RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — A beloved former 8News anchor who died last year was honored by the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) at an award ceremony in Richmond Monday evening.

Lisa Schaffner, who worked as a reporter and anchor for 8News and as a marketing director for UNOS, died in August 2021. She was 59.

Schaffner’s career at 8News spanned 22 years, and included her work covering Hurricane Isabel in 2003. She was remembered by colleagues and the community for her trusted journalism and compassion.

UNOS, a nonprofit that serves as the country’s organ transplant system under contract with the federal government, is responsible for matching patients and donors for organ transplants. During her time serving as the organization’s marketing director, Schaffner was closely involved with advocating for its cause, UNOS’ Chief Executive Officer Brian Shepard said at Monday’s event.

Credit: Brad Vassar / 8News

Since 2010, UNOS has given the National Donor Memorial Award for Excellence every year to a recipient who advocates for organ donation. Starting this year, the organization has renamed the award — which was founded by Schaffner herself — to The Lisa Schaffner Community Advocate Award.

Credit: Brad Vassar / 8News

On Monday, Shepard described how UNOS and its board members arrived at the decision to name the award after Schaffner.

“When we got the terrible news that we lost her, within a couple of days the team, here, the board members, the people in the community said, ‘We should do this, we should name this, we should recognize this’, and I said, ‘Those are all good ideas. Take your time. Take a breath. We’re going to find the thing that is perfect…It’s going to come to us,'” he said. “And eventually this was it.”

At the ceremony on Monday, Shepard recognized Schaffner’s work by presenting the award to her son and husband. Just fewer than 100 guests were in attendance.

For more information about organ donations and transplants, visit UNOS’ website.