Angel Awards given to PABI healthcare leaders

NEW YORK, NY – The Sarah Jane Brain Foundation announced today the recipients of this year’s Angel Awards, which will be presented November 17, 2009 at its annual Angel Awards Reception.

These prestigious awards are named after the leading experts in the world dealing with brain injury (the number one cause of death and disability for children and young adults up to age 25 in the U.S.), and are being given to some of the most prominent and accomplished members of the Pediatric Acquired Brain Injury (PABI) community, in recognition for their hard work and dedication to furthering the field.

This year’s Angel Awards:

  • The David Hovda Angel Award is presented to a clinician who exemplifies compassion and commitment for pediatric acquired brain injured children, young adults and their families
    • Angel Award Recipient: Gillian Hotz, Ph.D., Co-Director of the Pediatric Brain and Spinal Cord Injury Program, Department of Neurosurgery at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine
    • About David Hovda: Dr. Hovda is the Director of the UCLA Brain Injury Research Center and immediate past-President of the International Nuerotrauma Society; he is also an advisor to the Pentagon on brain injuries.
  • The Kristjan Ragnarsson Angel Award is presented to a leading researcher who is advancing the field of pediatric acquired brain injury
    • Angel Award Recipient: Joanne Kurtzburg, M.D., Division Chief, Duke University Pediatric Blood and Marrow Transplantation; Director, Carolinas Cord Blood Bank
    • About Kristjan Ragnarsson: Dr. Ragnarsson is a Professor and Chair of Rehabilitative Medicine at Mount Sinai School of Medicine and among many professional activities, he was Chairman of the NIH consensus Conference on Rehabilitation of Persons with Traumatic Brain Injury.
  • The Col. Jack H. Jacobs Angel Award is presented to a young veteran (under 25) who sustained a traumatic brain injury during war who upon their return home continues to show leadership and courage
    • Angel Award Recipient: Keith Zeier (was a member of the Force Reconnaissance in the Special Marine Command Unit when his armored vehicle was bombed by an IED on July 17, 2006 in Fallujah, Iraq. He sustained a Traumatic Brain Injury and a shattered leg bone but went on to recover and run marathons for charity on behalf of his fellow wounded soldiers)
    • About Jack Jacobs: Colonel Jacobs is a retired U.S. Army officer who was awarded a Medal of Honor for his historic actions during the Vietnam War and currently serves as a military analyst for MSNBC and Vice Chairman of the Congressional Medal of Honor Foundation.
  • The Sarah Jane Donohue Angel Award is presented to a child or young adult suffering from a PABI who has strived to advance the field of PABI since sustaining their injury
    • Angel Award Recipient: Zack Lystedt (suffered a life-threatening brain injury after he returned to play football at 13 years old following a hard hit earlier in the game. This spurred new legislation in the state of Washington – the strictest in the nation – regarding return-to-play law for concussion in 18-and-under school sanctioned sports)
    • About Sarah Jane Donohue: Sarah Jane is a four-year-old who suffers from traumatic brain injury due to abusive head trauma when she was just five days old; she is eponymous with The Sarah Jane Brain Foundation.
  • The Cynthia Gibbs Angel Award is presented to a parent or caregiver of a child with a PABI who has significantly advanced the field of PABI through their advocacy (special note: Nov. 17 is the 9th anniversary of Cynthia’s death)
    • Angel Award Recipient: Jennipher Dickens (mother of 3-year-old Christopher Daughtrey who was shaken at 7 weeks old by his biological father, she is the Communications Director for the Sarah Jane Brain Foundation)
    • About Cynthia Gibbs: Cynthia was shaken and killed by her baby-sitter when she was just eight months old; her legacy lives on in the daily advocacy her father, Darryl, has provided to hundreds of families across the country.

For more information please visit or call (212) 576-1180.


Tuesday, November 17, 2009
Webster Hall
125 E. 11th St., New York City

11:00 am – 3:00 pm American PABI Heroes Grand Finale
(closed to the public, open to the media)

6:00 pm – 8:00 pm Annual Angels Awards Reception
(open to the public and media – held in the Grand Ballroom)
General tickets: $150 per person / VIP tickets: $1,000 per person

8:00 pm – 10:00 pm Dinner Dialogue Discussion:
“The Integration of Military, Professional and Youth Sports programs
for the prevention, identification and treatment of brain injuries”

– For previous press release on the dinner discussion click here.
(Open to the public and media – held in the Marlin Room)
Host Committee Levels: $2,500; $5,000; $10,000; $25,000 and $50,000

8:00 pm – 12:00 am American PABI Heroes Concert for The Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund
(open to the public and media – held in the Grand Ballroom)
Concert tickets: $15 per person (100% donated to Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund)