CURE Media Group Announces the 2020 MPN Heroes® Winners

Annual awards program recognizes extraordinary patients, health care professionals and caregivers for their outstanding efforts in bringing understanding, compassion, and strength to the myeloproliferative neoplasm (MPN) community.

CRANBURY, N.J.--()--CURE Media Group, the industry-leading multimedia platform devoted to cancer updates and research that reaches more than one million patients, has named the winners of the MPN Heroes® Recognition Program. The virtual celebration will take place tonight from 6 to 7:30 p.m. CST.

Keynote speaker Devon Still, former professional athlete, entrepreneur, motivational speaker, author and advocate for childhood cancer awareness, will join in this year’s annual evening of gratitude and celebration honoring these eight remarkable heroes who have gone above and beyond, making a difference in the field of rare blood cancers known as myeloproliferative neoplasms (MPNs).

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

  • Nicholas Callahan is a caregiver for his significant other, Toula Bonié, who is a professional violinist w living with essential thrombocythemia (ET). Ever since they met in 1991, Callahan has viewed himself as a facilitator, doing whatever he can to help Toula overcome the daily challenges of ET. His selfless patience and kindness have a huge impact on her ability to live and enjoy her life.
  • Rami S. Komrokji, M.D., is vice chair of the Department of Malignant Hematology and head of the myeloid section at the Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa, Florida. While at the University of Cincinnati, Komrokji reactivated the American VA Hematology/Oncology Association (AVAHO), serving at various times as president and vice president. Komrokji demonstrates a true understanding of what veterans and other patients go through on their MPN journeys. He also shares his expertise with the MPN community as an author and co-author of scientific literature on MPNs, as well as partnering with numerous patient advocacy organizations.
  • Carmen Orrico was diagnosed with ET at the age of 17 and felt “a little bit alone” when she realized she did not have a place to connect with other young patients with ET. Orrico created an Instagram page about ET to raise awareness of the condition, and shares resources that may help others overcome obstacles presented by ET. She and other young adults all over the world now share stories and compare notes about managing ET.
  • David S. Snyder, M.D., is acting chair of the Department of Hematology & Hematopoietic Cell Transplantation at City of Hope Comprehensive Cancer Center in Duarte, California. A fixture at City of Hope for more than 36 years, Snyder is a nationally recognized expert in stem cell transplantation for managing MPNs, chronic myeloid leukemia (CML), and other blood disorders. Whether through patient advocacy forums or talking one-on-one with patients, Snyder has helped people with MPNs live with hope, strength, and courage.

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

  • Michele A. Couri, M.D., is a board-certified obstetrician/gynecologist at the Couri Center for Gynecology and Integrative Women's Health in Peoria, Illinois, as well as an avid hiker who is living with myelofibrosis (MF). To help raise awareness and funding for MPNs, Couri founded a not-for-profit organization called MPN Peoria. Since founding the organization, she has organized two hiking events—one virtual—that cumulatively raised $150,000 to help people with MPNs.
  • Summer Golden is an MPN network manager for the Patient Empowerment Network (PEN), who is living with MF. Golden calls on her years of theatre training and comedy to cope with her condition and help others, while maintaining positivity about the future. In her role at PEN, Golden has made a positive impact on thousands of patients in the MPN community. She works to enhance patient health literacy, enabling shared decision-making and providing educational resources that empower patients and caregivers at every step of their cancer journey.
  • Nick Napolitano’s transformation into becoming an outspoken advocate for people with MPNs began in 2016 when a routine physical revealed he had PV. Napolitano dedicated himself to educating others and raising awareness of MPNs. He shared his story through a documentary titled “The Unknown,” which was sponsored by Incyte. In it, he discusses his determination to help others meet the challenges of living with an MPN. Since then, he has participated in numerous webinars and conferences and has partnered with Patient Power to create and share coronavirus coping strategies for patients with MPNs.
  • Hon. Col. Dr. Samuel Verniero Jr. has had a life of distinction as a United Nations diplomat, honorary Kentucky colonel, and leader in the state of Georgia for people with disabilities. Living with PV, he is passionate about increasing awareness about MPNs throughout the health care and public sectors of the community.

“These incredible heroes have truly dedicated themselves to improving the lives of people with myeloproliferative neoplasms,” said Mike Hennessy Jr., president and CEO of MJH Life Sciences™, parent company of CURE Media Group. “This year marks the eighth anniversary of the MPN Heroes® Recognition Program, and we look forward to an amazing celebration this evening recognizing these champions who have made a difference in MPN care.”

The MPN Heroes® Recognition Program is sponsored by Incyte 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. The honorees 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. Individuals or entities supported through funding or directed by Incyte were not eligible for consideration or recognition. Supporting the MPN community is an ongoing priority for Incyte, a global biopharmaceutical company focused on finding solutions for serious unmet medical needs through the discovery, development, and commercialization of proprietary therapeutics.

About CURE Media Group

CURE Media Group is the leading resource for cancer updates, research, and education. It features a full suite of media products, including the industry-leading website; innovative video programs such as “CURE Connections®”; a series of widely attended live events; CURE® magazine, which reaches more than 1 million readers; and the dynamic website for oncology nurses,, and its companion publication, Oncology Nursing News®. 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.

About Incyte

Incyte is a Wilmington, Delaware-based, global biopharmaceutical company focused on finding solutions for serious unmet medical needs through the discovery, development and commercialization of proprietary therapeutics. For additional information on Incyte, please visit and follow @Incyte.

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


CURE Media Group Media Contact
Alexandra Ventura, 609-716-7777

Release Summary

Annual program recognizes extraordinary patients, health care professionals and caregivers for their outstanding efforts in the MPN Community.

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CURE Media Group Media Contact
Alexandra Ventura, 609-716-7777