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Alison Goff Passmore Award and Recipients

 

YEAR  RECIPIENT
2012     Kara Dreyfuss
2011     Chloe' Caneega
2010     Rebekka Ragusa & Angelica Mealor
2009     not awarded
2008     not awarded
2007     not awarded
2006     Kaci Jackson & LaTesha Roquemore
2005     Not Awarded
2004     Nancy Ward

Alison Goff Passmore (1971-1996) taught in the Washington County school system.  She graduated summa cum laude at Georgia College with a bachelor's of science degree in education.  She was working on her master's degree in education at GC when she lost her battle with cancer.  Dean Janet Fields remembered Alison fondly.  "Alison was an inspiration and a leader. She persisted and excelled during adversity."

Alison was selected for Who's Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges for her campus leadership in scholastic and community endeavors.

The following is from The Courier Herald, Dublin GA, Wednesday, Oct. 20, 1993,
"Young Dublin woman carries on courageous fight against cancer" by Dorothy Bell.

The first thing that you notice about Alison Goff is her smile and her bubbly personality.  Just by looking at her, you would never know that she has fought, and at the moment is winning, a mighty battle with cancer. Alison, 22, was diagnosed in early 1990 with cancer.  She had a five-pound malignant tumor removed from her liver.  Along with the tumor, three-fourths of her liver was removed as well. Alison said that she started feeling bad in 1989.  She was sick, but the doctors could not seem to pinpoint the cause of her illness. They told her that it was a thyroid problem, that the thyroid glad was releasing hormones that were making her feel bad.  Then they told her that it was all in her mind.  They told her to go see a psychiatrist because she was just stressed about moving and starting school.

Alison and her family had moved to Dublin from Warner Robins, and she was starting college at Georgia Southern University.  The doctors said that the stress of the move and the stress that goes along with being a freshman in college were making her ill. Her doctor finally realized that Alison was really sick when her father literally carried her into the doctor's office  She was severely dehydrated. "It took them a week to get me hydrated so that they could run tests" said Alison.  "When they told me that I had a tumor, I was just relieved really, to finally know what was wrong with me, that it was not just n my head." The doctors did a sonogram and saw something, then they did a CT scan and an MRI. "I think that they knew at that time that it was malignant," she said.  "The doctors wouldn't biopsy it."

Allison waited for a doctor who specialized in this delicate type of surgery to become available.  Dr. Shun Iwatsuki at the Pittsburgh Presbyterian Hospital performed the surgery.  At that time, he was one of the most prominent organ replacement surgeons in the nation.  Dr. Iwatsuki headed up several transplant teams. "It really didn't enter my mind that it might be cancer," said Alison.  "I was just relieved that something was going to be done, and I would get well."

Her surgery was performed on March 27, and she was in surgery and recovery for 18 hours. The tumor had attached itself to her liver.  Fortunately, the liver is the only organ that will regenerate itself.  About a week after the surgery that had removed nearly three-fourths of her liver, a CT scan revealed that one-fourth had grown back. Alison underwent mild dosages of chemotherapy that summer from May until September.  The doctors were sure they had gotten all of the cancer, but wanted to take some precautions.

In September of 1990, Alison went back to college at the Dublin Center to pick up where she had left off.  She wants to be a teacher. Her major is early childhood education and, if all goes well, she will graduate in June. All was going well until she began having trouble with her hip at the end of September 1990 and a mass was found in her abdomen, behind her liver. More chemotherapy and radiation followed, and in December a spot was found on her knee. For over a year everything was fine, she went back to school.  Then in May of 1992, she was walking and stepped up on a curb and her hip broke.  The cancer and radiation combined had made the bone brittle and when she stepped up, her hip broke. Several doctors at the Medical College of Georgia in Augusta told her that they would not perform hip replacement surgery on her.  They said that she might not make it through the surgery, that she could die on the operating table.  That didn't stop Alison. A doctor in Atlanta said that he would do the surgery. The hip was replaced without any problems.

"I was walking with a walker at first, within a few days I had gone to crutches and within two weeks I was using a cane" she said. While doing routine X-rays, the doctors in Atlanta found three spots on her lungs that they felt sure were cancer.  Radiation was used once again on two spots that are almost directly behind her sternum, but the doctors felt that the therapy was no longer having an effect on her cancer.  The spots were not decreasing in size, if anything, it appeared that one of the spots had grown. During her time in the hospitals, Alison watched a lot of movies.  While at the Cancer Life Center at the Medical Center of Central Georgia in Macon, she began collecting videos to put in the library for the patients to watch.

This past summer, she bought a VCR because one of the ones at the center had broken.  She collected videos for months and now, thanks to donations, there are over 200 videos at the center. "So many people have been supportive and really good to remember me and my family," said Alison.  "I have learned so much. I try to be visible as much as possible and bring recognition to cancer patients." For this reason, Alison is promoting the 24-hour Cancer Relay to be held on Friday and Saturday.  The relay will be a 24-hour run/walk to benefit the American Cancer Society. Cancer patients will start the relay off by running or walking the first lap, and then the teams will take over for the rest of the night.

Alison says that her parents, Foster and Jennifer Goff, and her two sisters, Alisia, 13, and Ashley, 11, and the support team that she has have been much of her strength.  She gives talks in her sisters' science classes and is always willing to tell anyone her story. "Everybody's the victim, not just the patient," she says.

The Alison Goff Passmore Award  is given to teacher candidates who demonstrate the ability to maintain academic excellence under adverse conditions or circumstances while enrolled in the teacher preparation program.   Teacher candidates eligible for this award may be enrolled in any of the undergraduate or graduate cohort programs. Nomination for this award is by a John H. Lounsbury College of Education faculty member and recommended to the award committee chair.  This is not necessarily an annual award, rather, it is given as appropriate when the right person is identified.
 
 

 

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