MCC Inspiration Award (for survivors)

No one should face cancer alone. Courageous, determined, resolute, faithful; these are the faces of cancer survivors. This award is given to someone who exemplifies these words and lifts up others in the face of their own diagnosis.

MCC Inspiration Award ~ criteria

2019 MCC Inspiration Award Nomination Form

View previous award recipients

2018 MCC Inspiration Award Recipient - Erika Lojko

Erika’s personal cancer journey began in 2015, after finding a lump in her breast while in the shower. She had already faced undue hardship as this occurred just one year after losing her husband due to an unexpectant motor cycle accident. At the time the lump was discovered, she was a single mother, working full time as a public health educator for the Macomb County Health department and caring for her 4-year-old Caleb. She had no family history of breast cancer specifically, yet her oldest a brother was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma at the age of 35. While still grieving the loss of her husband, Erika quickly began a round of testing that lead to a diagnosis of stage 3 triple-negative breast cancer. She was 35 years old.

Despite the intensive nature of her journey, Erika’s spirit persevered. She constantly gave herself pep-talks. “I’d tell myself to ‘pull it together’, and ‘you’ve got this!” The one thing that kept her focused and fighting it all: her son, Caleb. “I’m still here for a big reason: to raise my son and to be a good mom. I’m all he’s got.”

Today, Erika is a fierce advocate for cancer prevention and survivorship. She advocates for patients. She has worked with her healthcare team at Henry Ford Health System, readily providing feedback regarding programs and services for breast cancer patients. She persistently urges the health and medical community in our region to consider the long-term effects of cancer treatments when engaging with survivors. She is an active member of the Colorectal Cancer Awareness Network (CRAN) of Southeastern Michigan, a multidisciplinary coalition dedicated to promoting and increasing awareness of colorectal cancer through public education. She chairs the CRAN Screening Initiatives sub-committee, working to find new and innovative ways to build screening partnerships. In fact, Erika serves as an essential member of the team that introduced the regional FluFIT screening initiative, that won an honorable mention at the MCC Conference in 2017. When southeastern Michigan began actively working to address the Hepatitis A outbreak, she inquired “Well, what about Hep A/FIT?”! She actively seeks opportunities to educate the community and is frequently requested to speak at regional
events. In Fall 2017, she was the survivor speaker at the American Cancer Society’s Making Strides Against Breast Cancer event in Macomb County, delivering a message of hope to all survivors in the county. Her motto, “I’m still here to help others. Use me. Use my story.”

Erika looks at surviving as a verb. An action. Getting through the day-to-day. Waking up and living one day at a time. “If you want your life back you need to be a warrior.” Erika Lojko is certainly a warrior. She exemplifies the true spirit of inspiration, courage, hope and advocacy.