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Congratulations to JoannaJoy

I want to congratulate JoannaJoy for winning the Great Comebacks Award this weekend. She is such a tremendous inspiration and I can't think of anyone more deserving! I was privileged to meet Joanna and Ross a couple of weeks ago and she is even more inspiring in person! Both Joanna & Ross just make you feel good to be around them and I loved seeing the love between them.

Here is the link read about her and her award. 000967.html


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Dear balihigh,
I want to also congradulate Joanna on the recognition of the Great Combacks national award last night in Charlotte. I was so happy be in atttendance at the ceremony last night in Charlotte where Joanna received her well deserved award. Her acceptance speech we beautiful and inspirational (like everything about Joanna) and I am blessed to have had the opportunity to get to know Joanna, Ross and her Dad and to meet her family at the event last night.

Way to go Joanna!


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Great Comebacks® Recognizes Joanna Burgess, RN, As National Award Recipient
Burgess overcame bladder cancer and two ostomy surgeries to become a WOC nurse

Press Release: ConvaTec – 19 hours ago

CHARLOTTE, N.C., June 9, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Joanna Burgess, RN, CWOCN of Apex, NC, was honored today as this year's Great Comebacks® National Award recipient at a ceremony held at the Wound, Ostomy and Continence Nurses (WOCN®) Society™ 44th Annual Conference in Charlotte, NC. The Great Comebacks® Program, now in its 27th year, annually honors outstanding individuals who inspire others to live life to the fullest after ostomy surgery.
Burgess' ostomy journey of 45 years began when she was diagnosed with a rare type of bladder cancer at only three years old. Urostomy surgery and radiation therapy saved her life, but led to a lifetime of complications. The strong cobalt radiation affected the growth of her bones, and for much of her life she has had difficulty walking. Thirty years after her urostomy surgery, she also chose to have a colostomy to end years of recurring pain due to radiation-induced colitis.
Declared "disabled" from work, Burgess nevertheless pursued her passion: becoming a nurse, initially specializing in pediatrics, and travelling on mission trips around the world. Based on her personal experiences, she developed a special interest in supporting patients with an ostomy and, in 2008, became a wound, ostomy and continence nurse. Burgess is currently working to establish an outpatient ostomy clinic at her hospital, to make it possible for more patients to work with a specialty-care nurse through all stages of their follow-up care after surgery.
"Through all of Joanna's medical challenges, her positive attitude and desire to help others kept her going. Great Comebacks is proud to recognize Joanna for everything she has done, as a patient and as a nurse, to build greater awareness and educate others about living life with an ostomy," said Rolf Benirschke, founder and chairman, Great Comebacks® Program.
Each year, the Great Comebacks® Program recognizes people who have faced challenges associated with intestinal and bowel diseases and are now leading active, productive lives. Four regional award recipients are selected by the Great Comebacks® Advisory Committee, and a national award winner is chosen from among these finalists. In addition to Joanna Burgess, the regional awardees for 2011 are Randy Henniger, Folsom, CA; Karen Lewis, Brighton, MI; and Jenn Stahl, Perryville, MD.

Great Comebacks® 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 Wound, Ostomy and Continence Nurses (WOCN®) Society™ and the American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons (ASCRS).

"When Joanna had urostomy surgery more than 40 years ago her family had trouble finding information about ostomy surgery. Her life's goal of making sure that patients have the support and resources they need is one that ConvaTec has long shared, as a leader in providing innovative products and services in ostomy care," said Brad Barton, president, ConvaTec, U.S.
More information about all of the Great Comebacks® Award recipients is available at
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 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 Ostomy Surgery
An ostomy is an artificial opening in the abdomen to the intestines or urinary system to allow for the elimination of bodily wastes. It is estimated that more than 100,000 ostomy surgeries are performed in the U.S. each year, and more than 700,000 Americans of all ages are currently living with an ostomy. An ostomy procedure is essential to many patients affected by colorectal cancer, bladder cancer, Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis, birth defects, and other intestinal or urinary medical conditions.
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 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
Great Comebacks and the Great Comebacks Logo are registered trademarks of ConvaTec Inc.
© 2012 ConvaTec Inc.

