Influenced by the example set for her by her mother, a teacher and librarian who was committed to raising money for cancer charities, Andrea’s life has been colored by the various ways she’s worked to further the causes she cares about. The spirit of generosity is something she shared with her late husband, Dr. Edward Eliscu, a senior interventional radiologist with Medical Center Radiology Group at Orlando Health. Ed’s support and influence were vital to several key initiatives which helped shape the Orlando Health hospital system we know today before he passed away in 2000 after a long battle with cancer.
Ed and Andrea moved to Orlando in 1971 when Ed accepted his first job after military service, medical school and residency, with Orange Memorial Hospital (now known as Orlando Health). Prior to moving to Orlando Andrea worked as a nurse, so she decided the best way to serve her new community would be to work as a nurse one day a week without pay. As she soon found, this was quite an unusual request, one that the hospital hadn’t received before. They compromised, and although Andrea did receive a paycheck for her work, she donated each paycheck to a nursing scholarship fund for the next three years.
Andrea went on to manage a tennis pro shop, a job she happened upon after raising money for the American Cancer Society through a tennis tournament. She then went back to school and focused on her family for a few years. Andrea continued to participate in fundraising for various healthcare causes, and she noticed that the healthcare landscape was in the midst of significant change. It was 1983 and managed care was bringing dramatic changes to the industry. From Andrea’s point of view, the hospitals and insurers might understand the changes that were about to take place, but many physicians were still unsure what the future in healthcare would look like.
That’s when Medical Marketing Inc. was born, a public relations and marketing firm started by Andrea to help physicians and healthcare organizations navigate the rapidly evolving health care marketplace. Over the last 35 years, Andrea has continued to grow her business, has authored four books, and has become a sought-after speaker and marketing consultant nationwide.
While those accomplishments are certainly impressive, it is her volunteer work with several organizations which Andrea values most. She continues to raise money for the UF Health Cancer Center - Orlando Health to support cancer treatment, research and education by spearheading the Annual Walgreens Orlando International Dragon Boat Festival. Every dollar raised at this festival in the nine years since its inception has gone to support cancer care in the Central Florida community. For Andrea, this is a personal commitment to a cause close to her heart. Her beloved husband Ed, as well as her mother and several other close relatives have battled various forms of cancer.
As Andrea explains, “There’s nothing bad in my life except this disease, which I have no control. I must do something. I do this for my grandchildren, because if I don’t do something, nothing will ever change.”
Andrea’s relentless determination to fight the disease that has stolen so many of her family members has made a difference for the future, not only for her grandchildren, but for the patients at UF Health Cancer Center – Orlando Health and for her community.