Breast Cancer Survivor Awarded Top Prize In 2012 Oncology On Canvas(SM) Art Competition

Hoda Kotb Receives Ellen Stovall Award for Work as Cancer Advocate

INDIANAPOLIS, Nov. 12, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Quilts are made for dozens of reasons – for warmth, decoration and remembrance – but for a college professor from Utah, quilting became a form of healing. It was something Judy Elsley, Ph.D., had enjoyed doing for years, but it took on new meaning after she heard these words, "You have breast cancer." In fact, it helped bring back normalcy to a life that had been uprooted by her diagnosis, a cancer journey she conveyed in a mixed media artwork entitled "Chemo," which took first prize among the more than 500 submissions to the fifth Lilly Oncology On Canvas: Expressions of a Cancer Journey Art Competition and Exhibition.

Oncology On Canvas, presented by Lilly Oncology and the National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship (NCCS), invites people from the United States and Puerto Rico who have been touched by cancer to express, through art and narrative, the life-affirming changes that give their cancer journeys meaning. Winners' prizes consist of donations made in their names to the cancer-related charities of their choice. Since Lilly Oncology created the competition in 2004, more than 4,000 individuals have submitted entries.

"A cancer diagnosis changes everything, not only for patients, but also for those closest to them," said Newt Crenshaw, vice president, Lilly Oncology. "Since 2004, Lilly Oncology On Canvas has been the canvas upon which so many moving cancer journeys have been shared by patients, family members, friends, caregivers and healthcare professionals. Lilly Oncology is honored to present this competition alongside the National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship."

Hoda Kotb Named Recipient of Ellen Stovall Award
In 2010, as part of the fourth Lilly Oncology On Canvas Art Competition, Lilly Oncology and NCCS created the Ellen Stovall Award, in honor of Ellen Stovall, a tireless advocate for cancer survivors and former president and CEO of NCCS. The award recognizes those who use their art and/or celebrity to be, like Ms. Stovall, "a true champion and advocate for cancer survivorship." The first recipient was Katie Couric, former CBS Evening News anchor and current host of Katie. The 2012 recipient is Hoda Kotb, co-host of Today with Kathie Lee & Hoda and, since 1998, a correspondent for NBC's Dateline. She is also a cancer survivor and advocate.

Diagnosed with breast cancer in 2006, Ms. Kotb has used her Today Show platform to bring awareness to the disease and inspire people with cancer in their fight. She even allowed cameras to follow her throughout her cancer treatment, which included a mastectomy and reconstructive surgery.

In 2010, Ms. Kotb published her autobiography, Hoda, How I Survived War Zones, Bad Hair, Cancer, and Kathie Lee. In the book, she shares some advice she was given by a stranger on an airplane: "Don't hog your journey; it's not just for you." Taking that advice to heart, she has spoken extensively about her journey, encouraging women to get regular mammograms and urging other cancer survivors to share their journeys, as well.

"The man on the plane was right; everyone touched by cancer has a story to tell that will help themselves and inspire others," said Ms. Kotb. "I am fortunate that the Today Show allows me to share my story with millions of viewers. I am thrilled to receive the Ellen Stovall Award and gratefully accept it, not only on my behalf, but on behalf of everyone who participated in the Lilly Oncology on Canvas Art Competition and cancer survivors everywhere."

"Hoda made a deliberate choice to use her cancer journey to inspire millions of Americans to make the most of every moment," said Tom Koutsoumpas, Chair of the Board, NCCS. "Each and every morning, alongside Kathie Lee, and now, as a best-selling author, Hoda never misses an opportunity to advocate for her fellow cancer survivors."

College Professor, Quilter and now Cancer Survivor – First place
In her first-place entry, entitled "Chemo," Dr. Elsley, of Ogden, Utah, created a quilt showing the journey of chemotherapy through her bloodstream as her body moves toward health. She incorporated different colored beads in her piece that represent cancer and the chemotherapy that is fighting it, with white beads signifying white blood cells. The colored beads dominate the first panel, only to diminish in each successive panel until there are only white beads left, signifying a healthy bloodstream.

