It is my honor to introduce Hemophilia of North Carolina's Volunteer of the Year for 2011-2012, George McCoy. We are so lucky to have George. He does so much for us.
As a member of the Blood Brotherhood, which provides outreach to support, promote good health, and establish a sense of community for adult men with hemophilia or Von Willebrand, he is a a presenter, an organizer, and an attendant. As a member of our Advocacy Committee, George meets with and twists the arms of key leaders in NC, interpreting state policy, tracking legislation AND he has developed a program for Advocacy Leadership Training for young people, and was a presenter at our last Leadership Training conference.
George sits on the NC Advisory Board of Bleeding Disorders which keeps tabs on the relationship our community has with the Hemophilia Treatment Centers.
This summer, he will go to Paris. He was invited to attend the World Federation of Hemophilia Congress in July to serve on a panel which will discuss clinical trials for the newest, extended half-life products which are under development.
But our bestowing an award on George is like the local YMCA league honoring Michael Jordan. George is, in fact, a giant in the hemophilia world. He spent 31 years with state government in the Vocational Rehabilitation Division of Health and Human Services and is widely admired for his smarts, his knowledge, and his wicked sense of humor.
Kathy Register making the presentation.
He is a recipient of the Order of the Long Leaf Pine from the Governor for extraordinary service to the state, and the Order of the Golden Magnolia from the Secretary of Health and Human Services for outstanding service to the Department.
He appeared in a nationally televised documentary about genetically engineered factor (1988) which was, at the time, the largest protein ever cloned.
He majored in Russian History, and is a fine chef. George makes a delicious borscht. And he makes schi!
As Chapter President in the 1980s, to raise our profile, he was able to involve Rosalyn Carter, Jimmy the Greek Snyder, the Queen of Thailand, and countless NC luminaries, including Bill Friday, Jim Hunt, Bob Scott, Rufus Edmiston, Terry Sanford, Kenneth Brinkhous, Harold Roberts, and Christine Johnson.
He was responsible for putting the word "hemophilia" on the map in North Carolina – starting with his tenacious and successful lobbying efforts for a tax exemption mentioned by name for many years on the NC-D400, our income tax form, and continuing with our state-funded Hemophilia Assistance Plan which was an institution in North Carolina. It started with $10,000 appropriated by the state, and increased to $100,000 before being discontinued in 2009 as a result of the economic downturn.
Next month marks a huge and important anniversary – the 25th – for our bleeding disorders community. In February, 1987 an historic and momentous event happened. For hemophiliacs all over the world – it promised freedom from fear of HIV and other blood borne disease and it happened here in North Carolina at UNC Hospitals, in front of a curious press, with cameras, reporters, doctors and nurses surrounding the brave pioneering soul who offered up his veins as a guinea pig to receive the first ever infusion of cloned (recombinant) Factor VIII. No one knew for sure whether the therapy would work, or even if a lousy reaction might take this man's life on the spot. Hemophiliacs across the globe have promise of better health because of that accomplishment. That guinea pig was George McCoy. So you see, George is not satisfied with making local headlines. His volunteering to be a guinea pig for the rest of the world typifies George's courage, his smarts, his giving spirit and sheer adventurousness.
We are so lucky to have George.
But alas, George you are not Michael Jordan, and therefore you are not fabulously wealthy. Therefore, in addition to your Volunteer of the Year award, and to put a tiny dent in the costs of your travel to the World Federation Congress Paris in July, HNC would like to present you with this check for $250, given with heartfelt appreciation for being you.
— Katherine Register
January 21, 2012