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The MPN heroes recognition program

Thank you to all who participated in the 2014 MPN Heroes recognition program by nominating someone who has made a difference in MPN care. Sponsored by Incyte Corporation in collaboration with CURE Media Group, publishers of CURE magazine, the MPN Heroes Recognition Program recognizes the people who have made a difference for you. Your hero may be any of the following:

  • Patient whose strength has inspired you
  • Caregiver who has consistently offered you support and reassurance
  • Doctor, nurse, or other healthcare provider who has listened to you and treated you with compassion
  • Organization or institution dedicated to improving MPN care and support

MPN Heroes to celebrate in San Francisco

Nominees who are chosen for recognition will be announced at the MPN Heroes Celebration Event, hosted by CURE Media Group. This event will take place in San Francisco on December 5, 2014. The names of the recipients will also be announced on


Abdulraheem Yacoub, M.D.

Abdulraheem Yacoub, M.D.

Abdulraheem Yacoub, M.D. is an Assistant Professor of Medicine in the Division of Hematology and Oncology at the University of Kansas Medical Center. He is active in clinical and translational research in the field of myeloproliferative neoplasms (MPNs) and a member of the American Society of Hematology, American Society of Clinical Oncology, and the Myeloproliferative Disorders Research Consortium.

Dr. Yacoub is a strong advocate for patients living with MPNs; in 2013 he was recognized for his efforts, being awarded the MPN Heroes Recognition award for contributions to the MPN field.

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Emily Knight R.N., O.C.N.

Emily Knight R.N., O.C.N.

I am originally from South Dakota. I received my Bachelors of Arts in Nursing at Augustana College, Sioux Falls, South Dakota in 2005 and worked as an inpatient nurse at Avera McKennan Hospital and University Health Center on a hematology, oncology and bone marrow transplantation floor for five years. I then moved to Arizona and have been working at the Mayo Clinic in the Hematology Myelodysplastic Syndromes/Myeloproliferative neoplasms clinic for the last three years.

I am currently working towards my Masters in Nursing for a Nurse Practitioner degree. Outside of work and school I enjoy staying active, spending time outside hiking and traveling.

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Cheryl O'Bannion Martz

Cheryl O'Bannion Martz

Cheryl Martz is the Director of a Community Cancer Support Group Program in Rochester, Michigan, which is the longest-running cancer support group in the state. A survivor of abdominal cancer, she has been directing, promoting, and facilitating this program for 24 years. Her education includes a Bachelor of Arts in English and Mathematics from Baylor University and a Masters in English from Tulsa University.

Before moving to Michigan in 1988, Cheryl taught high school mathematics and college English in Texas and Oklahoma, as well as working for the Metropolitan Transit Authority in Houston, Texas, as director of the Vanshare/Carshare program for three years. Her interest in the MPN Heroes Recognition program was initiated by involvement and work with patients in her group diagnosed with a MPN, and then strengthened by increased knowledge of the notable goals of this program.

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Kathy LaTour

Kathy LaTour

Diagnosed with invasive breast cancer in 1986, Kathy LaTour had a mastectomy and chemotherapy and has been active in the national survivor community ever since, speaking to survivor, medical and lay audiences about the need for psychosocial support. Ms. LaTour experienced a second diagnosis of breast cancer resulting in a second mastectomy in fall 2007. Her book, The Breast Cancer Companion, was published by William Morrow and Co. in 1993.

In 2001 she cofounded CURE magazine with Dr. Vinay Jain. Today she is editor-at-large of the publication, which is the largest direct to patient cancer magazine in the country. For her writing on cancer she has received numerous awards, including a first place from the Association of Health Care Journalists in 2011 for her article The Cost of Living, which looked at the late effects of radiation for long-term survivors.

In 2004 she debuted her one-woman show "One Mutant Cell," a humorous and poignant account of her journey through breast cancer, which she has performed more than 50 times for a variety of cancer events around the country.

She served for four years on the board of the National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship, and helped found Gilda's Club North Texas, now known as Cancer Support Community North Texas.She was also instrumental in founding The Bridge Breast Network in Dallas, a unique coalition of breast cancer survivors and area health care professionals who are providing diagnosis and treatment to uninsured women who may have breast cancer.

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Alyson Harper

Alyson Harper, a person living with Myelofibrosis (MF)

I'm a pretty average person with a crazy disease.

I was born and raised in Kansas City, the heart of America. My parents were educators so every summer my Dad got the travel bug and packed us in the station wagon and off we went to our next summer adventure.

