UNC Transplant Center to Receive Medal of Honor

UNC Comprehensive Transplant Center to receive Medal of Honor for Organ Donation from U.S. Department of Health & Human Services


WHO:  Speakers include Gary Park, president of UNC Hospitals, who will be accepting the Medal of Honor; Rep. Dale Folwell; Dr. Ronald Falk; Dr. Stanley Mandel; and Mr. and Mrs. Emmitt Ray, the parents of Jason Ray, former UNC Ramses mascot who became an organ donor after he was killed in a car accident two years ago.


WHAT:  Acceptance of the Medal of Honor for Organ Donation from the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, which will take place at the UNC Comprehensive Transplant Center’s 40 Years of Organ Transplant Celebration; Mr. and Mrs. Emmitt Ray will also speak about the Jason Kendall Ray Foundation


WHEN: Ceremony will take place from 10 a.m. to 10:30 a.m., Monday, April 20; vendors will be present from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.


WHERE:  N.C. Children’s Hospital Lobby, 101 Manning Drive, Chapel Hill, N.C., 27514


BACKGROUND INFO:  The Medal of Honor for Organ Donation is awarded to hospitals nationally for achieving and sustaining a donation rate of 75 percent or more of eligible donors.  This is the first year UNC Hospitals has received the Medal of Honor, with a 77 percent organ conversion rate.



  • Scott Johnson: Wilmington-area resident who completed an Ironman triathlon after receiving a double-lung transplant at UNC Hospitals.
  • James Watson: had a liver transplant in 2006 and was instrumental in putting together the first golf tournament to benefit the Jason Ray Fund.
  • Tiffany Christensen: The longest-living, second-time lung transplant recipient.  She has written a book titled Sick Girl Speaks and travels around the country speaking about patient care.
  • Matthew Burdick: A 2008 altruistic donor who has raised thousands of dollars for charities through running in marathons.
  • Martha “Missy” Simpson: An altruistic donor who is a local psychiatrist who works with chronic pain and oncology patients and volunteers with Project Compassion.


PARKING:  Media are welcome to use valet parking service or may park in the Dogwood Deck across the street from UNC Hospitals.  Media bringing vans should contact us in advance to make arrangements. 


Media contacts:  Tom Maltais, 919-966-0257, tmaltais@unch.unc.edu or Stephanie Crayton, 919-966-2860, scrayton@unch.unc.edu.