The Chris Klug Foundation’s 13th Annual Aspen Summit for Life, will take place December 7th & 8th in Aspen, CO! This event raises awareness about lifesaving organ & tissue donation, while celebrating second chances and quality of life. Registration has sold out the past five years, so register today and start fundraising for this great cause. Each participant who raises the $100 minimum will receive a racer bag that includes gift cards, snacks, gifts, and more! Participation and donations will help the 115,000 people currently awaiting a lifesaving organ transplant today. 22 people die daily due to the lack of available organs for transplant and just one donor can save the lives of eight people.
The Chris Klug Foundation, in partnership with Astellas, will award this year’s winners of the annual Bounce Back, Give Back Awards. The awards recognize two transplant recipients who exhibit an exceptional post-transplant quality of life, whether it is a career accomplishment, participation in a sport or hobby, or simply leading a fulfilling life with family and loved ones.
“The Bounce Back, Give Back Award is about celebrating active and healthy lives post-transplant, as well as educating and encouraging all transplant recipients in their post-transplant journey,” said Lauren Pierce, Executive Director, Chris Klug Foundation. “For more than 20 years, Astellas has supported the transplant community through programs like the Bounce Back, Give Back Award, and the Patient Ambassador Program — a program where the Chris Klug Foundation visits with patients and staff at transplant centers offering inspiration to those touched by transplantation.”
More than 65 nominations representing individuals from 23 states (and one international submission) were received for this year’s awards. A team of CKF reviewers selected the two award winners. The two honorees and one guest each will enjoy an all-expense-paid trip to Aspen for the award ceremony. Awards will be presented during the Chris Klug Foundation’s “Summit for Life” weekend and will include attendance at a nighttime, up-hill race up Aspen Mountain that traditionally draws more than 500 participants. Proceeds from the event will benefit CKF. The Bounce Back, Give Back Awards will be presented during the Party for Life, at the top of Aspen Mountain at the conclusion of the race.
This year’s first award winner, Brian Hinsley, has demonstrated resilience and strength after being diagnosed with autoimmune hepatitis and receiving a new liver. He became the first firefighter/paramedic to receive an organ transplant and return to duty. A film crew documented Brian’s battle with his illness, including his successful transplant. Today, Brian and his wife, Kim, show their film, called “No Greater Love”, all over the country. The film won an Emmy and premiered in Washington, D.C., where Brian was asked to speak in front of Congress. Brian and Kim are ambassadors for OneLegacy and Brian consistently speaks at high schools, universities, hospitals and flag raisings. In addition, he is a speaker for the Donor Remembrance ceremonies and is on the steering committee for JJ’s Legacy with his wife.
Brian was part a group of people who rode ATVs across the country as a means of promoting organ and tissue transplantation. Both Brian and his wife are members of the Order of Saint Lazarus, of which organ and tissue transplantation is a flagship program. In the Order, Brian and Kim are co-chairs of the Organ Donation Awareness Committee. In addition to “No Greater Love”, Brian was in another film focused on organ donation, called “Keep Hope Alive”, which is shown to many fire departments for continuing education credit.
This year’s second award winner, Samantha Rick, was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis at three years old. She received a double lung transplant in 2011, at the age of 30 , however, she experienced chronic rejection five years later. Sam received another double lung transplant in 2016 and had to relearn how to walk, eat and breathe. She has since maintained a very active lifestyle with her lung capacity currently at 92%. Sam has entered and won numerous rock climbing competitions, 5Ks, road bike rides and hikes for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and Rock CF. She also facilitates a weekly community climbing night at the local community college in Quincy, CA for the past six semesters.
After Sam’s first transplant, she became a probation officer, ranking in the top five in her six-week CORE training class. She currently works at the Plumas County District Attorney’s Office as an Alternative Sentencing Case Manager, helping those in the criminal justice system transition back into society. Sam also volunteers with her local Cystic Fibrosis Foundation chapter as a peer mentor and blog-writer. She is a mentor for the Lung Transplant Foundation as well. In addition, she has participated in pilot projects for the Breathe Bravely Foundation and the Empower Project.
Both award winners are committed to serving as Ambassadors for organ and tissue donation in CKF’s Patient Ambassador Program. CKF Ambassadors visit with transplant recipients and families in hospitals and transplant centers to provide encouragement in recovery and inspire recipients to make the most of their second chance in life.
Aspen Summit for Life and its supporters enable the Chris Klug Foundation to focus on the mission of promoting life-saving organ & tissue donation, and improving the quality of life for those touched by donation. Summit for Life Partners include:
The Little Nell, Henry & Ruth Blaustein Rosenberg Foundation, Aspen Square Hotel, Aspen Sojourner, The Aspen Times, Order of Saint Lazarus, Kahtoola, The Anschutz Foundation, Paradise Bakery, ink! Coffee, SocialLight Photography, Donor Alliance, Aspen Snowmass Sotheby’s, Forum Phi, Aspen Valley Hospital, University of Colorado School of Medicine, Deep River Snacks, Ute Mountaineer, Guayaki Yerba Mate, Duck Company, Aspen Public Radio.