Cancer choir and Croi shortlisted for major awards

A local choir of cancer survivors and a heart and stroke charity have been shortlisted in a national awards scheme which honours outstanding health achievements.

Galway University Hospitals’ Global Choir of Cancer Survivors and Croi are among the 16 finalists in the prestigious third annual Astellas Changing Tomorrow Awards. They received national recognition for their efforts to improve the future for patients in Ireland.

Each of the winners of the five categories will receive a specially-commissioned trophy and a €1,000 educational/research grant. The overall winner will be announced at the awards ceremony in Dublin next month.

Located in Newcastle, the Croí Heart Foundation project “Reducing the burden of cardiovascular disease through innovation in practice, training and education” was shortlisted in the Corporate Social Responsibility category.

The foundation established the Croí heart and stroke centre, a facility financed completely from fundraising which opened in August 2012. The charity implemented Croí Heart and Stroke Week to raise awareness about the importance of prevention as part of living a longer and healthier life and reducing the risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes.

The open week was attended by more than 1,000 people, highlighting the importance of working together in the fight against heart disease and stroke.

Galway University Hospital’s “Something To Sing About: A Global Choir of Cancer Survivors” was shortlisted in the Hope category.

A blend of music therapy and a cancer research charity - founded by Dr Paul Donnellan, a consultant medical oncologist at Galway University Hospital - the choir unites cancer survivors from around the world providing support through a shared fun activity.

A total of 140 singer/survivors have joined “Something To Sing About”. Many more volunteers attend the regular weekly rehearsals featuring 20 to 40 survivors at five centres (Galway, Castlebar, Westport, Ennis, Ballinasloe ) in three counties. The individual choirs practise locally, then come together for rehearsals, concerts and recordings.

The Astellas Changing tomorrow awards aim to inspire excellence in patient care in Ireland by honouring individuals or teams working in health by recognising and rewarding outstanding achievements in leadership; commitment; corporate social responsibility; innovation and hope. The 16 shortlisted entries were recognised for their creativity, commitment and successful management of their healthcare initiatives.

The winning team will be presented with a customised glass plaque to showcase their achievement.

Speaking at the shortlist announcement the chairperson of the judging panel, Professor Luke Clancy, the director general of the TobaccoFree Research Institute, said the awards aim to recognise and reward the “tireless commitment” of the healthcare community to its patients and to the country.

“The strength of the entries in 2011 set a high standard for 2012, but yet again the quality of the 2012 entries has exceeded our expectations. The shortlist truly showcases the fantastic work that is being carried out by our healthcare professionals. I am delighted to have the opportunity to recognise and reward these truly inspiring people and projects.”

Entries were received for the Astellas Changing tomorrow Awards from across the country, from advocacy groups, doctors, nurses, patient groups, hospital administrators, physiotherapists and occupational therapists. Each highlighted the commitment and day-to-day efforts of those striving to improve the provision of healthcare to patients in Ireland.

Patricia Kelly, the general manager of Astellas Pharma Co Ltd and a member of the awards judging panel, stated the 16 projects which were shortlisted for this year’s awards were of a “high calibre”.

“This is the third year we have held these awards which again highlight and honour the relentless work that is carried out by our healthcare professionals in their quest to change the lives of their patients for the better. Astellas is delighted once again to provide a platform for these dedicated healthcare professionals to not only be recognised but to be respected for their admirable work.”

The Astellas Changing Tomorrow Awards are judged by a panel of key industry figures in the field of health.

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