Katie Couric Congratulates Compassion & Choices for Winning 2020 Sharecare Award in Caregiving/End-of-Life Category
Receives Award for Video of Pioneering Manhattan LGTBQ Filmmaker Barbara Hammer Urging Passage of New York Medical Aid in Dying Act
October 15, 2020
Longtime TV journalist Katie Couric congratulated Compassion & Choices today for winning the 2020 Sharecare Award in the Caregiving/End-of-Life category for a video the nonprofit group produced advocating for passage of New York’s Medical Aid in Dying Act. Established by Sharecare in association with The National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, New York Chapter (NY NATAS), the Sharecare Awards promote and reward excellence for the best productions and programming in health and well-being.
Compassion & Choices’ award-winning video features the pioneering LGBTQ filmmaker Barbara Hammer who was living with cancer urging New York lawmakers to pass the Medical Aid in Dying Act so mentally capable, terminally ill adults like her would have the option to get prescription medication to peacefully end intolerable suffering (watch the video at bit.ly/BarbHammerAIDvideo). Born in Los Angeles, Barbara died at age 79 in her Manhattan home without access to this gently dying option on March 16, 2019. In February, Oscars in Memoriam honored Barbara Hammer as an experimental filmmaker.
“Thank you for this award. Sadly, New York lawmakers have failed to heed Barbara Hammer’s call to pass a medical aid-in-dying bill,” said Compassion & Choices senior New York campaign director Corinne Carey in her acceptance speech that Sharecare posted today at 2 pm ET on its Facebook page (www.facebook.com/watch/?v=627369557928106) and Twitter page (twitter.com/SharecareInc/status/1316801052805660673 #AllTogetherBetter). “In her honor, I urge you to text the word ‘DIGNITY’ to 40649 to tell your legislators to pass these compassionate laws in every state, so no one has to suffer needlessly at life’s end.”
“My cancer is incurable…I will reach a very debilitated state,” says Barbara in the Compassion & Choices award-winning video in which she notes that she suffered through more than 100 chemo treatments for ovarian cancer over 12 years before entering hospice in late 2018. “I would so much like to be able to manage my own death by choosing the time and the person I’d like to have with me so that I can die in comfort and with compassion and not in pain and morphine-drugged.”
“I want Gov. Cuomo and state legislators to hear the request of this dying woman,” she wrote in a New York Daily News oped published less than one month before she died. “Please pass the Medical Aid in Dying Act…All of us, regardless of what we believe, deserve to die in a way that is consistent with our beliefs.”
Her end-of-life caregiver and partner of 31 years, Florrie Burke, is carrying on Barbara’s work in partnership with Compassion & Choices. In January, Florrie traveled to Albany to meet with lawmakers and spoke at a news conference to plead for passage of the Medical Aid in Dying Act.
“Barbara was the love of my life,” said Florrie, 77, who had a mild case of COVID-19 in the spring, but is a COVID-19 ‘long hauler’ who has suffered from post-COVID-19 inflammatory syndrome since July. “I owe it to her and people dying from cancer, COVID-19, and other diseases to continue her advocacy, so they have the option to die gently.”
The Sharecare Awards launched in 2018 as a first-of-its-kind awards competition that promotes and rewards excellence for the best productions and programming in health and wellness. Compassion & Choices is one of 16 winners in the second annual Sharecare Awards across categories spanning various media formats and health topics. Now in its second year, the Sharecare Awards is honoring each category winner in 2020 through custom social campaigns featuring a range of health and well-being influencers and celebrity activists, including nine-time NBA All-Star Dominique Wilkins, Olympic Gold medalist Scott Hamilton, and meditation and mindfulness expert Deepak Chopra. With category winners being revealed via Sharecare’s Facebook and Twitter channels with the hashtag #AllTogetherBetter through Friday, Nov. 15, 2020, this unique format amplifies the important work of each Sharecare Award honoree while allowing the general public to take part in the inspiring awards program from anywhere.
Entries were judged by the Sharecare Awards Academy of Judges – a curated team of leading healthcare and media professionals with expertise in each of the competition categories. The Sharecare Award in each category was determined after a second round of judging by the deans of the Academy of Judges and a committee of additional experts.
“In today’s health environment, the impact of creative content and programming that spark awareness and action is more evident than ever, and we’re proud that this year’s Sharecare Award winners represent the industry’s most impactful productions that are making a difference,” said Donna Hill Howes, chief nursing officer and senior vice president of corporate partnerships at Sharecare. “By elevating the contributions of this year’s winners, we hope to inspire others within the industry to effect positive change and outcomes by illuminating the most important health issues facing our world today.”
In addition to the 2020 category winners, past Sharecare Award recipients include some of the most prominent names in health and health media, including acclaimed actress, producer, author, social activist and philanthropist Marlo Thomas; renowned neurosurgeon and CNN chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta; and various world-leading health advocacy and healthcare institutions.
The Sharecare Awards is operated through the Sharecare Foundation, a nonprofit entity that Sharecare established solely in support of this awards program, with the support of its generous sponsors and in association with NY NATAS, which fosters creativity and inspires artistic and technical excellence through the renowned Emmy® Award.
More information about the Sharecare Awards is available at https://sharecareawards.org. To join the celebration as it unfolds on your favorite social media channel, follow the hashtag #AllTogetherBetter; and watch this video from Sharecare to learn more about what that mantra means.