Soft Bones Founder Deborah Sittig is Today’s Honoree

DeborahSittigDeborah Sittig is a mom of three who runs her own communications company with another.  Deborah’s life changed when her second child was born with a rare disease that only 1 in 100,000 people are diagnosed with and where there is no cure or currently approved treatments to do more than just manage the disease’s symptoms.  Her son has a disease called hypophosphatasia (HPP), an inherited metabolic bone disease that results from low levels of an enzyme called alkaline phosphatase (ALP), which is normally present in large amounts in bone and liver.

It is many times called a brittle bone disease where fractures are often even from mild activity. The severity of this disease varies from patient to patient, which includes both children and adults, with the most extreme cases failing to form a skeleton in the womb and are stillborn to those mildly affected showing only low levels of ALP in the blood, yet never suffering any bony problems.

For Deborah, this was her reality. After her son’s diagnosis at age 18 months and searching for answers and support, little was to be found. She frantically scoured patient forums, read every possible website, emailed and chatted with patients, and conducted endless Internet searches leaving no stone unturned to get to the root of her baby’s problems.

SoftBonesAs a result, Deborah began her mission for awareness and public policy around HPP. She founded an organization called Soft Bones: The U.S. Hypophosphatasia Foundation. Because there were little to no resources specifically dedicated to this disease impacting her son, or a place to vent, cry, express, and share, she made it her mission to create that haven for others.  Not only does Soft Bones provide valuable information, education and support for people living with HPP, their families and caregivers, they also promote research of this rare bone disease through awareness and fund-raising efforts.

Deborah is one of many health heroes. But, at the end of the day she is a loving parent dedicated to doing everything she can for the sake of her children. It’s her commitment to helping others that makes her someone I admire and someone worth nominating for her tireless efforts for this cause.

Visit Deborah Sittig for more information.

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National Arthritis Foundation Honoree Mayro Kanning is Today’s Honoree

mayroKranning Mayro Kanning is this year’s National Arthritis Foundation Honoree. She is from Cincinnati, Ohio.
and has a robust taste for leading an active, productive life that hasn’t been spoiled by arthritis.

A 39-year Kroger Co. employee and Cincinnati resident, Mayro has lived 34 years or nearly half her life with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), an autoimmune disease that causes inflammation of the lining of the joints leading to warmth, tenderness, swelling and/or joint stiffness.  Nearly 1.3 million Americans have RA and it affects more women than men.

Mayro is the Arthritis Foundation’s national 2014 Walk to Cure Arthritis Adult Honoree. Her volunteerism with the Arthritis Foundation’s Ohio River Valley market is extraordinary and her Arthritis Walk team – Mayro’s Milers – has raised more than $264,000 since 2003. This year Mayro’s Milers hope to raise $50,000.

In addition to her fundraising efforts, Mayro is a 28-year member of the local Arthritis Foundation advisory board, a Speakers Bureau member and 2013 Arthritis Walk committee.  She has also served on several local Arthritis Foundation committees focusing on programs and services and volunteers. She diligently stresses the critical need to fund arthritis research, to be an arthritis advocate and to support local Arthritis Foundation programs and services.

“Mayro is an inspiration to me and everyone she works with.  She has turned her own pain into a mission to help others living with arthritis.  Mayro’s work is helping us fuel critical arthritis research, advocacy efforts and local education.  It’s my hope that her story will inspire and strengthen others in our community that battle arthritis,” said Tracy Carter, Division Vice President, Arthritis Foundation, Great Lakes Region, Ohio River Valley.

As the national adult honoree Mayro attends local, regional and national Arthritis Foundation meetings and is featured in all Walk to Cure Arthritis promotional materials. View her national video here:

As Manager, Sensory Services at the Kroger Co. she is responsible for more than 700 tasting panels for the grocery chain’s private label products. If her job required her to be in the plant or in the stores, Mayro said she would not be able to work due to her arthritis.

She has had knee and hip replacements, neck surgery, back surgery and carpal tunnel surgery. She describes her feet as “inoperable.” Her RA makes performing the activities of daily life like buttoning a blouse, opening containers and putting on clothing with zippers in the back very difficult.

Mayro’s arthritis story began when she injured her knee playing catcher on a softball team. The knee got very swollen and painful and required surgery, the first of 22 surgeries due to her arthritis.  She was diagnosed with RA at age 28 and has osteoarthritis and osteoporosis. There is no rule that says arthritis is “one” per customer, she quipped.

