Volunteers Named Echo of Life Award Recipients

(L-R) Israel Sanchez, Echo of Life winner of Hispanic Task Force; Priscilla Long-Holliday, Echo of Life winner of African American Task Force; Tim Joos, Echo of Life winner for Donate Life Illinois. Photo by Yeo Photography.

We are proud of all our volunteers who tirelessly reach out to their communities to educate, dispel myths and misconceptions and to register people to be organ/tissue donors. Our volunteers come to us from the Donate Life Illinois member organizations to share their support of organ and tissue donation across Illinois and Northwest Indiana.

We held two events this past May to celebrate the achievements of our amazing volunteers:

Echo of Life Award  Hispanic Task Force

The Hispanic Task Force is excited to recognize a volunteer who has helped educate many Illinois Hispanic residents on the importance of organ and tissue donation.  Israel Sanchez is a double lung recipient, he has been an active volunteer since 2007 volunteering whenever he is needed to help promote organ/tissue donation.  He has shared his personal story and encouraged people to register during radio and television interviews, used his skills as a Flamenco dancer and honored his donor and their family, locally, but also in Washington DC during the 2009 National Donor Recognition Ceremony.

Echo of Life Award, African American Task Force

The African American Task Force would like to recognize Priscilla Long-Holliday, an extraordinary volunteer who was instrumental in our foundation and continues to be a stronghold of the AATF.   Organ/tissue donation has played a large role in her life as her late husband was a two time kidney recipient.  She has been an avid supporter and advocate of donation as she was the North Shore AATF Director from 1994-2004.  Additionally, she has assisted other AATF volunteers to take leadership opportunities in the North Shore and Evanston Chapters.  Since 2005, she has served as the AATF “Volunteer Communications Liaison”.

Echo of Life Award – Donate Life Illinois

After the loss of his daughter in 2003, Tim Joos, a dedicated father has spent countless hours in local high schools, hospitals, colleges and special events, speaking about how important organ and tissue donation is both to his family and the thousands of people waiting.  The memory and legacy of his daughter lives on as he shares about her life and her decision to continue to help others by being a tissue donor, helping the lives of 25 people.

By going into the classroom and sharing the truth and importance of organ/tissue donation, he has touched thousands of students across the Chicagoland area to consider being and organ/tissue donor.  He continues his volunteer work as he spent several years on Gift of Hope’s Donor Family Advisory Council and is currently on Gift of Hope’s Advisory Council.  Yet his donation story continues as he became a living donor last week by donating a kidney through a kidney chain to a woman in need in Philadelphia.

Echo of Life Award – Central Illinois

Vivian and Larry Lefferts

At the Central Illinois Donate Life Illinois Volunteer Appreciation, Vivian and Larry Lefferts, an amazing volunteer couple who are tireless advocates of organ/tissue donation won the Echo of Life Award for Outstanding Volunteerism.  After the loss of their son in 2004, this husband and wife team speak at businesses, hospitals, special events, high schools and colleges, and to anyone willing to hear about how important organ and tissue donation is to both their family and the thousands of people waiting.  They have volunteered at countless speaking events, donor registration stations and are members of the Gift of Hope Donor Family Advisory Council.

As members of the Donor Family Advisory Council, their efforts led to the dedication of the memorial stone in front of Gift of Hope.  As business owners, they have promoted organ/tissue donation through their fireworks company.   As members of their community, they have reached out to other donor families, helping them cope with their own loss.

With little fanfare, this couple has encouraged thousands of people to join the state donor registry. They have not only wholly embraced the Donate Life mission and cause, but they continue to represent the generous and hopeful spirit of all donor families.

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