Larry Hughes Receives Donate Life Champion Award

Posted December 19, 2012 in News Category
2012-12-19ncaabasketballeasternillinoisvssaintlouis0261-jm2Larry Hughes, left, received the Donate Life Champion Award from Bob Spencer, right.

Former Saint Louis University basketball standout Larry Hughes received a Donate Life Champion award from Mid-America Transplant Services (MTS) and Donate Life America on Wednesday at halftime of the Billiken’s men’s basketball game against Eastern Illinois.

Donate Life America worked with state affiliates nationwide to present more than 50 Donate Life Champion awards to well-known athletes, teams and other role models within the sports community who have demonstrated remarkable support for organ, eye and tissue donation. As part of a national initiative, the Donate Life Champion awards are being given to select members of the athletic community from across the country who have inspired others to give the gifts of life, sight and mobility. National Donate Life Champions include pro-golfer Erik Compton; NFL analyst and retired quarterback Boomer Esiason; Wake Forest University’s head baseball coach, Tom Walter; the Arizona Diamondbacks; and San Francisco Giants coach Mark Gardner.

Visit our photo gallery for more photos from Wednesday’s game at Saint Louis University 

Larry received the award because he has supported organ and tissue donation through activities with The Larry Hughes Foundation. Thanks to the efforts of The Larry Hughes Foundation (LHF), many people have been inspired to join the organ and tissue donor registry. 

In addition to the halftime ceremony, MTS representatives signed up fans to the organ and tissue donor registry. Fans were  encouraged to take photos in front of a Donate Life-themed backdrop and upload the photos to social outlets, tagging Donate Life Missouri in posts to Facebook and Twitter.

Larry and his mother Vanessa created LHF in August 2000, while he was in the beginnings of a 12-year NBA career. LHF provides families with children who are less fortunate the necessary resources and support to dream big and reach for higher goals. While named after Larry, the idea came about on behalf of his younger brother, Justin, who was born with a heart defect and received a heart transplant at age 11. Justin Hughes was a donor when he passed away in May 2006 at the age of 20. LHF believes no child should go without medical attention or medication when dealing with a life-threatening illness. 

Justin Hughes’ donor was Dana Spencer, whose parents presented the award to Larry Hughes on behalf of MTS during a halftime, on-court ceremony. Dana Spencer was 16-years-old when she died in a tragic car accident less than a mile from her home. Her parents, Bob and Pattie, gave the Gift of Life to several individuals waiting for a lifesaving organ transplant.

Through LHF, Larry started the “I Promise” campaign, to encourage organ and tissue donation. He also hosts the Dunk’n for Donors registry drive and a “Roaring Twenties Casino Night” to support organ and tissue donation. In addition, LHF is committed to helping the St. Louis community.

Fans of Larry are encouraged to join the organ and tissue donor registry in his honor, to become known as a FanForLife.  Each FanForLife has the potential to save up to 8 lives through organ donation, and improve the quality of life for up to 50 people through eye and tissue donation. To join the organ and tissue donor registry, visit

Larry was nominated by MTS, which has partnered with The Larry Hughes Foundation for numerous events. MTS has served as the regional organ and tissue procurement organization for Missouri, southern Illinois and northeastern Arkansas for 38 years. In addition to recovering organs and tissue for transplant, MTS provides comprehensive services to donor families, offers a wide variety of educational programs to schools, and partners with our community. With a mission to save lives through excellence in organ and tissue donation, MTS has been at the forefront of both enhancing the quality of organs and tissue for transplant as well as increasing awareness of donation in the communities it serves. The organization is a two-time Missouri Quality Award Recipient (2008 & 2010). 


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