2023 Mark R. Clements Award announced at the 10th Annual Cholangiocarcinoma Foundation Conference
Award winners are honored for making significant contributions toward finding a cure for cholangiocarcinoma through advocacy, vision, innovation, and collaboration.
The Cholangiocarcinoma Foundation announced its 2023 Mark R. Clements Award honorees at its annual Salt Lake City, Utah conference. The award winners were honored for significantly supporting patients and rendering cholangiocarcinoma (CCA) a treatable disease.
This year’s honors were awarded to Dave Fleischer and Linda Fleischer for Excellence in Community Impact, Alie Plouff for Excellence in Volunteerism, and Dr. Juan Valle for Vision, Innovation, and Collaboration.
“Dave, Linda, Alie, and Juan demonstrate an unwavering commitment to CCA patients. We are so grateful to them and the countless hours they have selflessly given. It is my honor and a real pleasure to present the 2023 Mark R. Clements Award to these outstanding individuals whose contributions to the Foundation and the cholangiocarcinoma field are almost too numerous to list. This award is special because it is the highest honor given by the foundation each year. Congratulations to Dave and Linda Fleischer, Alie Plouff, and Juan Valle, ” said Stacie Lindsey, Foundation CEO, and Founder.
Fleischer and his wife, Linda, raise awareness of CCA in honor and memory of their daughter Sarah Bennett who passed away from CCA in 2018. The Fleischers are volunteers and mentors, who encourage support for and conversation around CCA by creating the Caregiver Facebook page, hand painting hundreds of CCA rocks, and executing the 15,000 Mile Journey of Hope. Dave is the First CCF Ambassador of Hope, a conference volunteer, and generously donates snacks to the patient lounge annually.
“Dave and Linda’s unwavering dedication to raising awareness and finding a cure for cholangiocarcinoma make them truly deserving of the Mark R. Clements Award. Their tireless efforts have significantly impacted the fight against this devastating disease, inspiring hope and change within the cholangiocarcinoma community and beyond,” said Meredith McGuffage, TeamCCF Coordinator.
Alyssa “Alie” Plouff has spent countless hours volunteering in honor of her mother, Kathleen, who passed away from CCA. She has worked with the Foundation as a research advocate, a member of the care team, a CholangioConnect mentor, and a social media volunteer, and she is involved in various other support initiatives. She has led the Wellness for Life program and annually volunteers at the conference.
“Alie is an asset to the Cholangiocarcinoma Foundation, specifically to the CholangioConnect and Care Team programs. She is an exceptionally dedicated mentor who goes above and beyond in friendshipping those she serves. Her selfless service has inspired many, and her commitment to this cause is a testament to the power of volunteerism and the impact one person can make,” said Cindy Thomas, CCF CholangioConnect Coordinator.
Dr. Juan Valle has dedicated his career to improving the lives of cancer patients and advancing the understanding of this complex disease. He is a world-renowned oncologist and professor in medical oncology at The Christie NHS Foundation Trust and the University of Manchester. He is a member of the Foundation’s Scientific & Medical Advisory Board (SMAB). Dr. Valle established The Christie Neuroendocrine European Neuroendocrine Tumor Society Centre of Excellence in Manchester and currently sits on their Advisory Board.
His research focuses on developing new therapies for pancreatic, biliary, and neuroendocrine cancers, and he has been instrumental in designing and developing clinical trials. He is a highly regarded clinician known for his compassionate and patient-centered approach to care. He has significantly impacted the lives of countless patients and their families, providing hope and healing to those struggling with complex and difficult-to-treat cancers.
"Dr. Juan Valle's unwavering commitment to advancing the understanding and treatment of cholangiocarcinoma through his groundbreaking research, visionary leadership, and unparalleled collaboration make him a deserving recipient of the Mark R. Clements Award. His tireless efforts have transformed the landscape of cholangiocarcinoma research and given hope to countless patients and families affected by this devastating disease," said Stacie Lindsey, CCF CEO, and founder.
The Mark R. Clements Award for Vision, Innovation, and Collaboration is the highest honor awarded by the Foundation each year. As a cholangiocarcinoma patient, Mark Clements was the inspiration and driving force behind the creation of the Foundation. Before Mark passed away, he wished to create something that could help others have the kind of support he did. These awards in his namesake reflect the umbrella of hope that covers this community.
"Dave, Linda, Alie, and Juan demonstrate an unwavering commitment to CCA patients. We are so grateful to them and the countless hours they have selflessly given. It is my honor and a real pleasure to present the 2023 Mark R. Clements Award to these outstanding individuals whose contributions to the Foundation and the cholangiocarcinoma field are almost too numerous to list. This award is special because it is the highest honor given by the foundation each year. Congratulations to Dave and Linda Fleischer, Alie Plouff, and Juan Valle."
CCF Founder & CEO