Plastic surgeons honor 'Patients of Courage' overcoming difficult obstacles, inspiring others

PHILADELPHIA Each year, devastating illness or injury results in life-altering reconstructive plastic surgery for many. Despite the obstacles they face, some of these patients focus on the silver lining of their experience making positive changes in their lives and, in some cases, a profound impact on others. Five such reconstructive plastic surgery heroes are being honored at the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) Plastic Surgery 2004 conference, during the Opening Ceremonies on Saturday, Oct. 9 at 4:30 p.m. at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia.

"It's extremely inspiring when ordinary people accomplish extraordinary things, particularly as they overcome physical and emotional trauma," said ASPS President Rod Rohrich, MD. "The Patients of Courage honorees have gone through great trials to sustain their lives and demonstrate the potential strength we all have within us."

This year, Patients of Courage: Triumph Over Adversity recognizes five remarkable individuals nominated by their plastic surgeons. The program is sponsored through a grant from Ethicon, Inc., a Johnson & Johnson company.

The first honoree, Bonnie Northey of Lead, S.D., is passionate about swimming. When Northey was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 69, she was devastated to think she would not be able to wear a swimsuit and get back in the water. Her plastic surgeon, Robert Schutz, MD, advised her to have immediate breast reconstruction after her mastectomy. Northey was back to swimming soon after surgery. She has since won a gold medal in the Senior Olympics, speaks to numerous groups about breast reconstruction and counsels women who have been diagnosed with breast cancer. Dr. Schutz said, "Bonnie has an enduring spirit that reminds us all that reconstructive plastic surgery isn't just about healing someone physically but socially and psychologically as well."

At seven years old, Ann Chesson of Saraland, Ala., was struc

Contact: Brian Hugins
American Society of Plastic Surgeons

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