Today she receives a biologic drug by infusion once a month. It’s the fourth biologic drug that her doctors have prescribed to manage her arthritis. “Thanks to the biologic drugs we have now, my arthritis is under better control. But, since they (biologic drugs) weren’t around 30 years ago, I’ll never play tennis or racquetball again and never ride a horse again…I’ll never be able to just casually bend down and pick up something off the ground,” Mayro said.

“I am the picture of how far research has come. I’m a little bit bent, but I haven’t been broken,” she said. Join Mayro’s Milers by registering online at or form your own team. The Cincinnati Walk to Cure Arthritis is May 18, 2014 at 10 a.m. at Sawyer Point.


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Surgeon Dr. Jeffrey M. Hartog is Today’s Honoree

DrJeffreyMichelle Hartog was diagnosed with breast cancer three years ago. She underwent a bilateral mastectomy.

With the help of her husband, Dr. Jeffrey Hartog, she chose the bilateral mastectomy because they determined it was the easiest for reconstruction. And the best course of reconstruction for her, they thought was autologous fat transfer (AFT) or fat grafting.

According to a University of Michigan study, seven out of 10 women don’t know their breast reconstruction options.

Since Michelle diagnosis, Dr. Hartog has dedicated himself and his practice to helping women know their post-mastectomy breast reconstruction options, including women who are BRCA 1 or 2 positive and are seeking a preventative mastectomy like Angelina Jolie.

Using AFT, Dr. Hartog takes fat from a patient’s thighs and abdomen – notorious undesirable fat locations – using gentle liposuction techniques. Upon removal, the fat is injected in small amounts into the desired area, which allows the body to build and attach blood vessels needed for the fat tissue to survive. The recovery time from fat grafting is minimal as it is completed as an outpatient procedure with an incision smaller in diameter
than a pencil. Dr. Hartog even has the Liquid Gold Lipobank, where patients can store their fat for future use, at the Bougainvillea Clinique in Winter Park, Fla.

Michelle, now cancer-free, competes in a breast cancer survivor Dragon Boat team. She and Dr. Hartgo host events and speak to help women know their breast reconstruction options.

Dr. Jeffrey Hartog, D.M.D., M.D., is the director of the Bougainvillea Clinique in Winter Park, Fla. He is dual Board Certified in Plastic Surgery and Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery. Dr. Hartog lectures and trained all over the world, from Johannesburg, South Africa to Miami, Dallas, Salt Lake City and Glasgow, Scotland. Johannesburg is where he began his initial dentistry training and Glasgow is where he received his further medical and
plastic surgery training.

He has completed more than 4,000 breast surgeries in his career and is an acknowledged expert in breast augmentation and regenerative breast surgery. Dr. Hartog specializes in corrective breast surgery, for breast implant complications and breast reconstruction
complications. Dr. Hartog has become a recognized specialist in the emerging field of Regenerative Cosmetic and Reconstructive Surgery. This field centers around the use of fat grafting in all aspects of plastic surgery, including breast reconstruction and augmentation, facial and skin rejuvenation, body contouring, radiation damage, scar treatments and wound healing.

When not in surgery, he is an avid scuba diver and an award-winning photographer, including underwater photography while scuba diving.

Visit Dr. Jeffrey M. Hartog for more information.

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Cloves Campbell the Co-Publisher of the Arizona Informant Newspaper is Today’s Honoree

ClovesCampbellRepresentative Cloves Campbell, Jr. worked in the family business for over 25 years. Currently the Board Chairman and Co-Publisher of the Arizona Informant Newspaper, he held several positions at the paper. The Arizona Informant Newspaper has served the African American community of Arizona for 40 years.

Cloves Campbell currently serves in the Arizona State House of Representatives for District 16. Elected in 2006 he serves on the House Appropriations Committee, Banking and Insurance Committee and the Sub-Committee on Library and Archives. Equally active in the community, Cloves Campbell sits on several boards which include: Governor’s African American Advisory Board, Attorney General’s African American Advisory Board, Black Theater Troupe Board, Salvation Army Advisory Board, West Coast Black Publishers Board, Tanner Chapel A.M.E. Church Board of Trustees, and the 100 Black Men of Phoenix. He is also a Life Member of the NAACP.

Born and raised in South Phoenix, Cloves Campbell attended (Sheraton Park), Martin Luther King, Jr. Elementary School, Percy L. Julian Jr. High, and East Phoenix High School.  He is an alumni of Pitzer College in Claremont, CA with a majored in Political Science.  Married for 19 years to Lanette, they have three children Daivon, Chanette and Cloves III.

Visit Cloves Campbell for more information.

