The Shinnston News & Harrison County Journal has named Annette Fetty-Santilli as February’s Citizen of the Month, a program sponsored by Dorsey Funeral Home in Shinnston – locally owned & operated.
By TRINA RUNNER
News & Journal Staff Writer
When Annette Fetty-Santilli was honored by the Bridgeport City Council last fall, it was for her efforts as an advocate for the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network.
Those in attendance had the opportunity to hear the impetus behind her involvement as she gave a very emotional testimony about her brother’s death from the disease. After promising him that she would do something to make sure others didn’t face the same fate, Santilli launched into action.
She has gone to Capitol Hill nine times lobbying for increased research money for pancreatic cancer and helped pass the Recalcitrant Cancer Research Act in 2012 and the 21st Century Cures Act in 2016. Both of the bills have helped provide direction for the National Cancer Institute and the National Institutes of Health to form a framework for fighting the disease.
Under her initiative, West Virginia Power Baseball team has hosted nine “Purple Power Nights”, with the team sporting purple jerseys in honor of the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network. The team auctions off the jerseys each year and donates the proceeds to the cause.
Santilli also coordinates the “Purple Scarf of Hope” program, encouraging volunteers to make purple scarves and then she donates them to cancer survivors all over the country. Each year, she is also instrumental in the implementation of the Purple Light Vigil of Hope, held in Philippi in November. The vigil honors those who been lost to the disease and celebrates the survivors.
As the administrator for the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network Facebook page, Santilli sponsors “Wage Hope Wednesdays” posting pictures honoring those affected by the disease. During National Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month in November, they post all the pictures they have to bring awareness to the disease.
In addition to her work for the network, Santilli is a vital member of the communities in North Central West Virginia. She works as an administrator for the Barbour County Health Department and is a Board member of the Jackson’s Mill Jubilee. She serves as president of the Philippi Convention and Visitors Bureau, Philippi Main Street, and the Board of Trustees for the Philippi Public Library.
As a State Lead Ambassador for the WV Chapter of the American Cancer Society and Cancer Action Network, she serves throughout the state to raise awareness and funds for those fighting cancer and she is active as a leader in the Relay for Life program.
For her continued efforts in fulfilling her promise to her brother, Santilli has been awarded the 2017 Sharing of Self Living the Dream Award from the WV Martin Luther King, Jr. State Holiday Commission, the Community Advocate of the Year Award from the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network National Program, The West Virginia Governor’s Service Award, the Community Service Award for Barbour County Chamber of Commerce and the WV Wesleyan College Alumni Achievement Award.
Her dedication has affected the lives of many in Harrison County as well as those around the country, and her undying commitment to honor her brother through action is worthy of recognition and awe.