The bleeding disorders community has been built on the tireless advocacy work of volunteers. Today, we recognize two gentlemen and Blood Brothers who were mentors, friends, and inspiring advocates. We were honored to recognize Ellis Sulser and John Reed during our recent Symposium.
The Ron Niederman Humanitarian Award recognizes extraordinary and inspirational service to the national or international community via one’s professional work or volunteer service.
Ron was a New Jersey native who had hemophilia and contracted HIV from the contaminated blood supply in the 1980s. He was an active member of the Hemophilia Association of New Jersey and a champion in the fight to make America’s blood supply safe for all. His pursuit of legal redress for the damage, suffering and death of community members was legendary. He was always willing and available to provide service and assistance to those in need.
The 2017 awardee was actually a close friend of Ron Niederman. He was a man of great service and one of the legends of our history. Ellis Sulser was truly one of the greats of the bleeding disorders community. He was one of HFA’s founding members, serving on our board and acting as our first Treasurer. He knew how to pull resources and energy together when needed and was responsible for enlisting the help of several DECA high school students in Virginia in the lobbying effort to pass Ricky Ray. These DECA student leaders spent several years working with us to help support the Ricky Ray Bill.
Ellis was also one of the pioneers in bringing together our Blood Brothers, gathering hemophilia brothers for fishing trips. He was a man of faith who dedicated his life to helping improve the lives of those who do not clot. We are so saddened that last summer he passed away before he could receive this award in person.
The Charles Stanley Hamilton Legacy Award honors extraordinary lifetime service that encompasses national volunteerism, professionalism, and leadership.
Charles was a Louisiana native who suffered from severe hemophilia A. Charles was the son of the late Dr. Charles “Chuck” Hamilton, a pediatrician and physician surveyor for the Joint Commission, and husband of Jan Hamilton, one of the founders of HFA and a long-term Executive Director. It was Charles’s hemophilia that led to his greatest legacy. His parents dedicated their lives and service to those with hemophilia and later those with co-infections. HFA would not have existed nor thrived in the early years without the support and sacrifice of Jan and Chuck Hamilton whose untiring work on behalf of the community were profound. Their service to the community encompassed medicine, advocacy, and the justice system. Sadly but with great gratitude and thanksgiving, HFA Honors Charles Stanley Hamilton with its lifetime service award in his name.
The 2017 awardee was a resilient champion and a committed advocate. John Reed was also an HFA supporter from the founding days of our organization. As a pharmacist and community member, this dearly loved HFA member was a long-standing member of HFA’s medical advisors, a chair of Blood Brotherhood and Blood Brotherhood Chat Site during the last 10 years, a board member again the last few years. He lived with hemophilia, HIV and HCV but always underplayed any troubles he was having in that true, Oklahoma, stiff upper lip and carry on style he was raised with. Those who attended his memorial service report that it was a perfect tribute to his life, filled with family, friends and a remembrance of the many roles he’d played in life. Music and laughter was alive in the church and his love of our bleeding disorders community rang throughout the service. He was such a gracious gentleman, a good man, a humble, loyal and dedicated servant leader, and a true community friend and family. He made a difference in so very many lives.