Champions of Donation Honored at “An Evening with the Stars”

Seventeen individuals and institutions were honored for their roles in saving lives through organ, eye and tissue donation at “An Evening with the Stars” presented by Lifeline of Ohio on Saturday, March 10, 2018.

In addition to the awards, Charity Tilleman-Dick, a two-time double-lung transplant recipient, top-selling classical recording artist and TEDx speaker, shared her incredible transplant journey with the audience. She credits both of her donors with the ability to continue singing!

Our Award Winners

Hospital of the Year – OhioHealth Riverside Methodist Hospital. This award was given to OhioHealth Riverside Methodist Hospital for demonstrating outstanding collaboration in support of organ, eye and tissue donation, their comprehensive donation policies and procedures as well as their donation recovery outcomes.





Tissue Recovery Hospital of the Year Award – Morrow County Hospital for their efforts to improve tissue recovery outcomes in their hospital.




Physician of the Year – Dr. Onsy Ayad, Nationwide Children’s Hospital was recognized for his commitment and leadership in regards to the organ, eye and tissue donation process.





Nurse of the Year Award – Kate Savage-Ralph, RN, Mount Carmel St. Ann’s. This award is given to an outstanding hospital nurse for their role in the donation process.






Administrator of the Year – Corey D. Perry of OhioHealth Corporate Office.  He was selected for his guidance and direction in promoting organ, eye and tissue donation throughout the OhioHealth system.





Liaison of the Year – Dan Vincent, Education Consultant, Genesis HealthCare System.  Mr. Vincent was chosen for his dedication and innovation in promoting organ, eye and tissue donation.






Chaplain of the Year Award – Rick Proper, Mount Carmel East. Given for outstanding faith outreach and support for donors and their families.






Community Partner of the Year Award – Columbus (OH) Alumni Chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. for identifying national partners to bring the Donate Life message to and for making organ, eye and tissue donation a national health initiative for Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. which has more than 100,000 members.


Infinity Award – JoAnne Viviano, The Columbus Dispatch.  Ms. Viviano received this award for her commitment to furthering public understanding about organ, eye and tissue donation.






Public Relations Award – Gina Mace, Media Relations Specialist – WVU Medicine – Camden Clark Medical Center. This award acknowledges the comprehensive support of a hospital public relations and marketing leader in promoting organ, eye and tissue donation.





The Service, Teamwork, Attitude, Respect (S.T.A.R.) Award is given for demonstrating exemplary service, teamwork, attitude and respect in the donation process:

Dr. Donald Pojman, Franklin County Deputy Coroner – Franklin County Coroner’s Office






Dr. Andrew Retzinger, ER Physician – WVU Medicine – Camden Clark Medical Center







Elysia Friend – Deaf Services Center, Inc.







Mount Carmel St. Ann’s Labor & Delivery                                                                               




Deann and Larry Heiing







Genesis Trauma Services – Genesis HealthCare System





Dr. Amy Schlegel, Director Perinatal Palliative Care – Nationwide Children’s Hospital


Workplace Partners Webpage Launched to Inspire Donation Awareness

Lifeline of Ohio invites your company, hospital or organization to join us in raising awareness for organ, eye and tissue donation. The solution to this staggering crisis is one in which everyone can play a role. By learning or sharing more about the dramatic difference one individual can make in saving and enhancing lives through organ, eye and tissue donation, lives can be saved and healed.

To make it easy for our community to request resources or access donation information, Lifeline of Ohio has launched a Workplace Partners tab on its website.  This page provides an overview of the Workplace Partnership for Life program, a list of ‘Ideas for Action,’ sample donation kits for both Ohio and West Virginia and a resource request form where groups can request further donation materials or ask for assistance for their donation awareness campaign.

Designed to streamline the request for donation materials, the webpage puts tools and ideas in the hands of those who might want to launch their campaign in a timely fashion or who seek more information to share with others.

If your company, hospital or group wants to share the importance of donation with your members or community, Lifeline of Ohio invites you to visit our website for more information or to request the materials needed to hold an awareness campaign.  Determining your group’s level of involvement in promoting donation is entirely your choice.  For further information on how you can promote donation in your organization, contact Lauren Stevens, community outreach and partnership coordinator, at

From Dialysis to Dancing

By DaMia Williams, kidney recipient

It is said that to watch a dancer dance, it is to hear our hearts speak. Dancing is my life’s passion. But in the blink of an eye, I went from dancing to dialysis. And I was just 13 years old.

I was a typical teenager when my health drastically changed.  I began to vomit, had little energy and just wasn’t myself. Doctors gave me several diagnoses, but no treatment plan ever quite worked to make me feel better.

After months of not feeling well I was sent for blood work with the hope we would finally get answers. I went for the blood draw before class and mom drove me to dance afterwards.

I am happiest when I dance, and have been twirling since I was three. As I was just beginning class, my mom entered the room – which typically isn’t allowed! She told me my doctor called and I had to go to the hospital immediately. I remember gathering my things, getting in the car and asking my mom, “Did my kidneys fail?” I have no idea why I asked that question. As she drove to the hospital, we held hands and prayed.

