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Celebrating advocacy: honoring organ donation champions

Every April, LifeSource shines a light on extraordinary individuals and organizations who go above-and-beyond in their dedication and service to the mission of organ donation.

This year’s Donate Life Day awards ceremony was particularly special, as it followed a record-breaking year of organ donation and underscored the vital role advocacy plays in saving lives. The recipients of the 2024 Donate Life Day awards are not just names on a list; they are agents of change within communities. 

In 2024, nine honorees received a LifeSource Donate Life Day award for their remarkable contributions to supporting the life-saving mission:  

Ambassadors of the Year 

Becky Bjerklie, donor mother  
Lisa Stackhouse, double-lung transplant recipient 

LifeSource ambassadors are one of our greatest assets. They are donation advocates who share their personal stories and educate the community about the power of donation. They are the faces and voices who connect LifeSource to the community. 

LifeSource Advocacy & Ambassador Coordinator Teresa Turner shared why donor mom Becky and transplant recipient Lisa are honored this year:  

Donation Partner of the Year 

Ramsey County Medical Examiner

This award recognizes an individual or organization who goes above and beyond in their advocacy for LifeSource and the message of donation.  

Melinda Van Waus, LifeSource Lead Partner Liaison, has this to say:  

Hospital Partners of the Year  

M Health Fairview University of Minnesota Medical Center – Operating Room Team 
Regions Hospital  
Sanford Medical Center Fargo 

This award honors hospital partners who went above and beyond to contribute to the mission of organ, eye and tissue donation in 2023.   

Our first honoree is M Health Fairview University of Minnesota Medical Center’s – Operating Room Team. LifeSource Donation Liaisons, Grant Redstone, Aracely St. Martin and Tisha Moore had this to say about the team:  

Our next Hospital Partner of the Year Honoree is Regions Hospital, nominated by Donation Liaisons, Mary Prince, Christa Becker and Chris Larson:  

Our third Hospital Partner of the Year honoree is Sanford Medical Center Fargo, nominated by LifeSource Donation Liaison, Deb Gemar:  

Pay It Forward Award 

Bob and Gayle Garrison, LifeSource Golf Classic committee members 

The Pay it Forward Award honors the efforts of individuals and organizations who champion the mission of saving lives through organ, eye and tissue donation through the sharing of their time, talents and treasure.  

LifeSource Development Coordinator, Laura Kelly Lovdahl shares more about Bob and Gayle’s commitment to championing the spirit of giving back:  

Registry Impact Award 

Jody-Kay Peterson, Program Director, Driver Services, Minnesota Department of Public Safety  
Tony Anderson, Director of Operations, Driver & Vehicle Services, Minnesota Department of Public Safety 

Driver’s license offices are our most important partner when it comes to registering donors. Over 90% of people who register their decision do so at the DMV.    

Jessie Farzanegan, Community Partner Liaison, shares why she nominated Jody-Kay Peterson and Tony Anderson:  

Congratulations to all this year’s honorees! From the bottom of our hearts, we are grateful for your advocacy.  

Together, let’s continue to celebrate the power of advocacy and honor those who make a difference every day.