BAKKEN INVITATION 2018 HONOREES ANNOUNCED
Learn how Bakken Invitation Honorees are making a difference around the world.
Learn how Bakken Invitation Honorees are making a difference around the world.
This year’s event is especially meaningful given the recent passing of Medtronic co-founder Earl Bakken. Earl personally recognized the importance of the “extra life” he and other medical technology recipients receive, and the importance of using that time to be a force for positive change through volunteerism. Since 2013, the program has honored more than 70 individuals from around the world.
Eduardo Caminada Junior (Brazil), Multiple Therapies
After Eduardo lost three jobs due to his epileptic seizures, he realized his mission by creating an online platform and book to bring awareness to the condition. The discrimination he faced in the workforce was the motivating factor for his advocacy efforts as he seeks to erase the prejudice and stigma for people with epilepsy.
Rather than fight against his disease, Eduardo sees the importance in fighting for one’s own life. Among his many accomplishments was creating Purple Day Brazil for global epilepsy awareness and gaining the support of many ambassadors expanded his organization’s programming. He continues to lead activities and discussions worldwide to drive public awareness.
Candice Coghlan (Canada), Multiple Therapies
As a university student, Candice was diagnosed with kidney disease that disrupted her goals of travelling the world for humanitarian work. After a life-saving kidney transplant from her mother, Candice pursued her dreams of aiding vulnerable children around the world. She directed a nonprofit organization, providing resources to orphans affected by HIV and AIDS in Lesotho, Africa.
In 2018, she led a research initiative for the Transplant Ambassador Program which introduced kidney donors and renal disease survivors to new patients who provide guidance in challenging times. Since Candice took the lead, the organization has helped break barriers for transplant patients.
Amber Huett-Garcia (USA), Bariatric Surgery
Systemic injustices and biases led Amber to reduce obstacles for people living with obesity. As a self-pay patient, her expenses drove her into debt, which inspired her choice to join the Obesity Action Coalition. She works to provide education and outreach to others, lobbying for healthcare accessibility and to eliminate discriminatory insurance practices in obesity care. She eventually became a national board member of the organization as she championed efforts to reduce weight bias and create a positive image for patients living with her condition.
Amber continues to focus her health policy efforts on reducing stigma of the disease with a long-term goal of defeating discrimination as a whole.
Komal Kanitkar (India), Continuous Glucose Monitoring
Komal is living with a rare type of diabetes that she manages through careful glucose monitoring and with insulin.
As a practicing doctor, Komal realizes shared experiences can have a significant positive impact on new diabetes patients. She works on patient education and engagement through an organization which believes patients should have access to adequate information and tools to access healthcare. In 2017, as a Youth Ambassador of her organization, she presented at a global meeting to form the UN Global Advocacy Agenda for People Living with NCDs to shed light on the disease. Komal is planning to start an organization to serve underprivileged communities in Mumbai, India.
YongWoo Lee (South Korea), Neurostimulation
Following a traffic accident, YongWoo developed chronic pain that he now manages with the aid of a neurostimulation device. The lack of awareness about chronic pain inspired him to advocate for improved access to resources for patients like him.
YongWoo has also launched financial support programs for low-income patients, realizing the necessity of providing direct routes to care for chronic pain sufferers who are marginalized in society. His work is centered on the belief that a positive environment will provide hope for a better future.
Ashley Ng (Australia), Insulin pump
When Ashley received an insulin pump to manage her diabetes, she was allowed more freedom that inspired her to network with other patients. She gained confidence through these shared experiences and decided to take charge of her own health-related choices. This personal development led her to give back to the community, including becoming the president-elect for the International Diabetes Federation for Young Leaders and managing patient advocacy and development projects.
Ashley co-founded Beta Change in 2016 as a collective advocacy effort for networks across the world. Through storytelling, Ashley and her fellow advocates seek to shed light on the disease and empower patients in the process.
Rui Zhang (China), Insulin pump
Living with diabetes and using an insulin pump has taught Rui how to overcome major obstacles as a young adult. It has also inspired him to pursue a master’s degree to educate others about the condition.
Chinese culture is often productivity-driven, which can lead people to believe that diabetes is inhibiting. As a public speaker, Rui advocates against discrimination of diabetes patients and was honored by the Beijing Diabetes Prevention Treatment association for his volunteer work. He also proves that obstacles can be overcome, such as running in the Beijing Marathon for charity.
Giovanna Campioni (Italy), Multiple Therapies
Since she was born with a congenital heart disease, Giovanna has undergone multiple operations.
The level of care that she received during these challenging moments inspired her to become a peer counselor for patients. She believes it is important to live life to its fullest. Many congenital heart disease patients feel invisible, which is why Giovanna seeks to raise public awareness for the rare disease and fight discrimination.
Giovanna is the national manager of AICCA Onlus, increasing quality of life for patients and their families. Through this work she provides financial and legal support, enabling patients to a fight a battle that is hard enough without added complications.
Christine Katusiime (Uganda), Valves
Living with rheumatic heart disease was challenging for Christine, who faced misconceptions and stigmatization from her community. Having undergone multiple operations, she realized how important patient support was to close the knowledge gap and inspire hope within the community.
Christine is an involved member of her organization, participating in many community outreach activities such as tracking patients who are lost in the follow-up period and conducting outreach visits in the community. Through her work as a volunteer, Christine has effectively reduced the number of clinic visits and hospitalizations for patients in her area, and increased medication adherence.
George Kwayu (Tanzania), Continuous Glucose Monitoring
Isolation and stigma for individuals with diabetes is something that George works to combat in a country with little awareness of the disease. Through a healthy lifestyle and with insulin therapy, he is able to manage his diabetes and now drives education campaigns to empower other youth. Peer education, counselling, fundraising and collaboration with health providers are key components to his organization’s strategy. In his outreach, George connects youth to resources in a community that is not well-versed on the subject.
George hopes to continue his efforts to ensure that youth become a louder voice for health policy and are able to live out their dreams despite health complications.
Roland Malkin (United Kingdom), Stent
When Roland suffered sudden cardiac arrest caused by a silent myocardial infarction in 2014, his life took on new meaning. He received a stent and was discharged from the hospital, but the experience left him with more questions than answers.
Since then, Roland has educated himself about cardiac disease and dedicated his life to becoming a resource for other patients through his volunteerism at the Nottingham Cardiac Support Group. He works with other patients to empower them in their own recovery, and then to pay it forward by offering guidance to the next member. As a skilled communicator, Roland concentrates on membership retention for the organization by building friendships that shape a strong community.
Raican Dan Stoian (Romania), Neurostimulation for movement disorders
Raican Dan founded the Anti-Parkinson’s Disease Association in Romania, which includes more than 550 members who have Parkinson’s disease or are interested in improving care for those affected by the disease. Before its inception, there were limited resources for those affected by the disease in Romania. Its goal is to increase access to information, resources, medication and treatment.
While Raican Dan still battles the disease, he now receives neurostimulations and is determined to find a cure. He acknowledges that although it is a very isolating disease, he has successfully built a community that bands together with purpose.