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NMDP and Be The Match honor outstanding support, recruitment efforts

2011 awards recognize contributions from recruiting potential bone marrow donors to raising public awareness
Organizations, the media, families and individuals honored for their dedicated efforts to help patients

November 07 2011

A broad range of dedicated individuals, families and organizations received awards from the National Marrow Donor Program® (NMDP) and Be The Match® for their critical efforts to help more patients receive life-saving bone marrow and umbilical cord blood transplants. 

The NMDP’s 2011 Awards – which recognize a range of outstanding contributions, from recruiting potential bone marrow donors to raising public awareness – were presented on Nov. 4 at the organization’s 24th Annual Council Meeting in Minneapolis. This year’s winners include:

  • Partnership Award – Biologics Inc. of Cary, N.C., for effectively and efficiently managing the distribution of filgrastim, a drug that’s vital in the donation process.
  • Allison Atlas Award – The Smith family of Calvert City, Ky., for raising awareness about the need for more bone marrow donors. The family helped recruit nearly 4,500 potential donors – 11 of whom have gone on to donate to patients in need – and raised more than $71,000.
  • Patient Support/Advocacy Award – The Don Smith/Joan Olson family of Bloomington, Minn., who dedicated significant time and energy to sharing the story of their son’s successful bone marrow transplant with others searching for matching donors.
  • Donor Management Innovation Award – Apheresis Associates of Northern Virginia, Annandale, Va., for collecting the highest volume of donations within the past year by offering flexible scheduling and streamlining the process for volunteers.  
  • Admiral Zumwalt Corporate Award – Nordstrom, Inc., for partnering with Be The Match during Black History Month to raise awareness and donate funds to add hundreds of new potential donors to the Be The Match Registry®. The campaign resulted in a $75,000 donation, and added nearly 1,000 people to the registry.
  • Lt. Gen. Frank E. Petersen Jr. Award – “Team Anh” of Houston, for helping add more than 11,000 potential donors to the Be The Match Registry® since 2009. Team Anh is a family initiative formed to help patient Dr. Anh Nguyen Reiss find a matching donor. Dr. Reiss is still searching, but her perseverance has provided hope – and in some cases, matches – for Vietnamese patients.
  • Lifeline Award – Dr. Frances Verter of Brookeville, Md., for her commitment to increase awareness about public umbilical cord blood donation through her foundation, Parent’s Guide to Cord Blood. 
  • Collegiate Award – College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, Va., for rallying students, faculty, staff and the surrounding community to participate in annual donor registration drives for the past 20 years.
  • C.W. Bill Young Congressional Award – U.S. Rep. Doris Matsui of California for her outstanding leadership and continued support of the bone marrow and umbilical cord blood transplant community. The congresswoman co-authored the Stem Cell Research and Therapeutic Act in 2010, which reauthorized the C.W. Bill Young Transplantation Program and the National Cord Blood Inventory (NCBI). With her co-author, Rep. C. W. Bill Young of Florida, she led the successful and timely passage of the bill.
  • Excellence in New Media Award – Alice Pyne, 15, of Cumbria, England, for raising awareness worldwide about the need for more bone marrow donors. Her blog, “Alice’s Bucket List,” has sparked 100 media stories from Germany to Spain to the United States. Citizen journalists from the Huffington Post to Be The Match Facebook fans helped spread the word about her four-year battle with Hodgkin’s lymphoma. The top wish on her “bucket” list: “To make everyone sign up to become a bone marrow donor.”
  • Excellence in Local Media Award – Karen Miller and the Bay State Banner of Boston for a four-page newspaper insert highlighting the need for more African Americans to join the Be The Match Registry. It reached thousands of readers.
  • Excellence in National Media Award – Virginia Sole-Smith and All You Magazine, for an in-depth, five-page feature on marrow and cord blood transplantation that reached more than 1 million readers.
  • Jeffrey Mark Harris Achievement Award – Gordy Bryan, former chief financial officer of NMDP, for helping the organization achieve double-digit growth in the number of patients served annually over the past 10 years.

“For 25 years, patients and their families have turned to the NMDP and Be The Match, hoping and praying for a cure. And for 25 years, we have answered the call,” said Jeffrey W. Chell, M.D., chief executive officer of the NMDP. “This would be impossible without the dedication and support of individual volunteers, corporations, professional associations, patient families and recruitment organizations that bring hope to thousands more still searching for a match.”

EDITOR’S NOTE: Hi-resolution photos from the award ceremony are available upon request. Please contact Kirsten Lesak-Greenberg at (612) 455-1749 or