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Office of Vice President and
Chief of Staff
Florida Gulf Coast University
10501 FGCU Blvd S.
Fort Myers, FL. 33965-6565

Phone: (239) 590-1006
Fax:     (239) 590-1066

Press Release


Naples Resident Establishes Nursing Scholarship Fund in Memory of Late Wife; Conducts Book Signing Event Nov. 12

FORT MYERS, FL - Naples resident Richard Ballo recently established an endowed scholarship in memory and honor of his late wife to benefit students from Collier or Lee counties who pursue the study of nursing at Florida Gulf Coast University.

The FGCU Melissa C. Johnson Nursing Scholarship Fund provides monetary awards for degree-seeking residents of Collier or Lee counties who have been accepted into the nursing program. Preference is given to students who graduated from Collier or Lee high schools and who intend to practice in hospitals or nursing homes.

In 1981, Melissa "Lisa" Johnson founded the M.C. Johnson Co. Inc. ( ) after inventing the product CATH-SECURE® Original Single Tab, which stabilizes placement of patient catheters and other medical tubes in lieu of surgical tape, and is sold to hospitals and distributors worldwide. She later developed the Nurses' Night Lite and Pocket-Aid, and was co-inventor of the CATH-SECURE® Dual Tab multi-purpose tube holder.

Until the launch of her company, Johnson was a Licensed Practical Nurse practicing at Emerson Hospital in Concord, Mass. The hospital work inspired her to invent CATH-SECURE® because she felt there was a better way to secure catheters without the harmful effects of taking tape on and off patients several times a day.

She was born in Lunenburg, Mass., in 1955 and graduated from Leominster High School and the Leominster School of Nursing. Johnson married Ballo in 1986 and had two children. She died from cancer in 1993 at age 38, the year her company moved operations to Naples.

"I established this scholarship to keep my wife's memory alive and to help people become nurses because nurses are the caregivers in healthcare," Ballo said.

Ballo, a professional writer ( ), recently completed his book "Life Without Lisa." Published by Naples-based Quality of Life Publishing Co. ( ), the book tells of his journey to healing and helps mourners work through grief. Ballo and other family members now run the M.C. Johnson Co.

To benefit the Melissa C. Johnson Nursing Scholarship Fund, Ballo and Quality of Life Publishing host a book signing event 7 p.m., Friday, Nov. 12 at Borders Books, Music, Movies & Café in Granada Shops on the southeast corner of U.S. 41 and Immokalee Road in Naples.

Other individuals and businesses are encouraged to contribute to the scholarship fund as well.

For more information, contact director of Advancement Judie Cassidy at (239) 590-1058.

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