In addition to first place, Dr. Elsley's artwork won "Best Entry by a Person Diagnosed with Cancer" and "Best Mixed Media by a Person Diagnosed with Cancer." She chose Casting for Recovery as the recipient of her $10,000 first-place prize, as well as one of her two additional, $1,000 prizes. Casting for Recovery provides an opportunity for women whose lives have been profoundly affected by cancer to gather in a natural setting and learn the sport of fly fishing. The retreats offer an opportunity for the women to meet new friends, network, exchange information, and have fun. As the recipient of her second $1,000 prize, she chose Needs Beyond Medicine, a non-profit organization dedicated to easing the burden of cancer by increasing awareness, education, and relief to cancer patients, including financial support.

"Chemo Brain"Second place
Second place was awarded to Coree Coppinger, of Milwaukee, Wisc., for her entry entitled "Chemo Brain," a photograph that abstractly conveys what chemotherapy treatments felt like to her.

Ms. Coppinger, a lymphoma survivor and photographer, also won the "Best Photography by a Person Diagnosed with Cancer" category. She chose Columbia Saint Mary's Hospital in Wisconsin as the recipient of her $5,000 second-place prize. The donation will be used to provide oncology programs and services to patients in need at Columbia St. Mary's. Ms. Collinger chose the Southeastern Wisconsin Cancer Support Community as the recipient of her additional $1,000 prize. The Southeastern Wisconsin Cancer Support Community aims to ensure that all people impacted by cancer in Greater Milwaukee are empowered by knowledge, strengthened by action, and sustained by community.

"The Dance" – Third place
Third prize in the "Best of Exhibition" category was awarded to Charlotte Sweetland, RN, OCN, of Paradise, Calif., for her watercolor entitled, "The Dance." Her entry tells the cancer journey from the perspective of a 17-year oncology nurse. Equating the cancer journey with the graceful dance of a ballerina, Ms. Sweetland notes she has "seen this dance many times," describing it as a dance across a fragile bridge and "an amazing testament to the human spirit."

"The Dance" also won "Best Entry by a Healthcare Professional" and "Best Watercolor by a Healthcare Professional." Ms. Sweetland chose to donate her $2,500 third-place prize, in addition to her two $1,000 prizes, to Feather River Hospital Cancer Center in Paradise, Calif. The donation will go towards Feather River's cancer patient assistance program and patient art classes.

In all, Lilly Oncology On Canvas awarded nearly $40,000 in prizes to cancer charities selected by the 19 winners in various categories. Artwork from the 2012 competition will be touring cancer centers, hospitals and patient advocacy events nationwide beginning in January 2013.

To Learn More
For further information about Lilly Oncology On Canvas, 2012 winners, an exhibit schedule, and more, visit, call 1-866-991-LOOC (5662) or e-mail [email protected]. Follow Lilly Oncology On Canvas on Twitter (, Facebook ( and YouTube ( To learn more about cancer survivorship tools and resources, visit the National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship (NCCS) website at

About the National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship (NCCS)
The National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship (NCCS) advocates for quality cancer care for all people and provides tools that empower people affected by cancer to advocate for themselves. NCCS created the widely accepted definition of survivorship and considers someone a cancer survivor from the time of diagnosis through the balance of life. Its free publications and resources include the award-winning Cancer Survival Toolbox®, a self-learning audio program created by leading cancer organizations to help people develop essential skills to meet the challenges of their illness. Since 2004, NCCS has been the co-presenter of the Lilly Oncology On Canvas Art Competition and Exhibition. More information is available at or 1-888-650-9127.

About Lilly Oncology
For more than four decades, Lilly Oncology, a division of Eli Lilly and Company (NYSE: LLY), has been dedicated to delivering innovative solutions that improve the care of people living with cancer.  Because no two cancer patients are alike, Lilly Oncology is committed to developing novel treatment approaches. 

About Eli Lilly and Company
Lilly, a leading innovation-driven corporation, is developing a growing portfolio of pharmaceutical products by applying the latest research from its own worldwide laboratories and from collaborations with eminent scientific organizations. Headquartered in Indianapolis, Ind., Lilly provides answers – through medicines and information – for some of the world's most urgent medical needs.


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SOURCE Eli Lilly and Company