Seven-year brain cancer survivor Hailey Sontag of Auburn, Maine has been named the 2013 Amgen Breakaway from Cancer Survivor Award winner. The award is given to a Maine cancer survivor involved in community outreach who demonstrates a passion for helping others with cancer. It is presented in conjunction with the annual Dempsey Challenge, the primary fundraising event for The Patrick Dempsey Center for Cancer Hope & Healing.
Sontag, a seventh-grader at Auburn Middle School, will celebrate her 13th birthday during Dempsey Challenge weekend. She was diagnosed at age six and has undergone numerous surgeries, MRIs and chemotherapy treatments. Despite the recurring seizures caused by the brain tumor, Sontag is determined to make a difference in the lives of others.
She lends her support to Make-A-Wish® Maine by donating toys and books to their wish closet, taking part in the silent auction and scooping ice cream at fundraisers. She organized her own Walk For Wishes® team and along with all of these events she has helped raised over $30,000 since 2008 (enough to grant wishes to five other Maine children with life-threatening medical conditions).
She has participated in the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life and lifts the spirits of those fighting alongside her by bringing Christmas gifts to the Maine Children’s Cancer Program.
“I am really honored to get this award. I like to help people with cancer as much as I can because I know how hard it is to go through,” she said. “As a survivor I feel lucky that I am able to help others.”
“Amgen is proud to honor Hailey Sontag, for her commitment and dedication to helping others in their fight against cancer,” said Bob Azelby, vice president and general manager, Amgen Oncology. “Hailey understands that it takes a team to overcome this disease and at such a young age already exemplifies the foundation of the Breakaway from Cancer initiative through her actions. She is an inspiration to us all.”
Sontag will formally accept the award on Saturday, Oct. 12, at the Champions for Hope Celebration, which recognizes the fundraising efforts of Dempsey Challenge participants. Past award winners include Carlene Sperry, Allen Lariviere, Scott Thomas, Laura Davis and Kristen Short.
As part of Dempsey Challenge weekend, Amgen and the Dempsey Challenge invite all cancer patients, survivors and their families to walk with Sontag and actor Patrick Dempsey in the Amgen Breakaway from Cancer Survivor Walk on Saturday, October 12 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 9:45 a.m. at the Dempsey Center Spirit of Hope Tent in the Park.
Founded by Amgen in 2005, Breakaway from Cancer is a national initiative to increase awareness of important resources available to people affected by cancer — from prevention through survivorship.
Breakaway from Cancer represents a partnership between Amgen and four nonprofit organizations dedicated to empowering patients with education, resources and hope, wherever they may be in the cancer care continuum. For more information, please visit www.breakawayfromcancer.com.
For more information on the Dempsey Challenge, please visit www.dempseychallenge.org.