PALMA CEIA — Two longtime supporters of organ donation and transplant will be honored with an award to be named for them.
Bill and Martha Minahan, who reside in Hunter's Green in New Tampa, will be the first recipients of the Bill & Martha Minahan Lifetime Achievement Award. It will be presented Sept. 26 at a banquet at Palma Ceia Golf & Country Club, sponsored by the National Organization for Transplant Enlightenment.
N.O.T.E.'s mission is to promote the need for organ and tissue donation through public awareness and education, as well as to provide information on social, emotional and financial support opportunities to transplant recipients, caregivers and those awaiting transplantation.
Bill Minahan played football at the University of Tampa and coached high school football in Tampa for 38 years, including 28 at Jesuit High School.
He received a kidney transplant in March 1986. Since then, he and his wife, a former a math teacher and guidance counselor, have advocated for organ and tissue donation. They have shared their story throughout the Tampa Bay area and across the country at speaking engagements and events
“We are very, very honored with this,” Martha Minahan said. “N.O.T.E. has done so many wonderful things for so many people. They are deeply caring.”
Martha Minahan said that the kidney her husband received is from the same donor whose heart was used for Emily Ortiz, the first successful female heart transplant in the state of Florida
“And she lasted 15 years; Bill has gotten 27 1/2 out of the kidney,” she added. “Every day we pray for all the donors.”
In addition, N.O.T.E. also will honor others for their commitment. Those recipients and their awards include:
* Victor Bowers: Thomas Thrasher Award of Excellence. A physician, Bowers is the executive director of abdominal transplantation at Tampa General Hospital; medical director of LifeLink of Florida; and a member of the LifeLink Foundation Board of Governors and the LifeLink Legacy Fund Board of Directors. (The award is named for the first successful heart transplant recipient in the state of Florida and the founder of N.O.T.E.)
* Liz Lehr: N.O.T.E. Award of Excellence. She is the senior vice president/executive director of LifeLink of Florida, overseeing organ and tissue recovery efforts in west and southwest Florida. She oversees a staff of almost 50 clinical, professional education and administrative members
* Maria Capelo-Fine: Emily Ortiz Volunteer of the Year Award. Since losing her son, Capelo-Fine has been dedicated to helping transplant patients and their families. She has used her beauty salon as a base for six successful fundraisers.
* Brown Engineering & Consulting: N.O.T.E. Corporate Citizen of the Year Award. Bill and Sheri Brown supported N.O.T.E.'s mission to promote organ and tissue donation through public awareness and education, and to provide information on transplant recipients, those awaiting transplantation and the families.
The Eighth Annual Thomas Thrasher Award Banquet, sponsored by National Organization for Transplant Enlightenment, is from 6 to 9 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 26, at Palma Ceia Golf & Country Club, 1601 S. MacDill Ave. Tickets are $75 a person; $560 for a table of eight; $700 for a table for 10. For information and reservations, call (813) 962-6250 or email to [email protected]