Sepsis Heroes Honored For Raising Awareness of Third Leading Killer of Americans

September 26, 2017

Sepsis Alliance Gala in NYC Highlights Progress in Raising National Awareness of Life-Threatening Condition and to Underscore Work Ahead to Drive Understanding

(New York City) Sepsis Alliance celebrated the contributions of five individuals and organizations from around the nation who have taken meaningful actions to broaden awareness of sepsis – a medical emergency that takes the lives of more than a quarter of a million Americans annually.

At the national non-profit’s 6th annual Sepsis Heroes gala in New York City on September 14th, Sepsis Alliance recognized the 2017 class of Sepsis Heroes, which includes a healthcare system, medical experts, educators, sepsis survivors, and advocates. The organization also announced the recipient of the Erin Kay Flatley Spirit Award, a husband and wife who have been active sepsis advocates since the passing of their five-year-old daughter to sepsis.

“In our 10 years battling sepsis, we’ve seen a dramatic increase in awareness from just 19% in 2007 to 58% today,” said Sepsis Alliance Executive Director, Thomas Heymann. “While we’re excited about this progress, we must continue educating the public about the symptoms of sepsis and helping healthcare providers to rapidly diagnose and treat sepsis as a medical emergency.”

The Sepsis Heroes event takes place annually during Sepsis Awareness Month and follows the announcement of the Sepsis Alliance awareness survey results. The 2017 Sepsis Alliance national awareness survey released August 28 reported that sepsis awareness is on the rise, with 58% of adult Americans having heard of sepsis, up from 55% in 2016. Yet, less than 1% can identify the signs and symptoms of the life-threatening condition, and one-third still believe it is contagious, according to the survey.

The 2017 Class Included:

  • Children’s Hospital Association – The voice of more than 220 children’s hospitals around the country that leads an innovative pediatric sepsis campaign implementing diagnostic and treatment protocols.
  • Andre Vovan, Hoag Hospital Presbyterian, and Providence St Joseph Health – Vovan is a critical care specialist and the creator of the Hoag Hospital and St. Joseph Hospitals system-wide sepsis campaign, and a champion of sepsis identification and treatment. His advocacy for improved sepsis outcomes and his leadership has helped the health system not only decrease sepsis mortality, but shorten hospital stays, which is better for patients and reduces healthcare costs overall.
  • Sue Sirianni and Maria Palleschi – Sue and Maria are nurse practitioners who work at Tenet’s Detroit Medical Center but in addition to their clinical work, Sue and Maria are research partners and strong community activists who are dedicated to raising sepsis awareness. They organized a 5K event in Michigan, which raised over $13,000 its first year alone. They have hosted a variety of other events to bring sepsis awareness front and center in the community.
  • Sue and Jay Stull – Sue Stull is a sepsis survivor. To save Sue’s life, doctors had to amputate both arms and legs, leaving Sue to learn how to navigate life again in a very different manner. Jay, Sue’s husband, supports Sue as they work together to raise awareness of sepsis and its aftermath.
  • Jon Glaudemans – Former managing director of Manatt Health solutions, Jon has been quietly working behind the scenes to help Sepsis Alliance move with strategic partnerships. A sepsis survivor himself, Jon didn’t realize the impact of what happened to him until he got to know Sepsis Alliance and learn more about sepsis.
  • Liz and Tony Galbo – (Erin Kay Flatley Spirit Award) Tragically lost their five-year-old daughter, Gabby, to sepsis in 2012. The couple have since raised awareness in their home state of Illinois to such a level that Gabby’s Law was enacted, requiring hospitals to implement sepsis protocols to improve early detection and treatment of sepsis.

The 2017 event raised nearly $300,000, which includes a non-restricted grant from Edwards Lifesciences of $50,000. Corporate sponsors for this year’s gala included Arena NYC, Erin Kay Flatley Memorial Foundation, the Shubert Organization, Thermo Fisher, Accelerate Diagnostics, Cheetah Medical, BD Life Sciences – Diagnostic Systems, Kennedy Health, Northwell Health, Edwards Lifesciences Foundation, bioMérieux, Inc, La Jolla Pharmaceutical, Wolters Kluwer, Merck, Presence Health, Children’s Hospital Association, T2 Biosystems, Viven Health, Cytosorbents, Health Catalyst, 410 Medical and Lynn’s Family Pharmacy.

For more information on Sepsis Heroes and honorees visit

For more information on Sepsis Alliance 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 hosts national and community events, distributes educational information, and promotes training and education on sepsis prevention and 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 1.5 million visits each year. Sepsis Alliance, a 501(c)(3) charitable organization, is a GuideStar Gold Rated Charity. For more information, please visit