Jana Poche’ Recipient of D. Jensen Holliday Memorial Award
(Baton Rouge, La.) Jana Poche’ of Baton Rouge is the 2014 recipient of the D. Jensen Holliday Memorial Award for outstanding contributions in the fight against cancer. Poche’ was presented with the award at an evening reception in her honor at the Baton Rouge Country Club Tuesday, Nov. 18, for her work with children whose lives have been impacted by the disease.
The prestigious award was established in 2004 by the Board of Directors of Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center. It was created as an expression of gratitude for the significant contributions Holliday made to the Center as a member of the board of directors for 10 years, including the two years he served as chairman from 1998 – 2000 prior to his death.
“Jensen was a friend of mine,” said the current Chairman of Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center’s Board of Directors, Dr. Tom Meek. “Both he and Jana have a lot in common, including a commitment to the betterment of Baton Rouge and involvement in cancer-related endeavors having a positive impact on the community.” These criteria are key factors in selecting the winner of the award from among the nominations submitted each year.
Todd Stevens, Jana Poche’, Estelle Holliday, Dr. Tom Meek
Meek shared highlights from Poche’s nomination submitted by her friends and associates at Cancer Services of Greater Baton Rouge, where she has been a volunteer for over 20 years. Poche’s involvement with the organization began in 1994 when the Junior League and Cancer Services committed resources to establish a summer camp for children living with cancer.
Poche’, a Junior League member, took the lead and helped to create Camp Care, providing a local resource for children to participate in a regular summer camp experience. Through Poche’s efforts and the backing of the Junior League and Cancer Services, over 1,000 children have experienced Camp Care and the myriad of activities from all around Louisiana that are a part of it. To ensure that every child can participate regardless of medical limitations, Poche’ coordinates nursing care volunteers from the St. Jude Baton Rouge Affiliate to oversee each camper’s medical needs.
In 2013, Poche’ turned over her camp director reins but was at the camp every day to assist. Earlier this year, Cancer Services identified the need for a grief recovery camp for children who had lost a loved one to cancer. As she did some 20 years ago, Poche’ agreed to take on yet another challenge and served as camp director for the first annual Camp Koala.
Summarizing Poche’s past contributions and her continued involvement, Dr. Meek offered a quote from her nomination. “Jana Poche is a remarkable and loving person who has served the children of our community for many years. The life-changing impact she has had on the campers, the staff and the volunteers will be felt for generations to come.”
Estelle Holliday presented Poche’ with the D. Jensen Holiday Memorial Award, evoking applause and a standing ovation from the audience.
Poche’ addressed those in attendance by saying in part, “I am profoundly moved and humbled to be associated with the name Jensen Holliday. And to Mary Bird Perkins and the board of directors, thank you, for fighting to save the lives of parents with cancer while we do our part to help the children.”
A celebratory reception followed with assorted food tastings and beverages.
Nominations are accepted annually for this award and are reviewed by a selection committee of community members that chooses the nominee who best reflects Holliday’s vision and dedication to the greater good of a community served by Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center while making a sustained and memorable difference in the fight against cancer.
Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center is a regional cancer care organization that has been fighting cancer for more than 40 years. With five centers in Baton Rouge, Covington, Hammond, Houma and Gonzales, its service area encompasses 18 parishes across southeast Louisiana. For more information, please visit www.marybird.org.