LOUISVILLE, Ky. — The National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) is pleased to announce that longtime University of San Diego head coach Melissa McElvain is the 2018 recipient of the Association’s Humanitarian Award. McElvain, who donated a kidney five years ago, is being recognized for her continued work in raising awareness for living donation.
In 2013, McElvain’s friend Dana Findley was suffering from focal segmental glomerulosclerosis (FSG), which causes scar tissue to form on the kidneys. With the waitlist being up to six years and Findley’s condition worsening, McElvain offered to donate her kidney. She wasn’t done following a successful transplant and full recovery. She wanted to do more.
“When I read the description of the NFCA Humanitarian Award, for me, one coach clearly defines it, head coach Melissa McElvain from the University of San Diego,” said former Cal State Dominguez Hills head coach Kim Aggabao. “She is the epitome of someone who is selfless, dedicated and a servant leader. Like so many coaches across the world, she sets an example for her student-athletes in every aspect of life. She is a woman of character, faith, and integrity.”
According to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS), 13 people die each day while waiting for a life-saving kidney transplant, while every 14 minutes someone is added to the kidney transplant list. Since the donation, McElvain wanted to do everything to change that statistic by becoming an advocate and public speaker, raising awareness for living donation.
Over the past five years, McElvain, who is entering her 18th season at the helm of the Toreros in 2019, has participated in over 50 speaking engagements to share her story, raise awareness and spread positivity. On top of that, McElvain was one of five founding members of Women Encouraging Living Donation (WELD). Established in San Diego in 2015, WELD’s stated mission is to increase, encourage and support living donation through public facing education outreach.
She was recognized for her outreach in 2016 when she received Sharp Memorial Hospital’s “Partner of Hope” award. The award recognizes someone in the San Diego community who is carrying the torch for living donation, and is going above and beyond to support others who are considering saving a life.
“Melissa’s student-athletes are blessed with more than just a coach,” said Aggabao. “Melissa is a role model and leader. She walks the walk. Melissa has continued to use her platform to not just serve her student-athletes, but her university, her community and those lucky enough to cross her path.”
The NFCA’s Humanitarian Award recognizes a member coach who has selflessly dedicated time toward the long-term betterment of the community and/or engaged in charitable activities in the service of others. McElvain will be honored in front of her peers on Dec. 7 during the Softball Summit at the 2018 NFCA Convention, held Dec. 5-8 at the Sheraton Grand Chicago.