Assurant Employee Benefits to Award Shining Star of Perseverance to Women Who Defied Death and Overc

Assurant Employee Benefits to Award Shining Star of Perseverance to Women Who Defied Death and Overcame Their Disabilities

Bay Area Author, Pennsylvania School Psychologist and Kansas City Brain Injury Specialist to Be Honored with National Award

KANSAS CITY, Mo.--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- A brain injury changes your life instantly. Just ask Maria Ross, Bay area author of "Rebooting My Brain" or Nicole Robinson, Pennsylvania school psychologist or Heather Matty, a nationally certified brain injury specialist.

On Oct. 8 at 11 a.m. at the Sheraton Crown Center, Kansas City, Mo., these three women will be recognized as Shining Stars of Perseverance for defying death, reclaiming their lives, persevering and returning to work.

In receiving the award, given annually by Assurant Employee Benefits since 2003, Ross, Robinson and Matty join the ranks of Aron Ralston, former Senator Bob Dole, and J.R. Martinez as Shining Star of Perseverance honorees. The national award recognizes those who rise above the challenges that come with a disability and provides a forum to foster greater awareness of the inspiring stories of tenacity and recovery.

This year the Assurant Foundation will donate $15,000 to three nonprofit organizations selected by the award recipients. A $5,000 honorary donation will be made to the Kansas City Rehabilitation Institute, The Acoustic Neuroma Association and the Brain Injury Network of the Bay Area.

Stories of Perseverance

Five years ago at the age of 35, Ross had a brain aneurysm burst and almost died. During her recovery she temporarily lost her sight, speech, memory, ability to walk and suffered delusions. With perseverance and ample rehab, Ross is once again running her marketing firm and sharing her remarkable story around the country.

"Like most women in America, I was trying to live my own best life and it almost killed me," says Ross. "Many working women dream of having our schedules wiped clean. Mine was, but not the way I ever imagined."

Assurant Employee Benefit's client and second award honoree, Pennsylvania mother of two Nicole Robinson, had a tumor removed from a nerve below her brain in 2011. After the nine-hour surgery, her doctor warned her husband she might not ever wake up because of brain swelling.

Because of complications, Robinson lost her hearing, and was struck with a staph infection that left her quarantined for two months. Robinson had four brain surgeries and gamma knife procedure over a two-year period. With an IQ of 135, Robinson's biggest concern was losing her cognitive abilities. Fortunately she did not and is back to work full-time as a school psychologist.

Assurant Employee Benefits' third Shining Star of Perseverance honoree, Kansas City resident Heather Matty, wasn't supposed to live after doctors diagnosed her having multiple brain tumors in 2003. But after numerous surgeries, she began the long road to recovery. Medical tests revealed a new tumor growth in 2012 after Matty suffered a stroke. Now she is cancer free, back to work and working as a nationally certified brain injury specialist and nursing home transition consultant.

Assurant Employee Benefits presents this award yearly as part of National Disability Employment Awareness Month, which Congress enacted in 1945 to raise awareness about disability employment issues.

About Assurant Employee Benefits

Assurant Employee Benefits specializes in quality employee benefits and services, including long-term and short-term disability, life and accidental death and dismemberment insurance, dental coverage, and disability reinsurance management services. Assurant Employee Benefits is the brand name for insurance products underwritten by Union Security Insurance Company and for prepaid dental products provided by affiliated prepaid dental companies. In New York, insurance products are underwritten and prepaid products are provided by Union Security Life Insurance Company of New York, which is licensed in New York and has its principal place of business in Syracuse, New York. Plans contain limitations, exclusions, restrictions and reductions.

Assurant Employee Benefits is part of Assurant, a premier provider of specialized insurance products and related services in North America and select worldwide markets. Assurant, a Fortune 500 company and a member of the S&P 500, is traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol

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Assurant Employee Benefits
Brenda Clevenger, 816-501-6042 cell
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KEYWORDS: United States North America Missouri


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