long commitment to securing a better treatment and care for people with bleeding disorders in his Northern Irish community and internationally with his involvement with the WFH. Unfortunately, Gordon was not able to join us in Melbourne; however he expressed sincere thanks for the honour bestowed upon him as a recipient of this award. The award will be presented to Gordon in person by WFH president Alain Weill at an upcoming meeting.

The most prestigious WFH award was given to Brian O’Mahony and David Page who shared the International Frank Schnabel Volunteer Award for their contributions to furthering the mission and goals of the WFH. Both men have been tirelessly working to improve treatment and care for the bleeding disorders community across the globe and have been working alongside the WFH in various capacities for many years.

A special thanks goes out to Aris Hashim, Chair of the Awards Committee, for emceeing the ceremony. The WFH congratulates all 2014 award recipients.