Superior Health Foundation

Run for Life Organ Donation Fund

To summarize our understanding of the “Run For Life” Fund:

Purpose:  The Purpose of the Run For Life Organ Donation Fund is to assist organ transplant patients with medical costs, prescription and mileage expenses, as well as assist potential organ donors with travel expenses. All monies will stay in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.

Process: Proceeds for the Run for Life Fund are raised year round, with the largest portion of money being raised at the annual “Run For Life” event each summer.  To qualify for philanthropic funding through the Superior Health Foundation, patients must meet the following criteria:

  • Submit an application form available at SHF or below.
  • Transplant patients will be permitted to “apply” for philanthropic funding to help cover unpaid medical expenses relative to medical costs, prescription and mileage expenses, with the maximum annual award being $1,000. Potential organ donors can apply to assist with travel expenses (mileage, meals and lodging), with the maximum annual award being $500.
  • A three-person review committee, consisting of Run For Life Organizer Amy Harju, the Superior Health Foundation Executive Director and the Chair of the SHF Community Needs/Grants Committee will review the applications monthly and recommend funding.
  • Requests for disbursement of donated funds will be made by the Run For Life Organizer on behalf of the Superior Health Foundation following the existing Foundation procedures.
  • A Run For Life Fund will be established in the Superior Health Foundation, of which donors may contribute charitable gifts.

Success Stories

SHF Organ Donation Fund Helps Calumet Resident

CALUMET – No one has to tell Nabil Reyes of Calumet the importance of the Organ Donation Fund offered through the Superior Health Foundation.

Recently, the 33-year-old kidney transplant patient needed to travel to the University of Wisconsin in Madison to meet with the transplant team to be considered for a new kidney. A native of Puerto Rico but a resident of the Upper Peninsula since 2011, Reyes has been unable to work due to his health issues and is awaiting Social Security eligibility.

Encouraged by a friend, Reyes applied for funding through the Superior Health Foundation’s Run For Life Organ Donation Fund and was awarded $750. That money covered the cost of several nights lodging in Madison, along with mileage and meal expenses for the trip. “We are so thankful. You have no idea what you have done for him,” said family friend Craig Nuottila, who accompanied Reyes on the trip. “He was so stressed about this trip and how to afford it…. a hard thing to do with no income. He is very relieved to have the trip done and over with. He couldn’t have done it without you.” Reyes is now awaiting word on whether he is a candidate for a new kidney.

The Superior Health Foundation’s Run for Life Organ Donation Fund assists qualifying organ transplant patients and organ donors in the Upper Peninsula with out-of-pocket expenses. The Run for Life Organ Donation Fund is set up to assist organ transplant patients with medical costs, prescription and mileage expenses, as well as assist potential organ donors with travel expenses. All monies will stay in the Upper Peninsula.

The fund was borne out of the volunteer work done by Amy Harju of Marquette, who organized the inaugural Run For Life walk/run in the summer of 2012. The event has now evolved into an annual event, with this year’s Run For Life scheduled for Saturday, June 7, at Mattson Lower Harbor Park in Marquette.

The Superior Health Foundation acts as the charitable fundraising arm for U.P. Run For Life. SHF Executive Director Jim LaJoie said part of the Foundation’s mission is to assist residents of the Upper Peninsula with unmet healthcare needs and organ donation and the lives it saves fits into the mission. “The Superior Health Foundation supports organ donation and applauds the efforts of U.P. Run For Life,” he said. “It recognizes the need to help alleviate the costs eligible transplant patients and donors may occur.”

Criteria for the Organ Donation Fund, as well as an online application form, can be found on the SHF website. The maximum annual award for transplant patients is $1,000, with the maximum annual award for organ donors being $500.

If interested in supporting the fund with a philanthropic gift, please visit the Superior Health Foundation website or call 906-225-6914.

Republic woman receives assistance from SHF

For two years, Kristen Manier, center, of Republic has been undergoing peritoneal dialysis at home and through Fresenius Medical Care at UP Health Systems-Marquette. Manier’s kidneys failed in 2012 and has been on a waiting list for a kidney transplant.

To help relieve some of the stress and anxiety Manier, 31, experiences in traveling 30 miles each way three times a week to undergo dialysis, along with tending to two young children, the Superior Health Foundation provided Manier with a gas card and two restaurant gift certificates. The funding came from the Run for Life Organ Donation Fund, a fund established a year ago to provide charitable support for organ donors and recipients to help with out-of-pocket expenses.

In the photo, Amy Harju, organizer of the annual Run For Life walk/run and Jim LaJoie, executive director of the Superior Health Foundation, present Manier with flowers and certificates.

To learn more about the Organ Donation Fund, visit

Superior Health Foundation
Superior Health Foundation
Several weeks ago, the Superior Health Foundation partnered with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan to provide funding to public schools in the U.P. to assure lunches are available. BCBS and SHF each committed $12,500 in funding to the project.
We're pleased to report that dozens of school districts across the region have been provided funding to help them through the Covid-19 Pandemic.
There are limited dollars still remaining in the fund. If interested in applying, simply visit and click on the Covid-19 Relief School Meal Funding Application.
The map below and accompanying info show the U.P. counties impacted by this funding. It goes without saying that SHF is tremendously grateful to BCBS of Michigan for engaging SHF on this incredible partnership to feed our children.
Superior Health Foundation
Superior Health Foundation
As many of you know, the Superior Health Foundation launched the Covid-19 Pandemic Fund a week ago today to help health-centered, non-profits and organizations across the Upper Peninsula with immediate equipment, sanitary supplies and other other needs. We want to hear from you.
To date, we have funded a number of organizations across the U.P. and we want to do more. We're willing and able to talk, to listen, to help you during this unprecedented time.
To apply for funding, for up to $1,000, simply visit and click on the Covid-19 Pandemic Fund button on the home page.
We also encourage you to give a charitable, tax-deductible git to help support this fund. With your generosity, we can help many, many during this time of angst and uncertainty. You can direct your gift to the area of greatest need, to masks, to cleaning supplies and to office equipment.
Thank you for your tremendous support. If you have questions or needs, simply email
Superior Health Foundation
Superior Health Foundation
Covid-19 Update on UP Connect/Rides For Wellness for Non-Emergent Medical Transportation in the U.P.

At this time, public transit agencies across the Upper Peninsula and the MTC ConnectUP Rides To Wellness program are still operating as normal. We are still accepting trip requests and fulfilling them and will continue to do so as long as our transportation partners remain open and functioning.
As everything with the new reality we are living under the Covid-19 pandemic, this situation is fluid and can change on a daily basis. Unless transit agencies are forced to suspend operations, though, we intend to still be able to function and schedule trips.
We are seeing a lot of medical appointments cancelled, some by the medical providers and some by the riders who do not choose to venture out of their homes. We have worked with all of our providers to make sure that vehicles are properly cleaned and disinfected on a regular daily schedule, often several times per day.
We have temporarily suspended further build-out of our transportation provider network and have cut back significantly on bringing on new funding partners; however, due to the uncertainty of the current situation.
All of our MTC employees are currently working remotely from their homes.
We are hopeful that the immediate danger from the coronavirus will pass quickly and that we can resume full operations in the not-too-distant future.

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