It’s time for the Jeannie Peeper Awards!

Posted by Karen - March 4th, 2012

Posted by Karen

Two years ago, the Internation Fibrodysplasia Ossificans Progressiva Association began a new annual tradition of recognizing great leaders in the FOP community.  The Jeannie Peeper Awards acknowledge and thank some fabulous people who have done so, so very much to raise awareness of FOP and funds for FOP research.

If you are involved with the IFOPA, you will for sure know who Jeannie Peeper is.  ;-)  For everyone else – Jeannie Peeper is a woman with FOP who founded the IFOPA.  In the mid-1980s, having recently finished a university degree in social work, Jeannie met a doctor through the National Institutes of Health, Dr. Michael Zasloff.  Jeannie found out that Dr. Zasloff had other patients with FOP, and she was immediately interested to make contact.  Jeannie had never met or communicated with another person who has FOP.  Hey, in the 1980s, there was no widespread internet usage, and no FOP contact group, so I guess this shouldn’t be surprising…  Anyway, with Dr. Zasloff’s help, she met her first other person with FOP when she was 31, and she formed a pen-pal club with 11 founding members.  The group gradually gathered more members, and things began to snowball as more and more people got involved.  Today, the IFOPA is a registered charity with close to 700 members around the world, and which has raised $15 million in funds for the FOP cause, almost all of which has been directed to FOP research.  (The source for this information can be found at the IFOPA website at:

Jeannie Peeper, founder and president of the IFOPA.

When our family first got my daughter Miranda’s FOP diagnosis almost 5 years ago (!! 5 years!!), the IFOPA was so very, very important in helping us cope and maintain our sanity.  I just can’t imagine what the world was like for FOP families before the IFOPA.  It must have been so exceptionally hard…

Anyway, the Jeannie Peeper Awards were created in recognition of the fact that over the years, many other people have also contributed a great deal to the FOP community, and those people should be applauded and thanked for their tremendous efforts.  I was on the JP Awards committee last year, and it was a fascinating (and humbling!) experience learning all about the great deeds by people in our community.  This year I’m the chair of the committee, and I expect it to be just as interesting a process this year.

There are 4 Jeannie Peeper Awards, as follows (descriptions of the awards courtesy of the IFOPA):

- President’s Lifetime Leadership Award – Those who receive this special award are honored by the IFOPA President (Jeannie herself) for an enduring history of exceptional leadership in the FOP community.  Recipients of the award, personally selected by the IFOPA President, have been active in promoting philanthropy by example or word in the FOP community thereby encouraging others to assume leadership roles and increase FOP community involvement.  This award may also be given for a record of meritorious service to the FOP cause in political, entertainment, sports, medical or other similar arenas.

Outstanding Community Involvement Award – This honor is presented to an organization, family or individual for promoting and maintaining a high standard of FOP community involvement that includes fundraising and/or awareness activities.  To be eligible for this award, a major fundraising project must have been completed or exceptional FOP community service performed within the past five years.

Emerging Leader Award – This honor is presented to an individual age 29 or younger who has demonstrated exceptional commitment to improving the quality of life in the FOP community and/or whose personal achievements in the face of adversity are outstanding.  The recipient is one whose volunteerism or courageous example serves to encourage and motivate others.

- Outstanding International Leadership Award – This honor is presented to an individual, family or group that has shown oustanding leadership by making significant contributions to the FOP cause in awareness activities, fundraising or other meritorious services in the international community (ie, beyond USA). (Americans are however also eligible for this award if their relevant service has occurred in the international community).

As committee chair, I would so love to see lots and lots of nominations!  It really helps the committee to know who the FOP community thinks are deserving of these awards, so please, please nominate anyone you think is worthy.  You have all of March in which to submit a nomination.  To learn how to do it, go to the following:

Looking forward to seeing your nominations!

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