I soon learned I was in renal failure – my kidneys were only functioning at 5 percent. Doctors were baffled because I was still attending school and dancing. They thought I was homeschooled based on my kidney function!

After a series of surgeries, I was told I would need to begin dialysis immediately and be listed for a kidney transplant. I remember being very confused and didn’t quite know what everything meant. My best friend’s mom, my Girl Scout troop leader and a few teachers were tested to be living donors, but unfortunately, nothing panned out. My name was added to the national transplant list and I began my wait, along with thousands of other Americans, for a deceased donor.

While it was hard to be hooked up to a machine for so long during dialysis, I got used to it. Although I missed my carefree teenage life of hanging out with my friends.

On May 20, 2017, after more than a year waiting for a donor, I got the call! My mom and I were watching my brother’s basketball tournament and we were on a break between games. My mom received a call, but didn’t answer. When they called back again she answered and I heard her say, “We’re on the way right now.” I was so happy and grateful for the gift I was about to receive, but in shock!

We got to the hospital as quickly as we could and I was prepped for surgery. The last thing I remember is thanking the operating team for doing my surgery before the anesthesia started to work.

Waking up from surgery the next day, I felt better! My doctor said it was the perfect kidney for me.

Six-months after my transplant I received a letter from my donor family. I learned my donor was a dancer and began dancing at the age of three, just like me! Upon receiving the letter, my family wrote back to express our appreciation, love and gratitude.

Because of her generous gift, I was able to return to my passion – dancing. My donor takes every step, twirl and bow with me – won’t you consider registering as an organ, eye and tissue donor?

Forging Ahead – CEO Welcome

Lifeline of Ohio moves forward in 2018 with an overwhelming sense of gratitude and pride for the life-saving and transforming gifts provided through organ, eye and tissue donation in 2017. Nationally, the number of deceased organ donors exceeded 10,000 for the first time. Ohio, in turn, saw a 15 percent increase in organ donation, which resulted in a 12.2 percent increase in lifesaving organ transplants!

Lifeline of Ohio led the way last year with a 33 percent increase in organ donation, resulting in a 37 percent increase in organs transplanted!  While this feat was made possible in part by our talented and dedicated local transplant teams, ultimately it resulted from the generosity of everyday heroes who chose to give to others at the time of their passing.

The staff at Lifeline of Ohio works tirelessly to ensure no opportunity for donation goes unrecognized.  The wait list for life-saving organs remains too large and the wait too long.  Please, join me in empowering everyone you meet to make the decision to become a donor.


Kent Holloway
CEO, Lifeline of Ohio

Tim’s Purposeful Decision

By Renee Haley, donor wife 

My husband Tim was tremendous. A tremendous athlete, husband, father and friend. He and I were married in 1998 and are the proud parents of three boys. Tim took his duty as father very seriously. He was their soccer coach, volunteered with their Boy Scout troop and worked nights so he could stay home with the boys during the day while I worked.

Tim was also an honored and decorated member of the Columbus Police Force. He joined the department when he was 21 years old and spent the next 21 years working in the Narcotics Division, the K-9 unit and was a CPD helicopter pilot. His final assignment was as a SWAT officer. He dutifully served the people of Columbus, loved his job and felt he was making a positive difference for the community.

Unexpectedly during a department training, Tim suffered a brain aneurysm. I remember getting the call while I was at a school conference. I wasn’t able to pick up the phone and no one left a voicemail. By the time I connected with someone they told me Tim had been injured and that they were sending a car to get me. I remember thinking, it couldn’t be that bad and that I could drive to the hospital myself. His boss told me to stay where I was and that someone was coming to get me.

His shadowbox dedication at the Lifeline of Ohio offices

I realized the severity of the situation when we arrived at the hospital and saw numerous police cruisers lining the front of the building. Doctors did everything they could to save him, but Tim never regained consciousness and was declared brain dead on August 26, 2008. That is his End Of Watch (EOW) date, as they say in the law enforcement world. He was 42 years old.

As my heart was breaking, I knew other families were receiving the beacon of hope they had been desperately waiting for. You see, my husband was a registered organ, eye and tissue donor and saved the lives of five people through organ donation and restored sight to two through cornea donation. In fact, one of his kidneys went to his aunt in Alabama who had been on dialysis for years. She is still alive and doing well!

One of the things my boys and I take from his untimely passing is to not be just takers, but to be givers. After seeing how Tim’s purposeful decision to be an organ donor brought hope out of tragedy, and to honor his final, generous, life-giving act, I made the decision to become a registered donor. I had always known he felt it was the right thing to do, however I had never signed up. He was such a generous man and his final act of donation proves that.

Our sons were young – 9, 7 and 4 when he passed – but they’ve grown to know what an incredible and loving man he was. Our first-born, now 18-year old son, made the decision to follow in his father’s footsteps and register as a donor. I am very, very proud of his decision. Won’t you be a part of his tremendous legacy and register today in honor of Tim?