As we near the end of 2020, we would like to wish you a Happy New Year and we would like to recognize each of our outstanding nominees for Volunteer of the Year! These nominees were each recognized in a separate quarter for 2020, selected by VHF staff for their achievements and dedication in service toward the mission of the organization. The winner was selected by the VHF Executive Committee of the Board of Directors. Congratulations to all of our nominees – your service was truly appreciated during such an unprecedented year!
Krista Davidson is a constituent of VHF and has been actively involved with VHF since 2015. She is the co-chair of the VHF/HACA Advocacy Committee, has volunteered her time creating and facilitating numerous advocacy education sessions, was elected to HFA’s inaugural Advocacy Leadership Council, and is very involved in fundraising for the VHF Unite for Bleeding Disorders Walk on the top team Star City Bleeders. At the VHF/HACA Virtual Advocacy Chat in April, Krista shared her personal story of working in a hospital setting during this time of COVID-19, and her story was also shared in the May 2020 VHF e-newsletter.
“There are billions of Covid-19 stories throughout the world and my experience seems like a raindrop in a rainstorm. I have been a nurse for 19 short years. My current specialty is Palliative Care. I take care of patients with serious illness needing symptom management, at end of life. It’s not known when we’re going to end up on the other side of this and despite the grim picture, I am hopeful too. As much negativity as we see, there is a plethora of positivity to help counteract it. The human connection is inspiring. Our community is rallying around us every day. We are all supporting each other and I know we will get ourselves put back together, piece by piece. We may not look the same when we come out of this, but I look forward to whatever our new normal will be.”
Monika Eiden, Global HR Director, AMF Bakery Systems, is a community member and active volunteer with the chapter as a member of the Board of Directors. Monika has been involved with VHF in a leadership role for eight years, and constantly finds new ways to contribute to the success of the organization with a strong focus on the needs of the community.
“My involvement with Virginia Hemophilia Foundation began in 2012 almost exactly 4 years after my brother Lukasz, who had severe Hemophilia A, died from a brain bleed (third in his lifetime). He was 23 years old. His death shattered my world and left a big hole in my heart. Once I went through all stages of grief, I wanted to do something meaningful to honor Lukasz’s memory and carry on his legacy. That is when I met Kelly Waters and VHF became a part of my life.”
Marquita has been a constituent of VHF since her son Matthew, now 13, was diagnosed with Severe Hemophilia Factor 8 deficiency with an inhibitor. She has been an active volunteer for all three years of the Unite Walk program and as a committee member for the last two years. Marquita says, “I volunteer with VHF, because it is one way in which I can give back to my community. The VHF and its participants are my community. It is a community of blood brothers and blood sisters.”
The Unite Walk in 2020 was her walk team’s best year ever, raising $4,598 for the chapter along with co-Captain Krista Davidson. Marquita was invited and attended the 2019 National Hemophilia Foundation Unite Walk Rally as a volunteer for VHF, traveling to San Antonio with Development Director Megan Schowengerdt and learning best practices from other chapters from all over the country who are running Unite Walk programs.
And a special congratulations to our winner for Volunteer of the Year: Tory Gilliam
Tory Gilliam serves as VHF Board Secretary and is serving his second year on the Board of Directors. Tory works as Senior Event Producer at MOSAIC Catering for his professional job. He also is a member of three VHF committees: Scholarship, Governance and the Red Tie Fundraiser and makes many valuable contributions in those roles.
“I became involved with the hemophilia community through working for a local chapter in Florida after college. Throughout my time there, I was blown away by how community-focused the organization was and how much support was derived from the fellowship of the families of those affected. From my time as a chapter employee, I learned so much about hemophilia and other bleeding disorders and how much impact they have on the family as a whole. And after meeting the staff and other volunteers, I could tell that VHF has a team of amazing leaders to execute the mission, always keeping patients, their families and the community at the center of their work. Giving back through non-profit work is something that I’ve always been passionate about. Throughout my career in the event world, I’ve worked with a variety of non-profit organizations. With VHF, I’ve been able to see firsthand, the impact of fundraisers, advocacy activities and volunteer efforts.”