High School Students & Sepsis Survivor Raise Sepsis Awareness Together

August 6, 2019

Sepsis Alliance Announces Kentucky FCCLA and sepsis survivor Darrell Raikes as the 2019 Erin Kay Flatley Spirit Award Winners


The 2019 Erin Kay Flatley Award Winners will be honored at the 8th Annual Sepsis Heroes gala on September 12, 2019, in New York City.

Erin Kay Flatley Spirit Award Darrell Raikers Erin Kay Flatley Spirit Award KY FCCLA

Sepsis Alliance, the nation’s leading sepsis organization, today named Kentucky Family, Career and Community Leaders of American (FCCLA), and sepsis survivor Darrell Raikes as the 2019 Erin Kay Flatley Spirit Award winners. Raikes and Kentucky FCCLA are jointly honored for raising awareness of sepsis in the state of Kentucky. Sepsis is the body’s life-threatening response to infection that takes a life every two minutes in the United States.

In 2017, not long after surviving sepsis and spending more than a month in the intensive care unit (ICU), Raikes approached Kentucky FCCLA and asked the organization of passionate high school students to help raise sepsis awareness. The students of Kentucky FCCLA took on the challenge. Working with Darrell, they started the FCCLA Sepsis Awareness state-wide campaign to educate their fellow young adults about sepsis and to support Sepsis Alliance.

Through this campaign, Kentucky FCCLA students and Raikes, have given 100 sepsis presentations to thousands of students throughout Kentucky. They have also raised over $20,000 benefiting Sepsis Alliance for sepsis awareness and education.

“On behalf of the entire Kentucky FCCLA membership, it is an honor to receive the Erin Kay Flatley Spirit Award from Sepsis Alliance,” said Erin Hasler, Vice President of Community Services, a senior at Mason County High School in Maysville, KY. “It was amazing to know we were part of something so much bigger than ourselves and that by raising awareness of the signs and symptoms of sepsis we were helping save lives. When people can recognize the warning signs of sepsis they can get seek medical attention right away and get the urgent lifesaving treatment they need”

About 1.7 million people are diagnosed with sepsis annually in the United States. Sepsis is the leading cause of deaths in the nation’s hospitals, taking an estimated 270,000 lives each year. Of those who survive, almost 60% experience worsened mental and/or physical function. Raikes is one of these survivors.

“I’m humbled to receive the Erin Kay Flatley Spirit award with Kentucky FCCLA,” said Raikes, who volunteers weekly at the UK HealthCare ICU department, visiting and counseling critically ill patients. He also travels the country sharing his experience. “Surviving sepsis has given my life a new purpose; to spread sepsis awareness and help my fellow survivors.”

The Erin Kay Flatley Spirit Award recognizes outstanding dedication, sacrifices, and contributions to improving the care and lives of sepsis patients. Erin Kay Flatley, an aspiring school teacher, died suddenly of sepsis when she was 23 years old. In Erin’s honor, her father and Sepsis Alliance founder Carl Flatley, DDS, MSD, created the Erin Kay Flatley Spirit Award.

“Erin had a strong desire to give back to society, especially to children. I saw that same desire in the young FCCLA students and Darrell when I spoke in Kentucky,” said Dr. Flatley. “These young adults are helping to keep Erin’s spirit alive. Most important is their desire to be successful in all phases of their lives and give back to others.”

Dr. Flatley will present Raikes and Reeca G. Carver, Kentucky FCCLA State Advisor, with the Erin Kay Flatley Spirit Award at the 8th Annual Sepsis Heroes gala on September 12, 2019, in New York City.

Past Erin Kay Flatley Spirit Award winners include America’s Got Talent runner-up Angelica Hale, sepsis awareness advocates Liz and Tony Galbo, and the Begin Again Foundation.

To learn more about the Erin Kay Flatley Spirit Award and past award winners please visit www.sepsis.org/about/erins-campaign-for-kids/. If you are interested in purchasing tickets to the 8th Annual Sepsis Heroes gala, please visit www.SepsisHeroes.org.

About Sepsis Alliance

Sepsis Alliance is the leading sepsis organization in the U.S., working in all 50 states to save lives and reduce suffering by raising awareness of sepsis as a medical emergency. In 2011, Sepsis Alliance designated September as Sepsis Awareness Month to bring healthcare professionals and community members together in the fight against sepsis. In 2018, Sepsis Alliance created the award-winning national campaign, It’s About T.I.M.E.TM, to educate the public about the signs and symptoms of sepsis and to highlight the urgent need to seek treatment when symptoms are recognized. Sepsis Alliance gives a voice to the millions of people who have been touched by sepsis – to the survivors, and the friends and family members of those who have survived or who have died. Since 2007, sepsis awareness in the U.S. has risen from 19% to 65%. Sepsis Alliance is a GuideStar Platinum Rated charity. For more information, please visit www.sepsis.org. Connect with us on Facebook and Twitter at @SepsisAlliance.

Media Contact

Angelica Estrada