Director of Student Health Services Cora Bullard and Chancellor Robin Gary Cummings of UNC Pembroke recently received the Donate Life North Carolina Employer of Excellence award for their efforts to accommodate an employee, Megan Sherod, while donating a kidney to save the life of one of her best friends.
Donate Life North Carolina is a collaborative group of organizations that promote eye, organ and tissue donation. Working together, the member organizations are directly involved in supporting donor families and facilitating organ, eye and tissue transplants across the state.
April was Donate Life Month through the organization where the entire month is filled with local, regional and national activities to help encourage Americans to register as organ, eye and tissue donors and to celebrate those that have saved lives through the gift of donation. Executive Director of Donate Life NC Deanna Mitchell traveled to UNC Pembroke to present the award during this time.
Bullard and Cummings were nominated by the Sherod who donated a kidney in the summer of 2017. The university supported Sherod during this time by providing flexibility with taking leave as needed during the donation process. The university also ensured the employee was given the special leave offered by the State of North Carolina to employees who donate an organ.
“Cora supported me during months that required travel to New York for testing, days when I received bad news, and the time I needed to recover from surgery. My surgery was rescheduled last minute two times and not once did Cora make me feel like I was burdening her or the department. Her encouragement and backing of my decisions were pivotal factors in enabling me to be a living donor,” explained Sherod.
The university was noted as receiving this award for going above and beyond the legal requirements in supporting an employee who was a living kidney donor. For many living donors, the worry of missed work or expenses is incredibly stressful and prevents them from focusing on their health.
“It is a wonderful thing when someone is willing to give another person the gift of life through organ donation or through blood and bone marrow donation. I am honored and thankful for being recognized with this award, and tremendously proud of Megan for braving this process to save a life,” said Bullard.