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Kaskaskia College Nursing Graduate Receives Award from the Marfan Foundation

Sharon Aach, along with her husband Dr. Doug Aach, received the Community Champion Award from the Marfan Foundation at the Foundation’s Heartland Gala in St. Louis on March the first.

Mrs. Aach, formerly Sharon Nettles, hails from Carlyle and is a 1976 graduate of Carlyle High School.  She attended Kaskaskia College, graduating from the Nursing program in 1978, before earning her Bachelor of Science degree in nursing from McKendree College and her Master’s degree in anesthesia from Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville.  She practiced as a CRNA in Belleville and St. Louis.

Sharon decided on attending Kaskaskia College after hearing about it from a school counselor.  KC’s proximity, affordability, and the excellence of its nursing program were what drew her to the school.  “[KC] is a great stepping stone to further one’s education,” Sharon said.  “I remember it as very affordable, and the quality of education is superior.”

Sharon also has fond memories of her time at KC.  “The OB clinicals stand out in my mind, and the didactics were very good.  Small class sizes meant every student received individual attention.  The instructors were excellent.  I especially remember the exceptional lectures from Mrs. Bodem.”  On a side note, Rita Bodem, KC’s longest tenured faculty member, is still going strong in the Nursing department.

Sharon and Doug are the first recipients of the Community Champions Award from the Marfan Foundation.  Sharon said that while she is very honored for the recognition, the real heroes are the supporters of the Foundation, many of whom the Aach’s actively recruited.  “The credit really goes to them [the supporters],” she said.  “With their help the Marfan Foundation can continue its important work of spreading the word about this condition and helping those afflicted receive an early diagnosis, which is key.”

According to the Marfan Foundation website, “Marfan syndrome is a genetic disorder that affects the body’s connective tissue. Connective tissue holds all the body’s cells, organs and tissue together. It also plays an important role in helping the body grow and develop properly.  About 1 in 5,000 people have Marfan syndrome, including men and women of all races and ethnic groups. About 3 out of 4 people with Marfan syndrome inherit it, meaning they get the genetic mutation from a parent who has it. But some people with Marfan syndrome are the first in their family to have it; when this happens it is called a spontaneous mutation. There is a 50 percent chance that a person with Marfan syndrome will pass along the genetic mutation each time they have a child.  This makes it very important for people with Marfan syndrome and related disorders to receive accurate, early diagnosis and treatment. Without it, they can be at risk for potentially life-threatening complications. The earlier some treatments are started, the better the outcomes are likely to be.”

The Marfan Foundation, established in 1981, has a simple mission.  “We will not rest until we’ve achieved victory—a world in which everyone with Marfan syndrome or a related disorder receives a proper diagnosis, gets the necessary treatment, and lives a long and full life.”  Those with questions about Marfan syndrome are urged to visit www.marfan.org.

The Marfan Foundation’s Heartland St. Louis Gala was held in the Grand Ballroom at the Four Seasons Hotel in St. Louis.​



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