With my parents, my brother and I saw 46 of the 50 states, parts of Canada, a summer Olympics, the Rose Parade, the Northern lights on a cool Minnesota evening, tasted fresh clam chowder and of course fought like crazy in the back seat (there were no portable DVD players or iPads at that time). So I blame my parents for giving me the urge to travel — as much as I can — to as many places as possible. Whether it is a trip up to Minnesota for a week on the lake with friends or to visit my niece in Australia — I'm ready to go!

When I'm home, I'm always up for a walk. I'm not a runner or a hiker. I'm a walker. A walk around the neighborhood. A walk around the lake. A walk to the store. A walk for a cause. I just like to go for walks.

My other "hobby" is my kids. Yes most people have knitting or mountain biking as a hobby. But for me it's spending time with my kids. It might entail a tennis match to watch my Goddaughter, taking my grandkids to the lake for the day and a paddle boat ride, delivering brownies to my nephew at college 45 minutes away, dinner with my son, driving 2 1/2 hours for lunch with my Goddaughter or FaceTime with my niece.

I was diagnosed with Primary Myelofibrosis in November of 2008. As time has passed, I continue to learn about MPNs, blood counts and how my body reacts to MF and my treatments. I'm so thankful I am still able to have an active life. However, I have learned, like it or not, to stop more, rest more and listen to my body.

I have amazing friends and family that make me laugh, celebrate my victories, lend a hand when needed and always support me. I feel very blessed.

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MPN Heroes is a program sponsored by Incyte Corporation and in collaboration with CURE Media Group, publishers of CURE magazine.

Incyte CURE Logo

MPN Heroes Recognition Program 2014 Rules

The MPN Heroes program recognizes dedication to individuals and the MPN community. Individuals or organizations can be nominated in 1 of 2 categories. Recipients will be selected by the steering committee's review of nominations for recognition. In Category A, up to 4 recognition plaques will be given to chosen recipients, and in Category B, up to 4 monetary donations to non-profit organizations and societies will be given as designated by the 4 recipients recognized in this category.

Criteria for nominations in either category are as follows:

  • Choose only 1 category for the nominee to be considered
  • Clearly define the MPN patient need being addressed
  • A completed nomination form must be submitted by September 12, 2014
  • The achievements of the organization or individual must be relevant (ie, should have taken place within the last 12 to 24 months)
  • Organizations may submit an entry for their own program, but it must be for 1 specific activity or program and only 1 entry per year, and we strongly encourage independent confirmation
  • Institutions, organizations, or individuals can be nominated by themselves or by others, but they must be aware of the nomination, and the nomination must be approved by, and compliant with, any institutional rules and guidelines

Criteria: Category A : Commitment to the individual. Recognizing individuals who provide or demonstrate care, guidance, education, or support above and beyond the standard of care for one or more patients with MPNs. Types of work honored include demonstration of individual dedication by a nurse, doctor, or caregiver whose contributions to an individual with MPNs had an evident impact.

Criteria: Category B: Commitment to the broader MPN community. Recognizing leadership in developing services or programs addressing the needs of patients with MPNs, families, friends, caregivers, and medical professionals through advancing the science and medical understanding of MPNs, education, awareness, or approaches to care.

Types of work honored could include advocating for better care, outreach to underserved populations, activities at the grassroots level, promoting the patient's voice, providing MPN community leadership, creating awareness programs, innovative education materials, programs or events, disease management initiatives, research and science-based programs, media outreach, or campaigns.


  • Employees of Incyte, MK&A, and other vendors and members of the immediate family of any such persons are not eligible for recognition
  • Nominated individuals, institutions, or organizations and the programs or activities nominated must originate and be executed in one or more of the 50 states of the U.S., the District of Columbia, or Puerto Rico
  • Nominated programs must be independent of purchase, use, and prescribing for
    Jakafi® (ruxolitinib)
  • Programs or activities that Incyte provided grants or other funding for directly
  • Political lobbying activities
  • Medical research or publications that have been funded or directed by Incyte
  • Any nominee whose organization or institution does not allow recognition in the manner set forth in this program
  • Judges' panel reserves the right to exclude nominations of individuals for any perceived conflict of interest
  • Individuals can be recognized posthumously
Frequently Asked Questions

Meet Your 2013 MPN Heroes

Hero Images

Thank you to all who participated in the 2013 MPN Heroes Recognition program by nominating someone who has made a difference in MPN care.

Meet your MPN Heroes and learn about their contributions to elevating MPN care.