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Kansas City Community to Celebrate Courageous Comebacks at the 12th Perseverance Hall of Fame Event

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A mom and an opera singer both facing life altering crises. Mother and son chemo treatments. Two double lung transplants.

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Deliece Hofen and Charity Tillemann-Dick faced these challenges head on, demonstrating great courage and fortitude. Both will be recognized for their resilience and contributions back to others when they are inducted into the Perseverance Hall of Fame at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts in Kansas City on Wednesday, May 27, 2015. On hand to salute these remarkable women and be recognized as an honoree for his efforts to inspire others to persevere will be special guest, actor, author and Purple Heart recipient, and 2008 celebrity Perseverance Hall of Fame inductee, J.R. Martinez.

Sponsored by Assurant Employee Benefits, part of Assurant, Inc., inductees to the Perseverance Hall of Fame, are recognized for their resilience in overcoming illness, disability or other crises and helping others to do the same.

“We are inspired by the personal journeys of our honorees who embody courageous comebacks and applaud them for their work in helping others overcome life’s challenges. We are challenged by J.R. to live a purposeful life filled with charity, compassion and hope,” said Joe Sevcik, senior vice president of marketing at Assurant Employee Benefits, an employee benefits and services provider. “They join an illustrious list of men and women in the Perseverance Hall of Fame who have awed us with their strength and who challenge all of us to persevere and persist in spite of the obstacles we face.”

Hofen‘s journey began in December 2007 when her three-year old autistic son, Braden, was diagnosed with stage 4 neuroblastoma and given a 30 percent chance of survival. In 2010, Hofen was diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer and realized pediatric cancers needed the same level of advocacy as adult cancers. To create awareness and increase funding for pediatric cancer research, Hofen co-founded the nonprofit Braden’s Hope for Childhood Cancer. While raising money to fight pediatric cancers and taking action to overcome her own breast cancer, Hofen has supported Braden with his own battles as he went into remission for his neuroblastoma and then into remission for a secondary cancer, myelodysplastic syndrome.

Tillemann-Dick‘s life travels have taken her from the opera house to the operating room and back again. She was diagnosed at age 20 with idiopathic pulmonary arterial hypertension, a rare disorder that affects the heart and lungs. Two double lung transplants later, Tillemann-Dick has proved those who said she would never sing again wrong. The opera singer now uses her vocal talents to wow those in the concert hall and to advocate on behalf of organ donations.

Martinez‘s path took him to a road in Iraq in 2003. The U.S. Army infantryman was engulfed in flames when a Humvee he was driving was struck by a roadside bomb. Overcoming severe burns to 34 percent of his body, Martinez has persevered to achieve fame as an actor and best-selling author, become a strong advocate for veterans and burn victims, and serve as an inspiration to many.

To support the inductees in their ongoing efforts to help others persevere, Assurant’s philanthropic organization, the Assurant Foundation, contributed $15,000 in grants on behalf of each honoree to the charity of their choice.

The induction ceremony will be held at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts in Kansas City, Missouri on Wednesday, May 27 at 3 p.m. CT. Following the event, Tillemann-Dick will perform a concert featuring selections from her best-selling classical CD, American Grace.

Complimentary tickets to the induction ceremony and concert are being offered to Kansas City business, civic and arts community by Assurant Employee Benefits. Tickets are available on a first come, first serve basis at

To learn more about Project Perseverance and submit nominations for the 2016 Perseverance Hall of Fame, visit

This press release has an accompanying Smart Marketing Page providing further details about the organization, products and services introduced above. You can access the Smart Marketing Page via the following link:


About Assurant Employee Benefits

Assurant Employee Benefits specializes in quality employee benefits and services, including long-term and short-term disability, life insurance, voluntary benefits such as cancer, critical illness and accident, 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 an affiliated prepaid dental company. 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 and restrictions.

Assurant Employee Benefits is part of Assurant, a provider of specialty protection products and related services. Assurant operates in North America, Latin America, Europe and other select worldwide markets through four operating segments. Assurant Solutions, Assurant Specialty Property, Assurant Health and Assurant Employee Benefits partner with clients who are leaders in their industries to provide consumers peace of mind and financial security.

Assurant, a Fortune 500 company and a member of the S&P 500, is traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol AIZ. Assurant has approximately $31 billion in assets and $10 billion in annual revenue. For more information on Assurant, please visit and follow us on Twitter @AssurantNews.

About the Assurant Foundation

Established three decades ago by Assurant, Inc., a provider of specialty protection products and related services, the Assurant Foundation provides financial assistance to charitable organizations to help improve the quality of life in the communities where we live and work. The Assurant Foundation’s charitable giving focuses on health and wellness, homes and property, and local hometown help in the communities Assurant serves.

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