2017 Board of Directors
Marty Maren: President
Marty Maren and his wife Michele are the co-founders of TRIO Maryland.
Marty has been the President of TRIO Maryland since its inception and served for 2 years on the TRIO National Board of Directors. Marty received a life saving liver transplant on November 2009 at Johns Hopkins Hospital. Since the recovery he has been a speaking ambassador for The Living Legacy Foundation and Donate Life Maryland. Marty & Michele manage a team in the Living Legacy Fun Run called “Team Miracle”. “Team Miracle” has been a participating team since 2010. Marty is a member of Team Maryland and have been to the last 2 National Transplant Games. Marty has been a volunteer at Johns Hopkins Hospital Comprehensive Transplant Center for the last 5 years. Marty is currently a mentor for transplant recipients and recently help launch a walking program called “Stepping Out” for transplant patients. Marty also serves on the Board of the Julie Community Center and has done so for the last 5 years.
Marty & Michele have been married 16 years and enjoy traveling and spending time with family. Marty retired in 2013 and enjoys managing a nonprofit organization to benefit transplant recipients and their families.
Jeff Stout: Vice President
On Nov. 21st of 2014 I received a Right Lung Transplant. Three months after my transplant, I received a call from Heidi at LLF. She was asking if I would like to talk to the mother of my Donor. YES.. we are now new family members for each other. I am a Volunteer at Living Legacy. I help manage the group, University of Maryland Heart and Lung Transplant Community. As of now we have 116 members. I am in the process of becoming a Volunteer at UMMC. I love to exercise, walk etc. Anything to help lose weight!! Walk the dog. Cooking. I enjoy most the sharing of my transplant and the miracle and Gift of Life of transplant.
Christa Gahagan: Treasurer
Christa Gahagan is a founding member of TRIO-Maryland and has been the Treasurer since its inception. Her husband, P. Michael Gahagan, is TRIO’s Vice President. Christa donated a kidney to her husband in July 1998. Since that time they have both been active in the transplant community volunteering with The Living Legacy Foundation and Donate Life Maryland. They are both members of Team Maryland and will be competing in their 5th Transplant Games in June of 2016. Christa has been married to Michael for 35 years and has two sons—Sean and Mike. She has been employed as an Executive Assistant for EMJAY Engineering and Construction Co., Inc. in Baltimore for 21 years. She enjoys traveling (especially cruising), golfing and spending time with family and friends.
Michele Gregory-Maren: Secretary
Michele is the co-founder of TRIO Maryland along with her husband Marty Maren. Michele became actively involved in the transplant community after her husband had a miraculous liver transplant in 2009. She felt there was a true need for a transplant recipient support group in Maryland and in April 2012, the work began on establishing a TRIO chapter. Michele has been the Secretary for TRIO Maryland from the beginning and is a volunteer at Johns Hopkins Hospital, The Living Legacy Foundation and a supporter for Team Maryland. Michele also serves on the Board of the Julie Community Center and has done so for the last 4 years. During the last 6 years, Michele and Marty have helped raise donations and create awareness for organ donation by participating in the Living Legacy Fun Run with “Team Miracle”. Since Marty’s transplant in 2009, Michele’s focus has been staying involved in the transplant community, especially TRIO Maryland, in repayment for Marty’s second chance through transplantation
Michele and Marty have been married for 16 years. They enjoy traveling and are avid sports fans enjoying both the Ravens and Orioles. They are members of the Baltimore Museum of Art and never fail to visit a museum when visiting other cities. Michele attended both the 2012 and 2014 Transplant Games along with her husband Marty who participated in both.
Michael Gahagan is a Founding Member of TRIO-Maryland and has been its Vice President since its inception. Michael’s wife, Christa K. Gahagan, is TRIO-Maryland’s Treasurer. In 1995, Michael was diagnosed with end stage renal disease and for the next several years was on peritoneal dialysis. In July 1998, Michael’s wife Christa selflessly gave him the gift of life. For the next 8 years, Michael led a very healthy life with Christa and their two sons, Sean and Michael. Unfortunately, due to medication side effects, Michael’s kidney began to fail. In February 2005, Michael’s brother, Sean C. Gahagan, generously donated his kidney and Michael was transplanted again. Since that time, Michael and Christa have been very active in the transplant community volunteering for the Living Legacy Foundation and Donate Life.
They are members of Team Maryland and have participated in the last four Transplant Games of America. They will be participating in the 2016 Games in Cleveland, Ohio. Michael and Christa have been married for 35 years. After more than 45 years working in the nonprofit arena for the March of Dimes, the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay and for the last 20 years with Emerge, Inc., an organization working with people with disabilities, Michael retired in February 2015. He enjoys traveling, golf and spending time with his family and friends.
Zivah Ring has been involved in the transplant community for many years. Her husband Steven had a liver transplant in October of 2007. Since the transplant, Zivah has volunteered at Johns Hopkins Hospital in various capacities. She started by volunteering at the Comprehensive Transplant Center and is now serving on several hospital councils and committees. Zivah is also a founding board member of TRIO-Maryland.
