Sepsis Alliance Celebrates 5th Annual Sepsis Heroes Gala as New York City Declares Sepsis Awareness Day

September 16, 2016

Sepsis Alliance’s 5th Annual Gala Lauded Achievements in Sepsis Awareness, While Celebrating the Efforts of Individuals and Organizations Fighting to Stop Sepsis as a Global Menace

(New York City – September 16, 2016) Last night, Sepsis Alliance recognized six Sepsis Heroes, including individuals and organizations from across the country who have made a difference in shining the spotlight on sepsis.

Sepsis is the body’s overwhelming and life-threatening response to infection. Impacting an estimated 258,000 Americans every year, sepsis can often lead to tissue damage, organ failure, and death if not detected and treated immediately.

In a first for Sepsis Alliance, tickets to the gala at ARENA Event Space in New York City had sold out weeks before the Sepsis Heroes even took to the stage.  The 2016 Sepsis Heroes recognized for their efforts included:

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.

Begin Again Foundation (Erin Kay Flatley Spirit Award) – National organization helping survivors of sepsis, toxic shock syndrome, and ARDS (acute respiratory distress syndrome) by providing critical financial assistance.

In between the inspiring stories shared among attendees, guests and honorees frequently made mention of the progress being made on the sepsis awareness front. Only weeks before, Sepsis Alliance announced an increase in awareness of sepsis among American adults of nearly 25%, with over half of participants in the Sepsis Alliance Annual Survey  confirming that they had heard of sepsis. At Sepsis Heroes, presenters made frequent mention of the work that still needed to be done, as the nation transitions from sepsis awareness to sepsis recognition, sepsis treatment and, one day, sepsis elimination.

“As tonight illustrated, we are at a crossroads in the fight against sepsis,” noted Thomas Heymann, Executive Director of Sepsis Alliance. “Awareness levels are increasing, and more people are discussing sepsis than ever before. These Sepsis Heroes are doing their part to ensure we reach that remaining 45% of American adults who have no idea what sepsis is, how to treat it, or the devastating killer that it can become within a matter of minutes. We have more work to do, and the army of individuals, organizations, and policymakers spreading the word about sepsis is building momentum and making their voices heard.”

During the gala, Sepsis Alliance received a proclamation from New York City dedicating September 15 as Sepsis Awareness Day. The proclamation, advanced by Councilman Dan Garodnick, underscored the need in New York City and elsewhere across the globe to increase awareness of sepsis. The more people are saying “sepsis,” the more lives we can save together.

“We are truly grateful to our Sepsis Heroes and attendees who made this evening such an incredible success,” added Heymann. “The winds are in the sails of the movement to stop sepsis, and we cannot wait to see what 2017 has in store.”

While Sepsis Heroes was taking place, the Sepsis Victim Counter at continued ticking along. The Sepsis Victim Counter tracks the number of global victims of sepsis since the start of Sepsis Awareness Month on September 1, 2016. Every half hour, another 1,000 victims are added to the counter. By the time the house lights came up at Sepsis Heroes at 10pm Eastern, the Sepsis Victim Counter stood at over 752,000 victims.

To review the current sepsis victim counter, and to learn more about tonight’s Sepsis Heroes, please visit:

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