At our inaugural Annual Stakeholders Meeting on November 11, 2020, we were proud to announce the winners of our 2020 awards. The nominees in the following four categories were chosen by ACHA staff and board members. Once all nominees were submitted, the ACHA Emeritus Board and two Senior Peer Mentors reviewed the nominations and chose the winner for each category.
Congratulations to all of the winners and nominees!
Fundraiser of the Year Award: Susan Timmins
This award is presented to a member of the CHD community who has demonstrated exceptional commitment and success in generating revenue for ACHA.
Susan has been a longtime supporter of ACHA. For the past four years, Susan has done her own personal Walk each February near her home on Ana Maria Island to raise awareness of Heart Month and raise funds for ACHA. This past February, to help promote the nearly 1 in 100 individuals living with a congenital heart defect, she committed to walking a total of 100 miles between February 1 and Valentine’s Day. She asked family and friends to track her efforts and make financial donations in support her efforts. Dozens and dozens of donations were made to Susan’s Walk for 1 in 100 effort, and when all was said and done, she raised more than $10,200 through her 2020 campaign. Combined with her efforts from the prior three years, Susan’s personal Walks have now raised more than $35,000 for ACHA. In fact, it was Susan’s success that was the inspiration for ACHA’s new ACHA Your Way campaign that launched in 2020.
Rookie of the Year Award: The Stenzel Family
This award is presented to a member of the CHD community who has joined ACHA in the past calendar year and who has demonstrated exceptional enthusiasm and commitment to the CHD community on the local, regional or national level.
In 2020, members of the Stenzel family decided to organize a new fundraising event in memory of Jerry Stenzel. Jerry had been born 52 years earlier with tricuspid atresia, and after multiple surgeries as a child went on to live a full life with his wife of 30 years, Peggy, and their two daughters, Nicole and Megan. Along with Jerry’s sister, Terri Elsbernd, the family organized a 20-mile bike ride called Jerry’s Jamboree for early October; however, they ultimately chose to not bring people together due to COVID. They still provided “swag bags” with ACHA information to participants and encouraged people to ride their bikes with immediate family and friends on the day the event was supposed to take place. In its first year, Jerry’s Jamboree raised an amazing $7,074, easily surpassing their original goal of $5,000.
Influencer of the Year Award: Dr. Fred Wu
This award is presented to a member of CHD community who has gone above and beyond to spread the word about CHD and the need for lifelong care—an outreach aficionado. Examples of award-worthy and commendable actions are being a go-to and trusted source of information on social media networks, tangibly increasing public awareness in your local community, or bringing about positive change through legislative or patient advocacy.
With over 6,800 Twitter followers, Dr. Fred Wu is a prominent figure in the ACHD community on Twitter. He uses his platform to promote reliable health information, important historical events, contributions, and figures within the CHD community, and engage with ACHD patients throughout the country. Witnessing the interactions on and with his Twitter page, it is clear he is not only seen an expert in ACHD medicine, but also as a beloved, caring, and approachable figure to not only his patients, but also members of the CHD community around the country.
Organizational Partner of the Year Award: Medtronic
This award is presented to a business, corporation, institution or fellow non-profit entity that has joined forces with ACHA and fully embraced our mission of improving and extending the lives of those born with CHD.
A corporate partner of ACHA’s since 2016, Medtronic has funded numerous projects, but one of their primary objectives has been to help ACHA find those lost to care and ensure they are educated on their CHD and therapeutic options. They have funded several national awareness campaigns and continued to support ACHA’s National Conference. Most recently, we approached them with the idea of funding an impact video, intended to tell the story of CHD and ACHA’s impact in the field. They graciously agreed and filming took place throughout 2020. We will showcase this video at our National Conference in July 2021 and share it at events and with the general public and donors for years to come.