Awards & Recognitions

Do you know someone from Greater Cincinnati who deserves this recognition?

Bob Briggs, LIVER RECIPIENT

LifeCenter-awardsrecog-mobile

Bob Briggs,
LIVER RECIPIENT

Awards & Recognitions

Do you know someone from Greater Cincinnati who deserves this recognition?

Throughout our community there are people who are Champions for Donation who are helping to improve donation outcomes through their work within the hospitals. In Greater Cincinnati, there are individuals who have chosen to use their voice and their personal story to promote the importance of donation and encourage others to designate themselves as donors. 

Each year, LifeCenter accepts nominations for these Champions and announces the winners at our annual Community Breakfast. Each year, more than 400 people from local hospitals, companies and other organizations attend this event to celebrate donation and recognize those in our community who are making a different through their actions and attitudes. Each year the Community Breakfast is held the Thursday before Thanksgiving. See our events page for more details on date, tickets, and location. 

2016 Champions for Life & Theo E. Smith Awards

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Joe & Kris Grigsby, Donate Life Ambassadors, Champion for Life Award

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Joe and Kris played a critical role in ramping up team participation leading up to the 2016 Transplant Games of America. They worked cooperatively with Donate Life Ohio. They are wonderful, committed Donate Life Ambassadors who believe in the importance of the work they did on behalf of the Transplant Games. Leading up to the Games in Cleveland they helped recruit new members, facilitated informational meetings about the Games and most importantly shared their journey with donation. In working with them LifeCenter has gotten to know two very special people – a father and husband who is a fighter, competitor and double lung recipient who never quits. And a mom and wife and super spouse and who works with her husband to take on life’s challenges. They complement one another perfectly and are a great team.

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Don Melillo, Donate Life Ambassador Champion for Life Award

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Don has shared his story with more than 2,000 high school students, increased high school engagement, speaks regularly to patients waiting for liver transplant at UCMC and serves as a support for those recently transplanted, has actively lobbied for the passage of HB 137 which will require donation education as part of the high school curriculum. Additionally, he has worked to have the Governor recognize April as National Donate Life month. His dedicated advocacy in these areas and numerous others have been invaluable to our mission and purpose.

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Tracy Mallery, Medical Assistant for the Transplant Team at University of Cincinnati Medical Center, Champion of Life Award

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Tracy has been described as bringing life, enthusiasm and passion into the UC Health Transplant Clinic in which she works. She has created bulletin boards within the clinic to promote and educate patients about donation. She has volunteered her time to raise funds for NKF and promote LifeCenter and engage people in meaningful dialogue about what the gift of life means and how it helps so many people in need. She is compassionate and has a unique relationship with each patient. She goes the extra mile and dresses up for the holidays to bring a little cheer to her patients and is often seen sporting a Donate Life headband. She is strong proponent for donation as she educates her pts about the fact that they too can be organ and tissue donors. To date, she has personally registered more than 50 people in the clinic to be donors, people who otherwise assumed they were not eligible. And this summer she volunteered at the Transplant Games to support her patients and also the vision for the Games. She truly puts her all into organ, eye and tissue donation.

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Kathy Goode, LifeCenter Staff, Theo E. Smith Award

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Kathy is passionate about working within the African American community to provide awareness, education and motivation about the need to for more donors and having frank, honest discussions about the myths that sometimes hold people in fear about making the decision to donate. She takes enormous pride in sharing the knowledge and experience she has gained during her time at LifeCenter with everyone she connects with at the many health events in which she works. Her passion for our mission coupled with her beautiful personality and spirit make her a natural advocate. She is a woman of tremendous faith in all aspects of her life and truly sees the best in all people, even when we may not see it within ourselves.

2015 Champions for Life & Theo E. Smith Awards

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Robin Fox of Mercy Health, Champion for Life Award

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Robin Fox is the “Mercy Mission” and is an extraordinary advocate for her patients. As one of the charge nurses in the ICU she educates her colleagues about the importance of timely response to clinical triggers and also works closely with families who want to understand more about the donation process. Additionally, she has continued to immerse herself in donation and transplantation by attending the Assoc. of Organ Procurement Organizations national meeting in 2015. With a record number of nominations, Robin Fox of Mercy West is deserving of the 2015 Champion of Life Award.

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Brad Johansen of Local 12 News, Champion for Life Award

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This Champion for Life is started out by covering a unique and sweet love story and quickly that story evolved into the chronicling of Sam Boling’s story of receiving the call after waiting for four years that she would receive a life-saving double lung transplant. Brad Johansen continued to update his viewers about Sam from her being airlifted from Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center to Cleveland Clinic for transplant to her recovery which included the ups and downs that many transplant patients’ experience. His stories were touching and authentic and showed viewers what life looks and feels like for a person waiting and then receiving a 2nd Gift of Life.

