Written by Zoe Engels, Blog Contributor
Sara Miller, SODA’s President and Founder, is being recognized for her life-saving work as the 2022 Transplant Advocacy Award from the American Society of Transplantation (AST), the largest transplant organization in North America with over 4,000 professionals working toward advances in transplantation and improvements in patient care.
The Transplant Community Advisory Committee, the first patient-led committee in AST, selected Sara as the recipient of this year’s Transplant Advocacy Award. According to AST’s website, this committee is “comprised of transplant recipients, living donors, and caregivers who aim to use their collective voice to advocate for patients and the transplant community via education, innovation, and advocacy.”
They recognized Sara for her organ donation advocacy and education work—from SODA’s first chapter in 2014 to where the organization is now, with 45 chapters and counting on high school and college campuses nationwide.
“I feel honored to have received the Transplant Advocacy Award and to have the opportunity to be part of shaping the future of organ donation advocacy,” Sara said. “We're on an incredible journey to spark dialogue about organ donation on high school and college campuses nationwide. Our recent semester of impact shows just that; with over 40,000 students impacted and 3,000 registered, our student leaders are making a meaningful impact.”
Nicole Nidea, SODA’s Program Director, and Ryan Laughlin, SODA’s Program Coordinator, accepted the award on Sara’s behalf at the American Transplant Congress (ATC) in Boston. The American Transplant Congress is an annual meeting between the American Society of Transplant Surgeons and AST, and the ATC website describes the event as a “forum for exchange of new scientific and clinical information relevant to solid organ and tissue transplantation, [bringing] together transplant physicians, scientists, nurses, organ procurement personnel, pharmacists, allied health professions and other transplant professionals.”
Nicole shared, "I was honored to attend ATC to accept the Transplant Advocacy Award on Sara's behalf and to share SODA's mission with the attendees. The SODA team is so proud of Sara, and it was exciting to see the organ transplantation community celebrate her and the other AST award winners."
We can’t wait to see the exciting accomplishments that lie ahead. Congratulations, Sara!