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May 13, 2009 - CNI Cindy Acree Awards

What: Expressions of Gratitude Dinner & Awards Presentations

Where: Pinehurst Country Club

When: Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Time: 7 p.m.

Beneficiary: Colorado Neurological Institute

Master of Ceremonies: Doug Tisdale

Honoree(s): Scott Orr, Charles Louis, Andrea Kennedy, Kelin McCloskey, Richard Mouriquand

Executive Director: Luanne M. Williams, CFRE

Quote of the evening: "Living a hopeful life is a choice" - Cindy Acree

Board of Directors: Chairman of the Board: Richard R. Kelley, M.D., President, CNI Medical Advisory Board, Don B. Smith, M.D., Vice Presidents, CNI Medical Advisory Board: David C. Kelsall, M.D., Peter Ricci, M.D., Treasurer: Lucille A. Gallagher, Secretary: Jon E. Stuck, Past Chairman of the Board: Douglas M. Tisdale, Esq., Past President, CNI Medical Advisory Board, Edward B. Arenson, M.D., CNI Executive Director: Luanne M. Williams. For a complete list of board members, log on to

Blacktie Photos by: Corrie Vela

 Dr. Ira Chang, Representative Cindy Acree and Don Frei
Dr. Ira Chang, Representative Cindy Acree and Don Frei

The Colorado Neurological Institute’s 2008 Cindy Acree Hope Awards was a night of gratitude. The evening was also a moving tribute to the skill and dedication of the doctors and staff and the strength of the patients at CNI. The event highlighted the personal stories and achievements, hopes and struggles of four ordinary people whose lives were forever changed with the diagnoses of what seemed like hopeless illnesses. Each of these Hope Award recipients shared their personal recovery success stories. The evening was held at the Pinehurst Country Club and well attended by a large crowd.

House District 40 Representative Cindy Acree first spoke of her own personal struggle and the part in which CNI played for her.  Representative Acree said that CNI gave her hope after she experienced the after effects of epilepsy which cumulated in a debilitating stroke. “When you’re facing the sun, the shadow will be behind you, just keep moving forward.” She spoke about her gratefulness for her daughter Hope, and her twin sons Alex and Austin, and the support of her “her incredible husband.” “We can all go way beyond where we think we can. Hope asks nothing of us. You can’t fight the diagnoses but you can fight the verdict. Living a hopeful life is a choice. Stay hopeful. Hope – is great expectations”

The recipients each shared candidly about their struggles. Scott Orr spoke of his battle with Parkinson’s Disease, and the journey that led him to the eventual treatment of Deep Brain Stimulation. Dr. Rajeev Kumar introduced Scott, with praise for the grace and humor with which he handled his diagnoses and procedure, also handled by Dr. John McVicker. Scott, a 25-year television reporter, wrote and directed a documentary and three part article detailing his experience from A-Z.

Hope Award Recipient Charles Louis was introduced by Doctor Chris Fanale, Medical Director of the CNI Stroke Center. He thanked his mother, saying he would be “lost without her.”” Charles had a hemorrhagic stroke in January 2006 and has been in treatment and recovery since.

Dr. Arenson introduced his patient Andrea Kennedy. Andrea spoke about the shock of finding out in her young '30s that she had a high grade, malignant brain tumor in her right frontal lobe. Her daughter Cate, three months old, sat in the audience with Andrea’s family. Andrea continues to have regular follow-up appointments with Dr. Arenson and his team and is thriving in recovery.  She gave heartfelt and moving thanks to her parents and sister and her two closest childhood girlfriends for their unfailing support. Her parents moved from San Diego for a year to help her through the toughest times after surgery. Her husband was also there to support her; they went on their first date three weeks after the surgery that put Andrea on the road to recovery.

Richard Mouriquand shared the challenges that he faced, His doctor,  Dr. Paul Elliott, CNI Medical Director introduced him saying “Richard defines perseverance.” He is a graduate from the Colorado Center for the Blind, and is now working for a division of the Colorado Department of Corrections. He met his girlfriend at the CCFB. He thanked his parents who gave him strength and courage to do what needed to be done. 

Kelin McCloskey’s mother Julie spoke about the challenges their family faced after Kelin was born with an inner ear abnormality. Dr. David Kelsall at CNI’s Center for Hearing helped Kelin through the entire process of obtaining a cochlear implant, first meeting with Kelin and her parents when she was just 22 months old. Kelin is now 12 years old, excelling at school, on high honor roll and requires no special services or support to attend and thrive in her advanced classes.  Cochlear kids camp is her favorite activity. Notably, CNI Cochlear Kids Camp subsidizes more than 75% of each family participant’s expenses Dr. David Kelsall first met with Kelin at age 22 months. Mrs. McCloskey spoke highly of CNI’s staff passion to make life more accessible.

Past Chairman of the Board Doug Tisdale introduced Dr. Kelly who spoke about the courage, inspiration and hope that each participants story brought to the group.  Dr. Barbara Lynne Phillips, who was a member of the Board, serving for six years, was applauded. Acknowledgment of current and past CNI Board of Directors and administrative staff was also mentioned. In particular,  Doug Tinsdale voiced the gratitude of CNI to Larry & Carol Chapman, for providing a gift of an endowed chair to support CNI’s Center for Brain & Spinal Tumors, providing support for generations to come.

The evening’s paddle raiser auction raised $65,000. The money will support a Telemedicine Camera for the Telemedicine Project which evaluates and monitors patients while allowing them to remain in their own homes. The money will also support the CNI Cochlear Kids camp and the NeuroHealth Center. CNI NeuroHealth Center (NHC) is the only program in Colorado that offers under and un-insured patients the opportunity to benefit from individual rehabilitation services on a sliding-scale fee schedule.

The table gift was a butterfly shaped container that contained seeds for a growing plant. Seeds of hope!  

The generous sponsors for this event and the many services that CNI provides are too numerous to list in their entirety here and can be obtained with a copy of the companies annual report. Those that were thanked in particular were Dr. Edward Arenson, LaFawn Biddle, Blue Sky Neurology, Pat & Annabel Bowlen, Craig Hospital, Dr. Richard and Linda Kelley, Drs. David & Tammie Kelsall, Radiology Imaging Associates, Rocky Mountain Movement Disorders Center, Swedish Medical Center, Swedish medical Center Auxiliary, William and Leslie Vollbracht.






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