Association Generosity Lifts Mark Nagasawa Up the Mountain

Mark Nagasawa’s life changed dramatically on September 12, 2017. After a day of flu-like symptoms, Mark’s wife, Kat, found him confused and disoriented in their living room. He was rushed to the hospital where doctors diagnosed a heart attack and a PCA ischemic stroke. Following the first stroke, Mark had two more, which left both his speech and his vision on the left side impaired.

Mark was the education manager at the Society for Academic Emergency Medicine (SAEM) where his wife, Kat, also serves as director of operations and governance. The association community was quick to circle the wagons around their colleagues in a time of need. Just 13 days after Sherry Budziak, CEO and co-founder of .orgSource and .orgCommunity, posted Mark’s story on, $14,135 was raised from 104 friends, co-workers and caring colleagues. The many messages of support on Mark’s gofundme site are a heart-warming example of the bond that forms among people who work in the association family.


Following his hospital stay, Mark was transferred to the Shirley Ryan AbilityLab for rehabilitation therapy. He is now able to have visitors and makes daily progress. But, there are months, and perhaps even years, ahead until recovery. Kat’s mantra for herself and Mark is “to conquer a really big mountain, you focus on each step and not on how high you must climb.”

One of the great rewards of working in the non-profit sector is its emphasis on people and mission. Friends from many different associations have given the Nagasawas a boost up their mountain. People who had never met the family demonstrated this group’s huge heart and willingness to support one of their own. Megan Schagrin, executive director of SAEM, also played a leading role in making Mark’s fundraiser a success. The goal is to raise $25,000 to help with the ongoing expenses associated with Mark’s recovery, such as finding a new home that is ADA compliant and purchasing a car that can accommodate his wheelchair. Visit this link to help the Nagasawas on their journey to the summit.



Associations Rally with Diapers, Formula and Love for Hurricane Maria’s Most Fragile Victims

When Laura Lewis received a desperate plea from a pediatric hospital in San Juan, Puerto Rico, she swung into action. Following Hurricane Maria’s devastation of the island, the hospitals were overwhelmed with patients. The challenges of power outages, adequate food and clean water were compounded by the need for both medical and basic supplies, as well as critical care clinicians. Laura, who is director of technology at the Society for Critical Care Medicine (SCCM), is also the Deputy Team Leader of SCCM’s Emergency Response Team and immediately put out a call to her colleagues to render aid.  As SCCM has a long history of assisting in disaster recovery, the team quickly announced the need for volunteers and within 24 hours had over 300 critical care clinicians ready to go to the island. Further, the Society contacted its vendor community and asked them to provide medical supplies which were badly needed and they likewise responded with urgent shipments. This had been the standard way in which SCCM responded when the call for aid came from its members. But as Laura reported to her contact in San Juan and prepared to close the case, an unusual request was made. Could SCCM get non-medical supplies such as diapers, baby food, formula, and other items of need for their pediatric patients?

22221918_10155773968785818_8241926250547079965_nWith support and encouragement from CEO, David J. Martin, Laura set up a wish list on Amazon and sent out a message asking the critical care community to consider donating. The response was amazing. Daily delivery trucks began bringing boxes of all shapes and sizes to SCCM headquarters, sometimes over 1,000 at a time. The staff Emergency Response team rallied the entire SCCM staff who reported to the warehouse and unpacked, sorted and re-boxed tens of thousands of items.22279749_10155782925030818_3952246968541933366_n (1)

On October 9, 2017, a full tractor trailer load, 23 pallets of baby food, clothing and other essentials, shipped from SCCM’s headquarters headed to San Juan.  On October 12, a second tractor trailer load followed. Laura describes her appreciation for the extraordinary support like this, “The turnout for our call for donations was beyond anything we could have imagined. Co-workers and their families came in on Columbus Day (It’s a holiday for us) to help pack, organize and load the truck. I’m so amazed at the generosity of so many!”

22219883_10155771407380818_5313005626985786952_o“This big-hearted response is what I’ve come to expect from our association community,” says Sherry Budziak, co-founder of .orgCommunity and CEO of .orgSource. “Ours is a caring group that is eager to do good in the world and to extend a hand to children and others in need.”

The Amazon drive is closed now, but it’s not too late to help. You can make a cash donation by contacting or calling 847-827-6888.

The Society of Critical Care Medicine is the world’s largest nonprofit medical organization dedicated exclusively to improving care of the critically ill and injured. With members in more than 100 countries, SCCM is the only organization that represents all professional components of the critical care team. The Society offers a variety of activities that ensure excellence in patient care, education, research and advocacy.