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Comedian Gary O’Neal is Today’s Honoree

GaryONealBorn Gary Wayne O’Neal Jr,  this native of Washington DC has always been an Entertainer. As far back as grade school, his 5th grade teacher Mrs Jeanie O’Conner told him that he will be seen and heard in the world. Having that I embedded in his head,  he packed up and moved to California to pursue his dreams of being in the world of Entertainment.

Currently a resident of California of 10 yrs, he’s 8 years deep in the Comedy scene. He’s headlined and performed at The Jon Lovitz Comedy, The World Famous Comedy Store and Hollywood Improv and The Icehouse in Pasadena to name a few. He can be seen in a feature film called Bushwacked as a cowardly gangster in his pictorial debut on Ambush Films. Since then he’s been in a few National Commercials from CarFax to Dial Soap. He also can be seen on VH-1′s Hollywood Exes as a “hell date” for Mayte Garcia (The ex wife of Prince).

He has comedic sketches posted on YouTube under GOMacc Productions,  (Drug Test Backfire, Road Rage  Backfire and Creepin) which he wrote and produced on to name a few) He currently has his sights on NFL FOX Sundays doing sketches with Rob Riggle and more feature films on the big screen in the very near future!

He’s referred to by his peers as Mr. Dress Shoez!!! a name he created meaning putting your Mind Heart and Soul towards accomplishing your Goal and both feet are your best foot forward which he does on a daily basis. Be on the lookout for this one man wrecking crew to be seen EVERYWHERE!!! Dress Shoez!!!

Visit Comedian Gary O’Neal for more information.

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Photographer Starla Fortunato is Today’s Honoree

StarlaStarla Fortunato is truly bi-coastal being born in n Houston TX and raised between NY & CA.

Serving 2 years in the US Army after graduating High School was a grand window into diversity.

My camera and paintbrush were my constant companions in my world travels and in 1996 I went back to school to study photography as a full time career. Most recently studying at Art Center at Night – to continue to grow as an artist.

Star Images Photography is photo studio specializing in portraits for all artistic and business needs with expertise in Diversity Life Style & Healthy Living Beauty/Yoga.

We offer all services necessary in image creation and have produced projects ranging from the simple to complex.  I enjoy collaborating with my clients to help bring their vision to life.

Published in Glamour, Teen Vogue, The Guardian, San Antonio, American Way, New York Times, LA Times and have been a contributor to Venice, TV Guide & Angeleno Magazines.

Advertising campaigns include LAPD, Four Seasons Hotels, Health Net of California and collaborations with Morgan Freeman along with numerous musician artists, actors, business professionals, publishing houses and public relations firms for the entertainment industry and media campaigns.

My muse & husband Jimmy who I live happily ever after with in Los Angeles with many wild creatures who roam freely in our backyard.

Visit Starla Fortunato for more information.

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Film and Television Expert Johnie Tidwell is Today’s Honoree

JohnieJohnie Tidwell is a new media producer + online filmmaker that produces marketing & documentary content for businesses. Tidwell consults and trains entrepreneurs & freelancers to use video to brand themselves. JT has worked in the film and television industry for over 25 years.

Online presence is the new digital currency for everyone. Are you a small business, creative artist, non-profit organization, start-ups, producers or advocate of a worthy cause? I have seen the power of television, film, radio, print build small brands and household names. The internet, mobile devices, blog sites are currently the most powerful new media tools to distribute your content. Online Video/Photo/Audio/Social is worth a billion words in telling one’s personal story .

This is what I do for businesses, artists and entrepreneurs, connecting them to new followers – who then become customers/fans/community.

Experienced with a background in film, television, radio, advertising, internet industies and working with public relations/marketing/agency reps has give me a broad perspective on traditional and new media.

Currently in development on start-up, film, music and online projects for distribution. Training entrepreneurs/network marketing to evolve into becoming micro media moguls leveraging their personal brand. I also curate independent animations for an animation blog and produce a video show with a community radio show in Las Vegas.

Making a few adjustments in your online strategy can change the course of your personal brand.

Education Degrees, Work Experiences, Credentials:

*Internet Marketing Training For Creative Arts & Small Biz

*Affliate Member of The Empower Network

*A.A. Fine Arts – Parkland College , B.A. Cinema & Photography Southern Illinois University – Carbondale, M.F.A. Producer’s Program (Television & Film) – Chapman University – Orange Calfornia

*NBC, PBS, CBS, Disney Studios, Paramount Studios, Warner Brothers, 20th Century Fox, Saban Entertainment, Showtime Network, Sundance Channel

Visit Johnie Tidwell for more information.

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