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Kathy Daley of UC Health Champion of Life Award

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Kathy Daley “emulates and advocates for donation on a daily basis both inside and outside the hospital setting. Whether it’s facilitating the support group for patients waiting or partnering with LifeCenter in Lawrenceburg, IN at a health fair, donation is part of who she is. It is clearly much more than a job for her, it’s her passion.  She has been instrumental in implementing the red and black Donor Champion bracelets for patients and their families which bring attention to the importance of donation. She is undeniably focused on her transplant patients and supporting them unconditionally as well as being in the community to encourage and educate people to designate themselves as donors. Committed does not seem strong enough of a word to describe what she means to donation in Greater Cincinnati. If we have an idea to highlight donation she dives right in and partners with us to make it happen”. Kathy Daley is a true Champion for Life.

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John Middleton of Kenton Co. Circuit Court Clerk, Champion of Life Award

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Through his dedicated advocacy and strong team of Deputy Clerks, Kenton Co. John Middleton has been a leader in donor designation with more than 75,000 people saying YES to be an organ and tissue donors and more than $188,000 raised for the Trust for Life since he took office. Kenton Co. is one of the 1st counties in KY to reach a 50% donor designation rate. He works closely with his staff to promote donation and actively participates in national initiatives such as Blue and Green Day and even made the grand opening of the Independence License agency, a Donate Life focused event. The role of his agency is so important to the mission of organ and tissue donation so to have a champion who is committed to cascading that importance down to all of his staff is greatly appreciated. John Middleton is a true advocate for donation and Champion for Life.

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Lynette Williams, Donate Life Ambassador, Theo E. Smith Award

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During the course of this year, LifeCenter became very intentional about doing more targeted education around tissue donation and how it heals and helps thousands of people. This Donate Life Ambassador’s story was a key part to this educational campaign. Over the last year she has dramatically increased her role as a Donate Life Ambassador. In many ways this has been part of her healing process as she is and more importantly a Donor Mom. She lost her son suddenly in 2013 when he was 24. She shares her son’s and family’s story on all of the stations in the Radio One Broadcast family, whose majority audience is African American. Additionally her voice can be heard and face seen on commercials and videos that share the real life experiences of those impacted by donation. It has been amazing to watch her inspire and connect with others through her son’s amazing story. Her son helped more than 30 people as a tissue donor. Mrs. Lynette Williams is LifeCenter’s 2015 Theo Smith Award Winner.

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Ft. Hamilton Hospital Donate Life Hospital Champion Winner 2015

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This year LifeCenter wanted to present an award to recognize a local hospital partner who is actively making donation a part of their culture and the community they serve through marketing, registration, opportunities, education and community engagement. This year’s Hospital Donate Life Champion award is presented to Ft. Hamilton Hospital for its outstanding work in donation education and outreach.

2014 Champions for Life & Theo E. Smith Awards

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Jenifer Doughman, Donate Life Ambassador Champion for Life Award

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Jenifer is a fairly new Donate Life Ambassador who has jumped right in to doing community outreach and education. She does an amazing job of being in the community to share the message on the critical need for organ and tissue donation. She has put in countless hours throughout summer and fall this year to work information tables, county fairs in addition to speaking at schools and other groups. This cannot be an easy task as she is waiting on a second transplant herself, but she does not allow it to her to keep her down. In fact she says that in her role as a Donate Life Ambassador is what keeps her going. She is an amazing person, an outstanding organ & tissue advocate and she brings a true passion to the mission.

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Larry Davis of Fort Hamilton Hospital Champion for Life Award

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Research confirms that families who feel that they and their loved ones have been cared for by hospital staff are very likely to support organ and tissue donation in the event of death. As a Chaplain at Fort Hamilton Hospital and the Donation Liaison to LifeCenter, Davis has exhibited this high level of caring and support for families, which has resulted in numerous lives being saved and enhanced through donation. Within the last two years Fort Hamilton Hospital has had five organ donors; prior to these donors, they had not had an organ donor case for at least ten years. Davis was involved with the pastoral care of all of these donor family members. In addition within the same two years there have been twenty-six tissue donors; this is an incredible accomplishment for a hospital of this size. He is often called to the Emergency Department at all hours to comfort family members of those who experience sudden deaths and has worked very hard to learn the ins-and-outs of the donation process and is constantly advocating and educating staff around donation while supporting families through their grieving.

