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    Can Ugly Potatoes help cure disease?

    Can Ugly Potatoes help cure disease?

    Courtesy Photo | Angela Racoosin (not pictured), Defense Contract Management Agency San Diego...... read more read more



    Story by Matthew Montgomery 

    Defense Contract Management Agency

    “I have often said that 30 years ago, breast cancer was something only a few people talked about, and now the awareness is everywhere with new protocols for treatment being developed every day,” said Racoosin, DCMA San Diego operations research analyst. “I hope The Ugly Potatoes can do the same things for PDSA and ITP awareness.”
    PDSA, Platelet Disorder Support Association, is a national nonprofit dedicated to enhancing the lives of people with Immune Thrombocytopenia, or ITP, and other platelet disorders. Racoosin’s niece Aandrea suffers from ITP, which is how she became aware of the disorder.
    “Since this is a fairly obscure disease, getting visibility is difficult,” said Racoosin. “As part of my efforts to increase awareness for a local support group, I contacted the national organization and informed them I wanted to create a ‘virtual’ team for the Orange County 5K walk. The coordinators at PDSA were thrilled and the Ugly Potatoes were born.”
    The Ugly Potato idea came from an unlikely place recounts Racoosin. “My husband and I went out to dinner and when my entrée came, the potato looked like it had been dragged behind a car for about 4 miles. It was bruised and squished and just a mess. When I told the waitress I would like a new potato, she obliged, but when the receipt came we noticed the deduction for the price of the meal as ‘Kitchen Error Name: Ugly Potato.

    “We thought it was hysterical so I sent it out to the family, we are Italian ...we share everything,” continued Raccosin. “Ugly Potato became our call sign for anything that was just in general lousy, to include rare platelet disorders. When I was looking for a team name, it was perfect. “

    Aandrea, who has ITP, is artistic and Racoosin asked her to draw the potato. “Once she put a purple sweat band on it, it became our logo,” said Racoosin. “The whole family has these custom t-shirts, and whenever we travel together we make sure to wear them as a group for at least one of the days. It helps us get the word out because people love the picture and they always ask.”

    To support the virtual walk effort, Racoosin encouraged her family members to participate. In addition to her niece drawing the mascot, her daughter created the T-shirt design and family members from California, the District of Columbia, Kentucky and New Mexico all participated on the day of the walk.

    Racoosin has 28 years of government service, 18 of those with DCMA. She credits the skills she’s learned working for the federal government as the reason she’s been successful with this endeavor. “I think the skills I have developed over my whole career helped me. DCMA has become very technologically savvy, so I am aware of how much long-distance coordination can be done electronically. Virtually everything we do … can be done virtually.”
    Her professional development is not a one-way street however, she’s also enhanced interpersonal skills and coordination efforts through her charity work which she is applying to her agency work. “If I can talk my 74-year-old father through registering for a 5K online, having patience at work is easy,” Racoosin joked.
    While she jests about her charity efforts, she takes her job very seriously — mainly because her ties to the warfighter run deep. Her husband is a retired Navy captain, her father is retired Air Force, her nephew is active duty Navy and she has other family members with public service ties.
    Racoosin started her federal career in the 80’s and has held various positions with DCMA, starting as a data entry clerk. “With the encouragement and flexibility of my supervisor, I completed my bachelor’s degree and began working as an engineer at DCMA Raytheon Tucson. I have bounced a few times between engineering stints with the Navy and Army, due to moves as a military spouse.”
    She hopes to finish her career with DCMA and believes she has a wide range of experience and insight to share with new employees and supervisors. One of those insights is that employees must have a life outside of work — something she has proven as an Ugly Potato.
    “Volunteer for something you are passionate about,” Racoosin recommends. “No act of kindness, however small, is ever wasted. You will be amazed at the difference it makes in your life, not to mention those you help.”



    Date Taken: 07.07.2016
    Date Posted: 07.07.2016 08:27
    Story ID: 203267
    Location: SAN DEIGO, CA, US

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