2014 Honorees


Jamarielle (“Jam”) Ransom-Marks

When Jam was 8 years old, she was diagnosed with acute lymphocytic leukemia, the most common form of cancer in children. After a devastating relapse, Jam underwent a stem cell transplant.

Determined to give back to others, Jam and her family began a blood and bone marrow drive to celebrate the anniversary of Jam’s successful stem cell transplant. It has become one of the largest private blood and bone marrow drives in Illinois, supporting lifesaving treatments for children throughout the region.



Boaz Keysar and Linda Ginzel

Boaz and Linda founded the non-profit organization Kids In Danger (KID) in 1998 after their 16-month-old son Danny died when a portable crib collapsed around his neck. Although the crib had been recalled five years earlier, word of its danger had not reached Danny’s parents, his caregiver or the state inspector who visited the home just eight days before his death. This tragic event caused Linda and Boaz to become leading advocates for child product safety.

Because of their efforts, the federal Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act includes a section named for Danny requiring mandatory safety standards for all durable infant and toddler products. In 2000, Linda and Boaz received the President’s Service Award, the nation’s highest honor for volunteer service directed at solving critical social problems.

Today, Kids In Danger continues its lifesaving work. KID publishes an annual report on child product safety, advocates for necessary regulations, conducts public awareness campaigns, and conducts ongoing outreach to families.



U.S. Senator Richard Durbin

Illinois Senator Richard Durbin is one of the nation’s most indefatigable champions for child health. Senator Durbin has fought tirelessly for the Affordable Care Act, the Medicaid program, Graduate Medical Education, and funding for cutting-edge medical research. He also sponsored legislation that created groundbreaking safeguards for children with asthma, concussions and life-threatening food allergies. In 1988, Senator Durbin authored the first piece of legislation banning smoking on short flights on U.S. airlines – a tipping point in the public health debate that many credit as the beginning of efforts to restrict smoking in public spaces.