She has been married to Steven for over 30 years and has two sons and a daughter in law – Adam, Eric and Kaci. Zivah is an active Real Estate investor and the family owns Blue Point Crab House. She and her husband share their time between Maryland and Florida.
Allison Brown is a post-kidney transplant nurse coordinator at Johns Hopkins. She became passionate about transplant patients after previously working on a Neuro Critical Care unit, where she cared for many patients who were deceased donors and worked closely with donor families. Her transition to working with transplant recipients first started in her former position as a kidney transplant nurse educator in the community where she was introduced to TRIO Maryland and its members and worked closely with the staff at Living Legacy Foundation. She is excited to have become a new member of the TRIO board in the fall of 2016. She enjoys traveling, doing anything outdoors and spending time with family and friends.
Donna started out as an OR nurse for 15 years and worked with LLF to schedule donor times for organ procurement. When Donnas’ sister in law needed a kidney transplant, her husband stepped up to be her donor 5 1/2 years ago. And finally, Donna was looking for a change in her life and when a position to be coordinator for the liver program opened up at a transplant center in Baltimore it was the opportunity Donna was looking for. It was a challenge to learn new skills and meet new people but it was exciting too.
Donna began phase three of her journey in April 2013 and has loved every minute of it. Donna loves her patients and sees them all as individuals. Donna gives herself the challenge of remembering something unique about each and every one of them and with almost 250 patients, it can be challenging.
Donna is married with 5 children and 2 grand daughters. When not working and being a wife, mother and Nana, Donna is a people watcher, attending sporting events and hanging out with friends.
Vickie Lynn Avara:
My name is Vickie Lynn Avara , I received a life saving kidney transplant on February 9, 2010 during the blizzard from my brother-in-law Chris Bright who happens to be Donna Bright’s husband. I was diagnosed with full blown kidney failure in December 2007 after a long history of urinary tract infections.
After receiving my life saving kidney transplant I decided I wanted to give back to the transplant community. I became a donate life ambassador for the living legacy foundation and shared my story on how organ donation saved my life and encouraged others to become organ donors. I also volunteer at the annual family fun run, I am a TRIO member and volunteer at the annual transplant conference every year. I am also a volunteer at Johns Hopkins Hospital on the transplant unit. I love to share my story and encourage others to become organ donors and become involved pre and post transplant.
I am happily married with 2 sons Benjamin and Michelangelo (26 and 17). I work a fulltime job as an Occupational Therapist in the Howard County Public School System. I have worked on numerous committees and clubs for my profession and church community.
I received a live liver donation in January 2016 after being diagnosed with Alpha-1. Since that time, I have worked tirelessly to share the word of donation by volunteering for the Living Legacy foundation and as a theatre artist. I have visited many high schools in Baltimore discussing a recent production of UNDER THE SKIN at the Everyman Theatre. I have been interviewed by the Baltimore Sun, Baltimore Magazine, Baltimore Style, CBS news and WYPR on my relationship to the play. I am a college professor at Towson University where I have discussed transplants with many students and colleagues. I would like to serve if asked by my fellow TRIO Maryland family.
I have become an active member of the transplant community since receiving two liver transplants in 2014, one of which was a living donation from his son. A Vietnam veteran, I also served the community by participating in the American Cancer Society’s Relay For Life, and as a former President of the Our Lady of Hope/St. Luke School Athletic Association. I am now a member of TRIO Maryland, volunteer for the Living Legacy Foundation, and a Transplant Patient Mentor at the Johns Hopkins Hospital and University of Maryland Medical Center. I am a married and a father of four, and grandfather to nine. I enjoy photography and genealogical research in m spare time.
Jane Gerber has been a social worker with the University of Maryland Medical Center since 1996. Until May of this year Jane was on the liver transplant team, and then transferred to the heart/lung/VAD team. She was just appointed to the Board of TRIO Maryland in 2015. Jane is married and she and her husband enjoy spending time with their extended family members, all of whom live in Maryland.
Heidi is The Living Legacy Foundation of Maryland’s representative on the TRIO Maryland’s Board of Directors. Heidi is a Family Services Coordinator at LLF where she assists families in making decisions related to organ and tissue donation and supports them throughout and after the donation process. She is happy to see the transplant recipients in TRIO leading such full and productive lives! She participates in many of LLF’s community events helping to raise awareness about donation and further their mission. Heidi has been married to Vince for thirteen years and is a proud mother to three rescued fur babies. In her spare time she enjoys do it yourself projects, health/nutrition/exercise, and advocating against farm animal cruelty.
Laura Conroy has been active in the transplant community as a nurse for over twenty years, providing patient care and education throughout the transplant continuum as well as transplant education for medical professionals. She is currently the Program Development Manager for solid organ transplant at the Johns Hopkins Hospital and joined TRIO as a board member in 2015. She has been married to her husband Tom for twenty years and together they have two sons-Trey and Chris. She enjoys travel and spending time with friends and family.