MORA Hosts 9th Annual Spero Awards

July 1, 2022

Above: Susan Russell of Singing River Health Systems received MORA’s Award of Distinction

Mississippi Organ Recovery Agency (MORA) hosted its ninth Annual Spero Awards on Thursday, June 30, 2022 at the Sheraton Flowood Refuge Hotel and Conference Center. The awards ceremony recognizes hospital partners, medical professionals, and community partners who help make the Donate Life mission possible. The keynote speaker for this year’s event was Brooke Lillie, a two-time recipient who received a heart at 13 months and a kidney donated by her husband 20 years later.  

Susan Russell of Singing River Health Systems received the agency’s Award of Distinction, an award given to those that have long been proponents of donation in Mississippi and worked to promote the gift of life throughout their careers.   

A total of 14 Spero Awards were presented to individuals and organizations from areas throughout the state. The word Spero is Latin for “I hope.” The title was chosen to reflect the hope that organ and tissue donation brings to those in need of a lifesaving organ or a life healing tissue transplant.  

2022 Spero Award recipients: 

  • Most Supportive Ancillary or Healthcare Staff – Heather Bowen, North Mississippi Medical Center 
  • Nurse Champion of the Year – Emily Wade, University of Mississippi Medical Center 
  • Advanced Practice Nurse or Nurse Manager of the Year – Carrie Clark, St. Dominic Hospital 
  • Physician Champion of the Year – Dr. Joseph Doherty, University of Mississippi Medical Center 
  • Hospital Leadership of the Year Award – Bryan Buckley, Forrest General Hospital 
  • Hospital Most Supportive of Tissue Donation – Highland Community Hospital 
  • Most Supportive Organ & Tissue Hospital – North Mississippi Medical Center 
  • Most Supportive Mortuary Services – Greater Jackson Mortuary Service 
  • Most Supportive Coroner – Carolyn Green, Lee County Coroner 
  • Volunteer of the Year – Jennifer Holmes, Biloxi 
  • Donation Advocate of the Year – Kevin Amos 
  • Most Supportive Care Team – Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU), University of Mississippi Medical Center  
  • Storyteller Award – Brandi McGill, WLOX-TV, Biloxi 
  • Award of Distinction – Susan Russell, Singing River Health Systems (featured in the photo above)

Mississippi Lions Eye Bank (MLEB) presented the Gift of Sight Award to the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson and the Partners in Vision Award to Ocean Springs Hospital, for their work in helping to facilitate sight saving corneal transplants.  

A new patient is added to the national transplant waiting list every 9 minutes and an average of 17 people die each day awaiting a lifesaving transplant that never comes. Currently there are nearly 1,300 Mississippians on the 100,000+ national organ transplant waiting list with over 1,200 of those waiting on a kidney transplant. MORA wants everyone to know one organ donor can save eight lives and one tissue donor can save or improve the lives of 75 recipients or more. Join the one million Mississippians who are currently on the Mississippi Donor Registry by registering as an organ, eye, and tissue donor at