CURE Media Group Announces 2019 MPN Heroes® Winners

Annual celebration recognizes individuals who have made exceptional contributions to improving the lives of people affected by myeloproliferative neoplasms

CRANBURY, N.J.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–#MPNHeroes–CURE Media Group, the nation’s leading digital and print media enterprise focused on cancer patients, will honor eight remarkable heroes who have made a difference in the field of rare blood cancers known as myeloproliferative neoplasms (MPNs) tonight at Ports of Call at SeaWorld in Orlando, Florida.

“We are so pleased to honor each MPN Hero for their contributions making differences in the lives of people with myeloproliferative neoplasms,” said Mike Hennessy Jr., president and CEO of MJH Life Sciences™, parent company of CURE Media Group. “Tonight, we not only recognize outstanding caregivers and advocates, but champions in the MPN community, and we look forward to presenting these heroes with their awards among family, friends and colleagues.”

Keynote speaker David C. Fajgenbaum, M.D., MBA, MS.c, FCPP, co-founder and the executive director of the Castleman Disease Collaborative Network and a Castleman disease survivor, will join in honoring these eight extraordinary individuals. Inspired by his own journey with Castleman disease after being told there was no approved treatment for his condition, Fajgenbaum did his own medical research. He identified a treatment option and brought himself into a lasting remission, making him a champion to all Americans living with rare conditions. Now the co-founder and executive director of the Castleman Disease Collaborative Network, Fajgenbaum says he believes that his persistence in the face of incredible obstacles has helped ignite a revolution in rare-disease research.

This year’s annual evening of gratitude and celebration honors individuals with MPNs, caregivers, advocates and medical professionals for their heroic contributions in the field of MPNs or in the lives of people living with MPNs.

The following individuals will be recognized in the Commitment to the Individual category:

  • Kurt Schroeder, RN, is a research nurse specialist in the leukemia department at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. Since joining the team, Schroeder works hard to make sure that every patient, including those with MPN’s and others who visits the leukemia department receives excellent care. Schroeder’s advocacy work doesn’t stop at the hospital doors. He gladly hands out his cellphone number and takes calls during his days off to ensure that his patients find the answers and care they need.
  • Robyn Scherber, M.D., MPH, is a nationally recognized clinician and hematologist at UT Health San Antonio, where she actively works to advance science devoted to MPNs. Scherber’s dedication to empowering people living with MPNs has led her to develop the MPN Symptom Assessment Form (MPN-SAF), which is used to evaluate patients in clinical trials, hospital in-take and other medical settings. Scherber has also been a part of the Mays Cancer Center family education program and regularly participates in educational activities by speaking at conferences, such as the MPN Advocacy & Education International’s Women & MPN Conference.
  • Tammy Matuska, BSN, RN, is a nurse coordinator in the hematology and oncology department at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. Outside of work, Matuska is a passionate advocate for patients living with MPN’s. Her dedication to furthering education in the MPN community led her to organize several informational dinners for patients with MPN’s and their families sponsored by the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.
  • Natalie Catalano’s daughter, Carmen, was diagnosed with essential thrombocythemia (ET) at the age of 17. During the long road to identify Carmen’s condition as a rare blood cancer, Catalano persistently advocated for her daughter’s care — continually helping her daughter whenever she experienced ET-related hardship. Despite the diagnosis taking years to determine, she steadfastly supported her daughter every step of the way. After the diagnosis, Catalano devoted herself to Carmen’s well-being. She took on all the physical and emotional work associated with being a caregiver to someone with a rare blood cancer.

The second category honors MPN specialists whose efforts have helped the broader MPN community:

  • Cannon McMullin received a diagnosis of essential thrombocythemia (ET) at the age of 8 and has been living with this disease for the past three years. The youngest child in his family, Cannon lives with his parents, who do their best to help him live a normal life. In his everyday activities, Cannon demonstrates incredible courage and refuses to let his diagnosis define his life. He enjoys playing point guard for his school’s basketball team, kayaking with his family and playing video games. As part of an ongoing study, Cannon understand that although the research he’s contributing to may not help him directly, the value of this study may help other people with ET in the future.
  • Laura C. Michaelis, M.D., a specialist in hematology and oncology, at Froedtert Hospital and Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee, has a mission statement to live up to when she’s treating patients: “deliver superb care in a compassionate, individualized manner.” Michaelis goes above and beyond to offer outstanding healthcare in and outside of the clinic, regularly speaking to MPN patient support groups to provide important information and answers in a more personal setting. Outside of work, Michaelis serves as editor-in-chief for the American Society of Hematology member news magazine, Hematologist.
  • Irum Khan, M.D., a specialist in MPNs and related diseases at the University of Illinois Cancer Center in Chicago, has dedicated herself to helping patients living with MPNs and patients without resources to independently manage their own care. In her practice, Khan works with social workers, charitable organizations, and medical foundations to help her patients manage hidden costs of extended care like transportation and nutrition. Khan has also made it her mission to make sure every person living with MPN manage not only their symptoms, but also any psychological effects, such as depression and anxiety.
  • Madeleine M. Henriquez, PA-C, is a physician assistant in the leukemia department at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. Caring for her patients living with MPNs, she realized that the symptom burden of their diseases sometimes created mental health-related issues that could go undiagnosed and untreated. She decided to step up and take on additional training as a mental health first aid professional. Henriquez has shared this information with colleagues and in doing so has helped to lift the stigma on mental health and furthered a more wholesome approach to treatment of patients with MPNs.

The MPN Heroes Recognition Program is sponsored by Incyte Corporation and CURE Media Group, publishers of CURE® magazine. Incyte partners with CURE Media Group to support the program, with CURE® hosting the annual MPN Heroes Celebration Event recognizing heroes of the MPN community. The honorees are were nominated by colleagues, patients and caregivers for their heroic contributions and dedication. The selected MPN Heroes were chosen by an independent judging panel comprised of patient advocates and healthcare professionals. Supporting the MPN community is an ongoing priority for Incyte, a global biopharmaceutical company that discovers and develops novel medicines to meet serious unmet medical needs in oncology and other diseases. Individuals or entities supported through funding or directed by Incyte were not eligible for consideration or recognition.

About CURE Media Group

CURE Media Group is the leading resource for cancer updates, research and education. It combines a full suite of media products, including its industry-leading website,; innovative video programs, such as “CURE Connections®”; a series of widely attended live events; and CURE® magazine, which reaches over 1 million readers, as well as the dynamic website for oncology nurses,, and its companion publication, Oncology Nursing News® journal. CURE Media Group is a brand of MJH Life Sciences™, the largest privately held, independent, full-service medical media company in North America dedicated to delivering trusted health care news across multiple channels.

MPN Heroes is a registered trademark of Incyte. Other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.


CURE Media Group
Alexandra Ventura

609-716-7777, ext. 121

[email protected]

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