July 17, 2024

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Cathy Cerbo Celebrated for Energizing Morris County Donate Life Group

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PARSIPPANY — NJ Sharing Network (NJSN), the non-profit organization responsible for recovering donated organs and tissue in the Garden State, recently presented Volunteer Recognition Awards to residents for their outstanding efforts in supporting its lifesaving mission. The awards were presented during NJ Sharing Network’s 2024 Volunteer Appreciation Reception at its headquarters in New Providence.

“Volunteers are the heart of our mission. They help strengthen our public education efforts, encouraging more people to say ‘YES’ to save lives by registering as organ and tissue donors,” said Alyssa D’Addio, Vice President of Hospital and Community Services, NJSN.

Donate Life Group Leader Award presented to Cathy Cerbo, Owner of Cerbo Lumber.
NJSN’s Donate Life Groups (DLG) bring together local advocates and volunteers to take action and educate their communities about organ and tissue donation. The Donate Life Group Leader Award recognizes a DLG member who has energized grassroots efforts to support NJSN’s lifesaving mission.

• Cathy Cerbo took an active lead in the Morris County DLG in 2016. Her father, Nick Cerbo, started the group after receiving a lifesaving heart transplant. Cathy kept the group active and energized throughout the pandemic and is continually developing creative ways to attract new DLG members.

Community Hero Awards were presented to Lakisha Bray of Plainfield and Rudy DiGilio of Washington.
Volunteers are key in NJSN’s community outreach and public education efforts. The Community Hero Awards are presented to individuals who have gone the extra mile in sharing our lifesaving mission.
• Lakisha Bray of Plainfield is a powerful and resilient woman who is spreading the importance of organ donation through her story of losing her daughter and sister. Lakisha’s daughter, Talea, was born with cerebral palsy and passed away just before her 21st birthday. Talea was able to save three lives with her donations. Just six months later, Lakisha’s sister Tabitha died while waiting for an intestinal transplant. Lakisha has become a powerful advocate for NJSN’s mission to honor their memories.
Are key. Rudy DiGilio of Washington, NJ, was inspired to support NJSN after donating one of his kidneys to his brother. Since becoming a volunteer in 2018, he has represented NJSN at countless community events. He has also conducted speaking presentations at local high schools, businesses, and the Liberty Science Center.

Youth Volunteer Awards were presented to Lavarra M. Hines, Jr. (LJ) of West Orange and Dhivyasree Manimaran of Piscataway.
NJSN’s youth volunteers add energy and creative ideas to our outreach projects and activities. The Youth Volunteers of the Year Awards are presented to local high school students who go the extra mile to raise awareness about organ and tissue donation in his/her school and local community.
• Lavarra M. Hines, Jr. (LJ) of West Orange has been a youth volunteer for over ten years. LJ was inspired to get involved with NJSN after his godfather passed away, and he became an organ donor. LJ created an NJSN 5K Celebration of Life team in memory of his godfather. As a student at Newark Academy, LJ has helped coordinate NJSN presentations in the school’s driver’s education courses for the past two years.
• Dhivyasree Manimaran of Piscataway has been volunteering for NJSN since middle school. She is now a key Piscataway High School’s Donate Life Club member and will serve as the club’s president in the 2024/2025 academic year. Dhivyasree has helped grow the DLC’s student membership and has been instrumental in community awareness events throughout the year.

Jim Rhatican Legacy Award presented to Richard Hayes of Monroe Township.
The Jim Rhatican Legacy Award is named in memory of longtime NJSN volunteer Jim Rhatican, a liver transplant recipient who shared his story of hope with students, teachers, and parents as part of NJSN’s High School Heroes Program. The award recognizes a volunteer who has made a powerful commitment to educating local students about the importance of registering as an organ and tissue donor.
• Richard Hayes of Monroe Township has been a key volunteer for NJ Sharing Network since 2011. As a liver transplant recipient, Richard has made powerful presentations to over 5,000 students about registering as organ and tissue donors to help save and enhance lives.

Wrapped In Love Volunteer Award was presented to Diane Borman of Summit
NJSN’s Wrapped in Love program provides beautiful handmade shawls and blankets to families who have said ‘YES’ to organ and tissue donation as a tangible expression of comfort and compassion. The Wrapped In Love Volunteer of the Year recognizes an individual who has dedicated his/her time and talent to crochet or knit creations that express love and support for our donor families.
• Diane Borman of Summit has been a Wrapped in Love volunteer since 2010. She has expressed her caring spirit and creativity by making hundreds of beautiful blankets for organ donor families. She has also shared her knowledge with other volunteers to help them create blankets and shawls.

NJSN National Impact Award presented to Sam Prince of North Caldwell
NJSN’s powerful lifesaving message travels far beyond the borders of New Jersey. The NJSN National Impact Award recognizes an individual who has delivered our lifesaving message to nationwide audiences.
• Sam Prince of North Caldwell was born with multiple congenital heart defects. For the first seven years of his life, Prince thrived as best as he could, undergoing numerous surgeries and surviving on medication. Finally, he received a lifesaving heart transplant when he was 8 years old. For more than a decade, Sam has been a powerful and well-recognized advocate for NJSN. He became internationally recognized as the New York Giants “superfan” who stole the show during the 2022 NFL Draft. Thanks to Make-A-Wish America, Sam joined NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell on stage in Las Vegas while presenting the Giants’ No. 5 overall pick, Kayon Thibodeaux. Prince won over fans worldwide with his animated personality and now viral interaction with Thibodeaux.

Community Partner Award presented to AbbVie, Inc.
Partnerships matter! NJSN’s Community Partner Award honors the invaluable contributions of a local organization or corporation that has helped produce amazing results within NJSN’s public education efforts.
• AbbVie, Inc. played an important part in NJSN’s Back-to-School Supplies Drive to benefit students in need in Camden and Paterson. AbbVie employees saw an opportunity to rally together and make a difference in the lives of local children by ensuring they have the tools they need to succeed in their educational journey. Their generous contributions included notebooks, folders, pens, pencils, calculators, and more. Rachel Schott and Valerie Phillips of AbbVie, Inc. accepted the award.

NJ Sharing Network, headquartered in New Providence, is a federally designated non-profit organization focused on saving and enhancing lives by recovering donated organs and tissue in the Garden State. NJ Sharing Network partners with an extensive network of 54 local hospitals to provide hope for the nearly 4,000 New Jersey residents currently waiting for a lifesaving organ transplant, and it is part of the national recovery system for the over 100,000 people on the national transplant waiting list. For five consecutive years, NJ Sharing Network has reported organ donation records and 3.8 million New Jerseyans are registered as organ and tissue donors, according to the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission (NJMVC). Among the top-performing OPOs in the nation, NJ Sharing Network has been recognized by NJBIZ for six consecutive years as one of the state’s ‘Best Places to Work.’

Click here to learn more, get involved, and become an organ and tissue donor in the National Donate Life Registry.

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