The Judith May Volunteer Award (previously named Judith May Volunteer of the Year Award) was first given in 2013. The award recognizes the spirit of volunteerism that Judith so aptly demonstrated throughout her 20+ year career with the IWMF, including leadership in member services, research, advocacy and as president of the IWMF from 2005 to 2012. The award changed names in 2019 to reflect the fact that every nominee has made significant contributions to our mission over many years, not just a single year, and has had a positive impact on the wellbeing of the IWMF community.
The IWMF thrives on the involvement of volunteers serving in a wide variety of capacities, but these award recipients go above and beyond the service of others, and for this we recognize a selected nominee annually.
Nominations are submitted to the Judith May Volunteer Award Committee at least six months before we announce the winner at the annual IWMF Educational Forum. We encourage nominations from Board members, Committee chairs, US Support Group leaders, and International Affiliate leaders. The Board then discusses all of the nominations and selects the most deserving candidate (previous award recipients and current Board members are not eligible for selection).
The Judith May Volunteer Award winners are presented with an award at the Educational Forum, and their transportation, hotel costs, and registration fees are covered to recognize them in every way possible for their extraordinary service to the IWMF.
For more details and to let the IWMF know how you can help, click here.
These are the recipients since the award’s inception:
|Andrew Warden, WMozzies||Andrew has served as the affiliate leader of Wmozzies for several years, and has been key in the development of the WhiMSICAL registry (the first worldwide registry with WM patient data for use in research). He also worked to expand the reach of Wmozzies, setting up numerous support groups in Australia, and helped develop their website. Through his efforts, Wmozzies has become a model affiliate organization that provides services and support on a national basis, and enables patients and caregivers to have a collective voice in terms of obtaining government support for WM patients.|
|2018||Don and Mary Brown, Chicago Support Group Leaders||This husband and wife team have led the Chicago Area Support Group for several years. Don has also served as an IWMF Trustee for two terms, and in that capacity, he participated as a member of the Fundraising Committee. He continues to serve as a valuable member of that Committee. Mary has been a mainstay at the registration desk at every Ed Forum for many, many years – providing a warm and welcoming experience for attendees when they first arrive at the Ed Forum.|
|2017||Ron Yee, former Board member (posthumously)||In recognition of his many years of volunteer work for the IWMF, rather than present a Volunteer Award, the IWMF presented his family with a Lifetime Achievement Award. Ron served as an IWMF Board member, volunteered to work on several IWMF committees and initiatives, was actively involved in both the Philadelphia and New York City Support Groups, volunteered at several Ed Forums, and provided guidance and comfort to fellow WMers. Ron’s wife, Pook Yee, and his daughter, Elizabeth Yee, accepted the award in his honor.|
|2016||Roger Brown, WMUK||Roger worked tirelessly to take what began as a combination of a few support groups in the UK, and turn it into a coordinated network of groups in that region that provides support to patients and caregivers, and funds research specific to WM. Through his efforts, WMUK became an organization that is parallel to the IWMF and other affiliates like WMozzies, and WMFC. His hard work and dedication in those efforts are exemplary.|
|2015||Alice Riginos, IWMF Torch editor||Alice served as the IWMF Torch Magazine editor from 2008 – 2018. Under her stewardship, the magazine evolved from being a brief newsletter into a top quality professional publication. She expanded the Torch, improved its appearance with modern graphics and masthead, creatively sought out new ideas for articles, and added regular columns and writers for each issue.|
|2014||Nicole Bastin, Waldenstrom France||Nicole (a caregiver to her husband, Freddy, who passed in 2003) has volunteered for the Waldenstrom France organization for over 19 years. She has translated several documents, the Torch, and booklets into French, established a lifeline program in France, initiated the French-speaking online discussion list, and helped develop the Waldenstrom France website.|
|2013||Ron Draftz, former Board member (posthumously)||Ron was actively engaged in IWMF-TALK, providing comfort and advice and interpretations of scientific/medical jargon relative to WM to fellow WMers. No matter the time of day or night, he was always reaching out by phone, face-to-face, and email to newly diagnosed patients and veteran patients alike. He also served in the past as co-support group leader of the Chicago Support Group, IWMF Board member, IWMF Research Committee member, Scientific Advisor to the Torch (he spearheaded the “Doctor on Call” articles), back-up moderator for IWMF-TALK, championed an early effort at developing an online WM patient database, official photographer for several Ed Forums, and initiated a dubiously named club – the 10K club (for WMers whose IgM reached a level of 10,000 mg/dl or higher). Ron was rewarded for his level of compassion, his deep knowledge of the disease and the science behind it, and his ability and willingness to give of his time to pass that knowledge along to others. Ron’s daughter, Angelique Draftz, received the award in his honor.|