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Ken Morgan, Northern Kentucky Youth Football League Champion of Life Award

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Ken approached LifeCenter with a big goal and a plan. Create a registration initiative in the Northern KY area that would register 1,000 new individuals to become organ and tissue donors. He mobilized the Northern Kentucky Youth Football League in addition to utilizing his personal business to host registration events at Northern KY Youth football games and other events in the Northern KY area. As a result he and his team of committed volunteers met the goal of 1,000 new registrants and increased awareness about the importance of donation. His desire to do this was personal. Justin Shumacher, a former NKYFL playe, passed away in 1992 was able to help others as an organ and tissue donor. He felt it was important to honor Justin's memory by doing this campaign in the Northern KY community.

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Thomas C. Hendrix Jr., Donation Advocate Theo E. Smith Award

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Since receiving his transplant from a anonymous living donor in 2010, Hendrix has become a very public voice and face of donation particularly in the African American community. His donation journey was first publicized in the Cincinnati Enquirer and highlighted his story which included meeting his donor and the friendship that has grown since. Additionally, he shares his story with others in different places including dialysis clinics throughout Greater Cincinnati. He has done television advertisements and media interviews in which the audience is primarily African American. Whatever he has been asked to do he is always willing. Tom's courage and honesty is refreshing in that he is showing the African American community, the segment of our population that suffers from the highest rates of kidney disease that there is hope for life beyond dialysis and that through transplant an active life can be restored. He is a shining example of a recipient whose quality of life has greatly improved as a result of transplant. He always shows up with a positive outlook on life, an infectious sense of humor and a smile that lets you know that he is living the life that he was intended to live due in large part to gift he received from Jenny Hudson, his living donor, coupled with his fearless attitude.

2013 Champions for Life & Theo E. Smith Awards

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The Schnell and Grady Family, Donate Life Ambassadors Champion for Life Award

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Jodi McDonald, Social Worker in the Office of Decedent Affairs Department at University of Cincinnati Medical Center Champion for Life Award

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Rick Doherty, Registrar at the Mill Creek BMV Champion of Life Award

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Martha Johnson, Donor Family Member and Community Supporter Theo E. Smith Award

2012
2011
2010
2009
2008
2007
2006
2005
2004
2003
2012

Champions for Life:

  • Ha Pham and Meloy Rickers, Atrium Hospital
  • Dr. Jamila Bowers, Mercy Anderson
  • Dr. Sue Poynter, Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center

Theodore E. Smith Award:

  • Ickey and Chandra Woods, Donor Parents, Jovante Woods Foundation
2011

Champions for Life:

  • Paula Franckhauser, RN, Christ Hospital Health Network
  • Nancy and Jerry Hollenkamp, Aubrey Rose Foundation
  • Dr. Krishna Athota, University of Cincinnati Medical Center

Theodore E. Smith Award:

  • Carolyn Henry Glaspy, Donor Mom
2010

Champions for Life:

  • Dr. Erika Stalets, Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center
  • Paul Volek, University of Cincinnati Medical Center
  • Ben Brooks, St. Elizabeth Florence

Theodore E. Smith Award:

  • Vickie Jackson, Donor Mom
2009

Champions for Life:

  • Debbie Hayes, Christ Hospital Health Network

Theodore E. Smith Award:

  • Courtis Fuller, WLWT Channel 5
2008

Champions for Life:

  • Paul Beckman, Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center
  • Barbara Smith
  • Ruth Henthron, St. Elizabeth

Theodore E. Smith Award:

  • Brenita Brooks, National Kidney Foundation
2007

Champions for Life:

  • Dr. Jordan Bonomo, University of Cincinnati Medical Center
  • Kipp Leihgeber, University of Cincinnati Medical Center
  • Kelly Rabah, University of Cincinnati Medical Center

Theodore E. Smith Award:

  • Lincoln Ware, Radio One, WDBZ 
2006

Champions for Life:

  • Ann Demmy, Christ Hospital Health Network
  • Jennifer Jackson, RN, University of Cincinnati Medical Center
  • Dr. David Porembka, University of Cincinnati Medical Center
  • Lisa Cooney, WLWT Channel 5
2005

Champions for Life:

  • Jeff Leudders, Heart Recipient
  • Claudia Mann, Donor Mom
  • Dr. Lori Shutter, University of Cincinnati Medical Center
2004

Champions for Life:

  • Diane Grimes, Living Donor
  • Charles Eaton, Heart Recipient
2003

Champions for Life:

  • Lois Hickey
  • Elaine Barilla
  • Dr. Ed Lowe, Heart Recipient