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Congratulations to Joanna Joy Burgess as this year's Great Comebacks National winner. May she continue to inspire all that she meets!


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Congrads Joanna & Randy!

Joanna Thank You so much for your dedication to become a WOCN, I SO MUCH appreciate every WOCN I have ever met.
and Randy I also really Thank You for all you continue to share here.

It must have been very fun to be around all those extra holely people at the 44th WOCN Conference.

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NMMark, I love your "extra holely" remark. I will have to remember that one.

I wanted to say Congrats to Randy also. You are a fine representative of our great community also and a Great Comebacks winner! What fine people we have here.

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Thank you guys! I am really enjoying my time with Joanna and the other regional winners here in Charlotte. A bit more info on my blog at: ards-event-charlotte-nc/


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Congrats to JoannaJoy. You may never know just how many lives you have touched just by being here offering hope and sharing your knowledge. God Bless You.


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It was great meeting you in person and being able to share with you seeing Joanna Saturday evening. Bottom line is that all Great Comebacks winners are family in everything that a family stands for but in this case more due to our common bond and willingness to continue to reach and help others!


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Congratulations to Joanna Burgess!!

If you would like to read more about Joanna, we posted her original story in March of 2012 at Courage to Shine and we re-posted it to our front page in Joanna's honor.

Joy's Way - A Journey of Survival Hope and Inspiration a-journey-of-survival-hope-and-inspiration-reposted-june-9-2012/

Tom Exler

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Congrats Joanna, well deserved;..... what a inspiration you are to everyone.... And a major help to me...

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Congratulations Joanna!! You've helped so many of us with caring, wisdom, and kindness. A well deserved honor.


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This past weekend was a true inspirational highlight for Joyce and myself in Charlotte at the Great Comebacks National Awards Dinner. Memories of meeting the appropriately named Joanna Joy, the 2011 recipient of the Award, as well as Randy Henniger, Karen Lewis, Jenn Stahl and their families will forever be with us.

Their lives, devasted with cancer and/or IBD at some point in time, and the subsequent life with an ostomy are true testimonials of the drive to survive that is innermost in our bodies. Their stories have and will continue to touch many lives in a positive manner.

Thanks to Tom Exler for reposting Joanna's story from Courage to Shine.

Our congratulations to all,


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Joanna, your words after receiving your much deserved honor on Saturday where just beautiful. Congratulations again! What an amazing weekend, one I will forever hold in my heart. It was just great seeing you, Karin and Randy again as well as everyone's family. It was just a tremendous high to meet so many Great Comeback family members. Thank you all for opening your arms to us and making us feel so special! What a joy to hear such nice words from so many WOC nurces, Crohn's and Colitis members and Convetec employees. Everyone is just truly a gift to have met and I look forward to the day when we will all cross paths again.

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Charlie your welcome!!

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Congratulations! well deserved ;-)

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Finally home from a Great weekend with the Great Comebacks family. Congrats to Joanna who I am so proud to be able to get to know and consider a friend. She is a truly amazing individual ... full of compassion, caring, and joy. I wish everyone on this discussion board could meet her.

It was great to connect again with the other regional winners - Randy and Jenn, and past national winners, Charlie, Lisa, Scott, Justin.

I am blessed to be able to be a part of Great Comebacks. Everyone with an ostomy should take the time to check out the website

Everyone has an inspiring story to tell or hear. Great Comebacks is the place to find these inspirations.

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Congratulations Joannajoy!

Such a huge honor.

I have some questions about irrigation if I could ask you.


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Congratulations JoannaJoy!!!!

Well deserved honor. I know you have helped me so very much.


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Congrats to Joanna, you are a gem!

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