The United Network of Organ Sharing (UNOS) presented Barbara Lee, MSW, of Greenville, NC, the 2014 National Donor Memorial Award for Excellence in recognition of her work as a donation advocate for more than two decades. Established by UNOS in 2010, this annual award honors “unsung heroes” who have gone above and beyond in promoting organ donation in their community. Organ procurement organizations across the country nominated individuals who exemplified these qualities, and one winner was chosen.
“Barbara Lee is indefatigable. She’s served as a social worker at Vidant Medical Center Transplant Services for more than 20 years and as an active volunteer at HonorBridge for more than ten. She’s wonderfully and enthusiastically creative, with the drive, energy and know-how to turn an idea into reality—as many of her colleagues and fellow volunteers can attest,” said OPTN/UNOS president Kenneth A. Andreoni, M.D.
One of her first volunteer efforts was serving as a chaperone for Team North Carolina when it went to Salt Lake City for the 1996 U.S. Transplant Games. It was a rather modest beginning for efforts that since have reached out and educated various populations within the medical, interfaith and community settings, educating and increasing donor registrations across the state.
The effort that has perhaps had the most far-reaching impact was the result of being awarded a $100,000 grant in 2012 from the North Carolina License to Give Trust Fund Commission. After the award, Lee assembled a team of 12 donation advocates and created a nonprofit organization called the Eastern North Carolina Donor Impact Project (ENCDIP). ENCDIP’s purpose is to dispel myths and educate the African-American and Latino communities about the need for minority donors.Since its creation, members of the organization have been highly visible at local festivals, health fairs and churches, schools and colleges.
“Barbara Lee exemplifies how one individual can make a huge difference,” said Lloyd Jordan, Chief Executive Officer of HonorBridge. “Her contribution and dedication to donation is unmatched. She is truly an unsung hero who has done so much to save and enhance lives through her commitment to organ and tissue donation all these years.”
The award was presented on Monday, June 23, during UNOS’ June Board meeting in the National Donor Memorial at UNOS’ headquarters in Richmond, VA.