Singer/songwriter, mother of three and two-year breast cancer survivor Kristen Short of Norway has been named the winner of the 2012 Amgen Breakaway from Cancer Survivor Award.
The award is given to a cancer survivor involved in Central Maine community outreach who demonstrates a passion for helping others with cancer. It is bestowed in conjunction with the annual Dempsey Challenge presented by Amgen, the primary fundraising event for the Patrick Dempsey Center for Cancer Hope and Healing at Central Maine Medical Center.
Short had a bilateral mastectomy and underwent chemotherapy and radiation treatments in 2010 and 2011. She has made a significant impact on the community with her passion for music through performances at several benefit concerts for the Dempsey Center. She also provides a comforting presence to those going through cancer treatment, traveling from Norway to Lewiston to offer encouragement to those who have little support.
In 2011, Short wrote, recorded and produced a music video for her song chronicling her cancer journey, “Chairs,” which she dedicated to the Dempsey Center. Her inspiration for the song came from the Dempsey Center, CMMC clinicians and fellow patients and their families. She has written and produced over 50 songs, recorded five CDs and sang the national anthem at the Dempsey Challenge starting line for the past two years.
“I am truly honored to be the recipient of the 2012 Amgen Breakaway from Cancer Survivor Award,” said Short. “In the two years since my breast cancer diagnosis and subsequent surgeries and treatments, I have been blessed with the support of many wonderful people – my family, CMMC clinicians, the Dempsey Family, Dempsey Center staff and volunteers, fellow cancer warriors and their families, and supporters of the Dempsey Challenge. I am deeply inspired, and it brings me joy to spread hope to others facing health challenges by sharing my story, my music, my shoulders, my listening ears, my heart, and my time.”
“The Breakaway from Cancer initiative was born from the belief that it takes a team to fight cancer,” said Bob Azelby, vice president and general manager of Amgen Oncology. “We are proud to honor Kristen Short, who has been an integral member of that team for many individuals battling the disease. We applaud and thank Kristen for her commitment to others and to the fight against cancer.”
This year, Short and her family founded the Short Folks for Hope Foundation (www.shortfolks.com), a non-profit charitable foundation that raises funds and awareness for organizations that support families with health-related challenges. She donates fifty percent of the proceeds from the sale of “Chairs” to the Dempsey Center, and her husband, Chris, provides photographic services.
Following in their parents’ footsteps, the Short children have also created fun ways to raise money for charity. Allie, age 11, sells crocheted goods through Yippie Yarn Creations. Ian, age 9 and an avid LEGO builder, created Ian’s LEGOs-to-Go; for every bag purchased, he donates a bag of LEGOs to a child undergoing cancer treatment at the Maine Children’s Cancer Program. And Isaiah, age 5, created Bands and Badges of Hope, wrist bands and buttons that spread the message of hope.
Short will accept the award on Saturday, October 13 at the Champions for Hope Celebration, which recognizes the fundraising efforts of Dempsey Challenge participants. Past award winners are Carlene Sperry, Allen Lariviere, Scott Thomas and Laura Davis.
As part of Dempsey Challenge weekend, Amgen and the Dempsey Challenge invite all cancer patients, survivors and their families to walk with Short and actor Patrick Dempsey in the Amgen Breakaway from Cancer Survivor Walk on Saturday, October 13 at 10 a.m. at Simard-Payne Memorial Park in Lewiston.
The walk is free to the public and there is no need to pre-register. Participants are encouraged to check-in by 9:30 a.m. at the Dempsey Center Spirit of Hope Tent in the Park.
For more information on the Dempsey Challenge, see www.dempseychallenge.org.