Philanthropist Kirk Landon Honored with Miami Transplant Institute’s 2011 Humanitarian Award

One of South Florida’s premier philanthropists and community supporters, R. Kirk Landon, was honored Wednesday evening as the second recipient of the Miami Transplant Institute’s Humanitarian Award.

The award, which was first presented last year to kidney transplant recipient and former Miami Heat star Alonzo Mourning, was established to recognize individuals who show exceptional generosity, volunteerism, and leadership to further the public understanding of and support for transplantation.

“In the end, you can leave your money to the government, your children, or charity,” Landon said, “and there is only so much you can leave to your children. The Miami Transplant Institute is something we need here in South Florida. It deserves support.”

Mr. Landon parlayed his success in the world of business and banking into a commitment to improving the South Florida community through his support of the arts, education, and humanitarian interests. He is a long-time friend of the University and the Miller School through his generosity to the School of Nursing and Health Studies and the Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center. Though not a transplant recipient himself, he knows that the treatment offered and research pursued at the Miami Transplant Institute means the difference between life and death for so many people.

“I am gratified that someone of Mr. Landon’s prominence and stature is our second honoree,’‘ said Alan Livingstone, M.D., professor and chair of the DeWitt Daughtry Family Department of Surgery and director of the Miami Transplant Institute. “With support from him and other leaders in our community, we are shining a spotlight on what we have achieved in the vital area of transplantation.”

Miller School Dean Pascal J. Goldschmidt, M.D., kicked off the evening at the JW Marriott Marquis by recounting the 40-year collaboration in transplant surgery between the medical school and Jackson Memorial Hospital and praising Dr. Livingstone and founding director Andreas Tzakis, M.D., Ph.D., for their leadership of the institute.

“Transplant surgery is a unique medical activity because every time you care for one patient, you save one life,” Dean Goldschmidt said. “Miami received a lifesaving transplant in 2007, when the Miami Transplant Institute officially came into existence.”

Few people know that better than Billy Hungerford, who received transplants of five different organs, and shared his gratitude Wednesday night. “Standing before you this evening, I’ve never felt better in all my life,” Hungerford said. “Now it’s time to give back.”

Miller School students did their part, too, with student Stacy Lieberman, president of the Hunter Academic Society, presenting Dean Goldschmidt a $600.01 check for the institute, the proceeds of a “penny war” fundraiser by all of the school’s academic societies.

Hosted by co-chairs Linda and Phil Corey, the recipient of a liver transplant at UM/Jackson in 2007, the banquet also featured live and silent auctions, a magician, dancing, and remarks by Eneida Roldan, M.D., president and CEO of Jackson Health System, and transplant recipient Jennie Harkey.

A living testament to the institute’s pioneering research, Harkey participated in experimental T-cell therapy to ensure she does not reject her transplanted liver and kidney.

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