The Sharing Network Foundation’s Hearts for Emma Partner Fund has awarded a scholarship to Mia Kolb of Warren for her passion and dedication to raising awareness of organ and tissue donation.
Kolb was presented with her scholarship award at NJ Sharing Network’s headquarters in New Providence during a ceremony with her family members in the Landscape of Life Meditation Garden.
Kolb, a 2022 graduate of Gill St. Bernard’s School, plans to attend the University of Notre Dame in the Fall.
Her powerful connection to organ and tissue donation and transplantation began nearly 14 years ago when her younger brother, Christopher, was born with a tumor that caused him to be placed on critical life support in dire need of a heart transplant.
“We were powerless to do anything except hope and pray that a donor would be found in time,” said Kolb. “Thankfully, he received the gift of life and is now a thriving teenager.”
Shortly after she turned 12 years old, Kolb began volunteering with NJ Sharing Network to educate others about the importance of organ and tissue donation.
As president of the Gill St. Bernard’s Donate Life Club, Kolb coordinated guest speaker presentations to encourage her classmates to register as organ and tissue donors.
She also organized several donor registration drives and fundraisers to support the Sharing Network Foundation.
Kolb is currently focused on earning the Girl Scout Gold Award for her outreach efforts supporting NJ Sharing Network’s life-saving mission.
“I strive to educate those in my community about the importance of organ and tissue donation so that our family’s miracle can become a reality for other families,” said Kolb.
“Registering to be an organ and tissue donor should be an easy choice, but there is an abundance of misinformation that hinders many from making this decision. Some people worry that doctors will not try to save their lives if they are registered donors. I am working to help dispel these myths. By sharing my family’s experience, I have been able to influence others to make the right choice to register as donors.”
The Sharing Network Foundation’s scholarship program provides an opportunity to recognize and award graduating high school seniors who advocate for and/or whose lives have been touched by organ and tissue donation and transplantation.
The Hearts for Emma Partner Fund, a program of the Sharing Network Foundation, was created in recognition of the successful heart transplant of Emma Rothman of Cranford.
It supports the production and distribution of educational materials and programs to help promote the importance of organ and tissue donation.
The Fund has raised nearly $80,000 since its inception and has helped educate more than 100,000 students about donation and transplantation through NJ Sharing Network’s high school outreach program.
Last year, Rothman celebrated the 10th anniversary of her life-saving heart transplant and graduated from Syracuse University with a degree in Food Studies.
Rothman remains humble and always thankful for her donor, who gave her the gift of life and made her achievements possible.
“Hearts for Emma is focused on educating present and future generations to ensure everyone understands the importance of organ and tissue donation and transplantation,” said Nancie Rothman, Emma’s mother and Founder and President of Hearts for Emma.
“Mia serves as a perfect example of what it means to take an active role in supporting these important outreach efforts.”
Scholarship applicants were measured on academic achievement, community and volunteer efforts, extracurricular activities and advocacy for organ and tissue donation.
The application process included a thorough review by Nancie Rothman and JoAnne McGovern, Recording Secretary of Hearts for Emma, as well as members of the Hearts for Emma scholarship committee and the Sharing Network Foundation’s Board of Trustees.
“We are grateful for the generous support of the Hearts for Emma Partner Fund and their ongoing commitment to rewarding students who share a commitment to our life-saving mission,” said Amanda Tibok, Interim Executive Director, Sharing Network Foundation.
“We know that Mia and all of our scholarship recipients will continue as strong leaders educating others about donation and transplantation throughout their college years and beyond.”
According to United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS), there are over 100,000 Americans – nearly 4,000 of whom live in New Jersey – waiting for a life-saving transplant.
Just one organ and tissue donor can save eight lives and enhance the lives of over 75 people.
To learn more, get involved and register as an organ and tissue donor, visit www.NJSharingNetwork.org.
Photo Courtesy of NJ Sharing Network