The Jane Daroff Lifetime Achievement Award

Named in honor of our incredible co-founder, Jane Daroff, this award is reserved to recognize individuals, groups or organizations that have long-championed the rights of LGBTQ+ individuals and their families.  

 Jane Daroff, LISW-S

The 1st Award was given on April 17, 2017 to US Senator Sherrod Brown for his early leadership and lifelong commitment to end LGBTQ discrimination and extend equal rights to all people. 

(left to right: Paul Kit, Jes Sellers, Alan Cohn, Sharon Groh-Wargo, Jane Daroff, Michele Kit, Senator Brown, Dr. Bob Daroff, Quentin Jamison, Kavita Sherman and Frank Groh-Wargo.)

Dr. Sharon Groh-Wargo received the Award on May 9, 2019 at 'Fire' restaurant, Shaker Square, Cleveland, Ohio.  

Sharon served as PFLAG Cleveland president for 10 years prior to becoming vice president and has been instrumental in growing PFLAG Cleveland's reputation and reach in the greater Cleveland area. Her steadfast dedication to PFLAG Cleveland has furthered its mission of support, education and advocacy regionally, statewide and nationally. Kevin Schmotzer, Mayor Jackson's representative presented a proclamation in her honor. 

top + bottom, left to right: Frank Groh-Wargo + Sharon; Sharon and Tom Falcone, President of PFLAG Cleveland; Brooke Smith from PFLAG National and Sharon.

“These leaders exemplify what it means to 'lead with love,' which is PFLAG'S motto," said Tom Falcone, president of PFLAG Cleveland. “They took action to help those suffering from HIV/AIDS during a time when federal and local governments did not prioritize this chronic disease as a health issue, primarily because it affected gay men. Research and funding for HIV/AIDS care barely existed, nor were resources like home care and nursing homes available. In fact, there was such a lack of resources that many people living with HIV/AIDS remained in isolation in hospitals for weeks and sometimes months.”

left to right: Tracy Jones, Dr. Michael Lederman, Jane Daroff, Sr. Marian Durkin, Sr. Susan Zion and Mark Lehman.

October 17, 2023 - PFLAG Cleveland Awards 'HIV/AIDS Pioneer Leaders' with Jane A. Daroff Lifetime Achievement Award at Trinity Commons, Cleveland, Ohio.

Those recognized with the award are: Tracy Jones, MNO, ATGC, executive director, AIDS Taskforce of Greater Cleveland; Michael Lederman, MD, an infectious disease specialist in Cleveland who is affiliated with Case Western Reserve University and University Hospitals of Cleveland; Sr. Marian Durkin, Sister of Charity of St. Augustine who co-founded The Open House, a ministry for those afflicted with AIDS and their families; Sr. Susan Zion, Ursuline Sisters of Cleveland who is founder/executive director of Ursuline Piazza, which educates and supports HIV-positive people; and Mark Lehman, MSSA, LISW, retired manager of the Department of Social Work at The MetroHealth System in Cleveland who was an original member of MetroHealth Pride Alliance and board member at HIT. Additionally, the AIDS Taskforce of Greater Cleveland, the successor to the Health Issues Taskforce (HIT), was awarded for being a leading organization for HIV/AIDS care in northeast Ohio and beyond. 

To read about each of these pioneer's contributions, click here. 

To see what it was it like to be gay in the age of AIDS , click here: History Channel.