Dana Southworth, Nominator
“I believe that one person can change the world…even if that person is now only a memory.”
Through her own tragedy, Joanne Cacciatore created an international movement to comfort grieving parents. Her daughter, Cheyenne died unexpectedly, moments before delivery in 1994 and left Joanne shaken and with no support, counseling or follow-up. She survived by using her grief to found the non-profit MISS Foundation, a family bereavement organization that has 75 support groups worldwide, 6,000 online members and a website that receives 1.5 million hits each month. Joanne lobbied to pass the MISSing Angels bill in 2001. Now in effect in 21 states, it provides families a Certificate of Birth Resulting in Stillbirth. She also helped pass legislation that established the Sudden Infant Death Advisory Council and a measure to educate first responders. An author of five books, she is a founding member of the Elisabeth Kubler-Ross Foundation. She has served as Chair for the Sudden Infant Death Advisory Council and the Unexplained Infant Death Advisory Council. A single mom with five children, Cacciatore always makes time to volunteer to help other families. She is a current PhD Candidate in Human Sciences and is developing a Certificate Program in Trauma and Bereavement at Arizona State University where she is a fulltime faculty member.