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Cure JM Foundation 2014 Legacy Award

Presented to Patti Lawler

From 2007 through 2014, Patti Lawler served on the Cure JM Foundation Board of Directors, most recently as the Director of Research. The 2014 Legacy Award honors her leadership, dedication and perseverance in the development and expansion of Cure JM's Research program.

Patti's daughter Megan was diagnosed with JDM in September 2004 at the age of 12. After meeting other Cure JM families at the 2006 National Conference, Patti became one of Cure JM's most ardent champions.

DenUyl Family

Tom, Kevin, Patti, Megan, Jeff and Ryan Lawler at the "Golf Fore Megan" fundraiser in Chicago.


“Patti was always willing to take on any new role or project that was needed to make Cure JM successful.”


With a BSN from the University of Illinois Medical Center and a MS in Oncology Nursing from Rush University Medical Center, Patti has leveraged her experience in the medical industry to manage and grow Cure JM Foundation's support of JM research. During her tenure as a board member, Cure JM Foundation has helped to establish two major JM research and treatment centers and funded dozens of studies.

In addition to serving as a board member, Patti and her family have been active fundraisers for Cure JM Foundation. In particular, they have organized "Golf Fore Megan", a very successful Chicago area golf outing to benefit Cure JM.

In recognition of all that she has done for Cure JM Foundation, Patti was presented with the inaugural Cure JM Legacy Leadership award at the 2014 Annual Conference. Below is a transcript of the award presentation, as delivered by Cure JM Foundation Chairman, Rhonda McKeever:

Rhonda McKeever and Patti Lawler

Cure JM Foundation Chairman Rhonda McKeever with 2014 Legacy Award Winner Patti Lawler

I have the honor of presenting the first ever Cure JM Legacy Leadership award, which is given to a person or family who has made an exceptional, long-lasting impact for Cure JM and the advancement of JM research. The impact of this individual or family is viewed as “transformational” and will live beyond their tenure – thus leaving a legacy for many years to come.

This year, the Legacy Leadership award goes to my very dear friend, Patti Lawler. Her daughter, Megan is now in college, and began her courageous battle with JM ten years ago. Megan has gone in and out of remission, but right now, she is doing well.

I remember very clearly the first time I met Patti and her daughter Megan. It was very much like this weekend. I had organized the first Cure JM conference and running event – it was the Chicago marathon in 2006. Just days before the event, I received a call from Patti saying that she just learned of the Cure JM conference and weekend events, and while she was going to be out of town, if she got back in time, could she at least stop by our charity race tent to meet some of us. The answer was “of course!” That was just the beginning of a new friendship and incredible partnership in making great things happen.

Patti joined our Board of Directors a few months later in early 2007 and served as Secretary and then eventually assumed the role of Vice President of Research.

Over the past seven years on the Board, Patti was always willing to take on any new role or project that was needed to make Cure JM successful. In addition to her “can do” attitude, Patti has also positively, yet constructively, been confident enough to question, challenge and really help shape Cure JM’s strategic priorities.

Just some of her accomplishments are:

  • Patti has represented Cure JM at many key medical conferences (ACR and CARRA) to help Cure JM effectively collaborate with the rheumatology community. She attended such conferences at her own personal expense and personal time away from her important role as an Clinical Supervisor for an outpatient oncology practice.
  • Patti has helped decipher over 10 years of prior JM research and helped put it in layman terms to help the JM community understand the disease and research progress being made.
  • Patti was instrumental in the formation of Cure JM’s Medical Advisory Board, which has three esteemed JM experts for strategic guidance. We are so fortunate to have the “head and hearts” of such an esteemed group of medical experts!
  • Lastly, as you learned today, for the first time ever, Cure JM has been able to partner with CARRA to develop a scientific peer review process for ranking and helping us prioritize where to put our future investments in research. With continued fundraising, we expect to continue this newly established process.

Although Patti is retiring from the board after this event, she will continue to be involved as an Advisory Council member. In addition, Cure JM and the JM medical community will continue to benefit from Patti’s accomplishments with the research reference materials, the strong collaborative relationships we have built within the medical community and the ongoing scientific review process for future grant funding!

Patti, for leaving a legacy that will always be remembered and will continue to help us further advance research efforts and medical community collaboration for a cure, congratulations on being awarded our first-ever Cure JM Legacy Leadership Award!