Sepsis Alliance Announces 2016 Sepsis Heroes and Recipient of the First Erin Kay Flatley Spirit Award

June 9, 2016

Sepsis Alliance, the nation’s leading patient advocacy group, has announced the honorees for the fifth annual Sepsis Heroes gala. The 2016 class of Sepsis Heroes includes a healthcare system, medical experts, educators, sepsis survivors, and individuals making a difference in raising awareness of sepsis. The organization has also announced the first recipient of the Erin Kay Flatley Spirit Award, a sepsis survivor who is making a direct impact in the lives of sepsis survivors and their families.

New York, New York – June 9, 2016 – Sepsis Alliance, the nation’s leading patient advocacy group dedicated to raising sepsis awareness, has announced its 2016 Sepsis Heroes. This year’s class of Sepsis Heroes includes:

  • Martin Doerfler, MD – Associate Chief Medical Officer at Northwell Health and a leading advocate for sepsis awareness and education.
  • Lisa Bartlett (Davis) – Sepsis advocate who started community awareness events in Illinois and Colorado after the death of her husband to sepsis.
  • Tom Ahrens, PhD – Nurse educator and leader in educating nurses on sepsis best practices.
  • Hillary Spangler – Sepsis survivor who has gone on to medical school and is an advocate for sepsis education and awareness.
  • Kennedy Health – Philadelphia-area hospital system that has demonstrated a system-wide commitment to improving treatment and outcomes from sepsis.

New for 2016, the Sepsis Heroes gala will feature a presentation of the Erin Kay Flatley Spirit Award. Given in memory of Erin Kay Flatley, a 23-year-old aspiring teacher who died unnecessarily of sepsis after a routine surgery, this year’s Spirit Award recipient is Audrey Leishman and the Begin Again Foundation. Audrey started the Begin Again Foundation in 2015 following her survival from sepsis. The foundation provides financial support to families struggling from their loss or disability from sepsis, acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), or toxic shock syndrome (TSS).

These individuals and organizations will be recognized in New York City at the Sepsis Heroes gala on September 15, 2016. The annual event, now in its fifth year, is the centerpiece of Sepsis Awareness Month, bringing together sepsis survivors, family members, patient advocates, healthcare professionals, policy makers, and members of industry who have been instrumental in raising awareness of sepsis as a medical emergency.

“This year’s Heroes selection process introduced us to so many people and the critical work they perform,” said Thomas Heymann, Executive Director of Sepsis Alliance. “From healthcare professionals to survivors and family members of those who have been stricken by sepsis, their dedication to raising sepsis awareness and helping save others is unparalleled. We wish we could give an award to everyone, but are truly excited to welcome these honorees as our newest Sepsis Heroes.”

Previous Sepsis Heroes include Northwell Health System, Every Mother Counts, New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo, Intermountain Healthcare, author David Goldhill, GE Healthcare, and official NASCAR artist and sepsis survivor, Sam Bass. Tickets for Sepsis Heroes are now on sale, with early bird pricing available. The gala will feature hors d’oeuvres, dinner, and cocktails throughout the evening. VIP ticketholders include special access to a pre-event reception featuring medical professionals, survivors, past Sepsis Heroes, and Sepsis Alliance board members and staff.

Corporate sponsors for this year’s gala include Arena NYC, Leading BioSciences, Tenax Therapeutics, bioMérieux, Merck, Wolters Kluwer, the Erin Kay Flatley Foundation, Thermo Fisher, CytoSorbents, Edwards Lifesciences Foundation, Presence Health, EMC and CDI.

For tickets and sponsorship information, please call (619) 232-0300 or visit the official Sepsis Heroes website

About Sepsis Alliance

Sepsis Alliance is the leading nonprofit patient advocacy organization in North America. Sepsis Alliance’s mission is to save lives by raising awareness of sepsis as a medical emergency. The organization works with multiple partners to host national and local community events, distribute educational information, and promote training and education on sepsis prevention, early recognition, and treatment. Sepsis Alliance also supports sepsis survivors and family members with information about sepsis and post sepsis syndrome, as well as a Faces of Sepsis community forum. The website receives more than 1 million visits each year. Sepsis Alliance, a 501(c)(3) charitable organization, is a GuideStar Gold Rated Charity. For more information, please visit