Dr. Thomas Frist, Sr., a founder of HCA was known for saying “good people beget good people.” He was a true humanitarian, believing in the good of people and that with hard work and a positive attitude, anyone could achieve their goals. He practiced this through his caring spirit and philanthropic work.
Since 1971, we’ve honored employees and hospital volunteers annually who demonstrate this same dedication to caring for others with The Frist Humanitarian Award. Volunteer recipients of the award receive a $5,000 donation to the charity of their choice and $5,000 in cash to use as they wish. Medical staff and employee recipients receive a $10,000 donation to the charity of their choice. Today, we honor three recipients of this award.
Dr. Frank Cirisano with Aventura Hospital & Medical Center is our physician recipient, Kelli Jantz, RN with Presbyterian/St. Luke’s Medical Center is our employee recipient and Richard R. “Dick” Adams, JR with Rose Medical Center is our volunteer recipient.
Dr. Cirisano is dedicated to improving the cure rates of gynecologic cancer. He’s worked with prominent leaders in cancer research at Columbia University Medical Center, Memorial Sloane-Kettering Cancer Center, UCLA and Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, and the Duke University Comprehensive Cancer Center. He also founded a public 501(c)(3), Women’s Cancer Care Foundation and built a team of volunteer clinical teams to provide women around the world with knowledge about the risks, prevention, early detection and treatment of gynecologic cancer. While many of his peers and colleagues are enjoying vacation time, Dr. Cirisano and his volunteers travel to impoverished regions to aid ovarian cancer patients and train local healthcare staffs on safe and effective care. On these missions, the team usually performs two or three surgeries and sees at least 40 patients daily.
Kelli Jantz is a mother and a nurse. In the fall of 2004, her freshman son Jake Snakenberg sustained a concussion while playing football but didn’t report his symptoms. One week later Jake took a routine hit during a game and collapsed on the field. He passed away September 19, 2004. Jake was diagnosed with SIS (Second Impact Syndrome), believed to occur when an athlete with a previous head injury returns to play and sustains a second head injury. Since this tragedy, Kelli has worked tirelessly to educate others to prevent and reduce youth concussions. In January 2012, The General Assembly of Colorado passed a bill known as the “Jake Snakenberg Youth Concussion Act.” It requires coaches of organized youth athletic activities to complete an annual concussion education program. It also has guidelines on removing young athletes from play after a blow to the head or body and requires clearance from a healthcare professional in order to return to play. What has been called the most far-reaching law on youth concussion in the country came about because one woman vowed to ensure that in the end, good will triumph.
Dick Adams served as a volunteer at Rose Medical Center for more than a decade. Many fortunate patients benefited from healing freely given by a volunteer whose caring and empathetic nature were immediately apparent from the twinkle in his eye, the brightness of his smile and the heartiness of his laughter. Whether staffing the main information desk, volunteering at the Rocky Mountain Cancer Center or assisting patients at Cherry Creek Eye Clinic, Dick’s warmth, sincerity and genuine interest in his fellow man put many a patient and family member at ease during life’s scariest moments. Next to his warmth and charm, his ability to relate to those he served was his greatest gift to others. Unfortunately, Dick passed away recently. In his honor, many at Rose Medical wear bracelets with the inscription, “Stay Silly!”
The humanitarian spirit of Dr. Thomas Frist, Sr. is at the heart of HCA and continues each time people like Dr. Cirisano, Kelli Jantz and Dick Adams use their gifts to help others.
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