Press Release


September 1, 2009  


Medals4Mettle Founder to receive national Arnold  P Gold Foundation Humanism in Medicine Award at  the American Academy of Head and Neck Surgery Foundation (AAO-HNSF) at its Annual Meeting & OTO EXPO. National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) to match grant.


Medals4Mettle recognizes and rewards courageous children and individuals who show “mettle” as they face their own personal challenges.


INDIANAPOLIS- Medals4Mettle is a charity that was founded by an Indianapolis-based doctor and marathoner. He wanted to create an opportunity for marathoners and athletes to share their medals with courageous children and individuals who show “mettle” as they face their own personal challenges even though they cannot compete in marathons themselves. Medals4Mettle collects medals and shares them with  courageous patients at hospitals throughout the United States and the rest of the world.

In 2005,  Steven Isenberg, MD, FACS, an Indianapolis-based head-and-neck surgeon and avid marathon runner, founded Medals4Mettle, a public non profit 501(c)3 organization. Dr Isenberg will receive the first Arnold P. Gold Foundation Humanism in Medicine award at the opening ceremony of the AAO-HNSF on October 4, 2009, at 8 AM at the San Diego Convention Center, CA. The NCAA has announced that it will match the Gold Foundation monetary award with a grant that will be used to purchase ribbons for donated medals. The NCAA and Medals4Mettle are discussing other opportunities to work together.

Medals4Mettle started with Isenberg donating his own hard-earned medals to his courageous patients whom he described, “are running a much more difficult marathon than the marathons I finish.” Soon after, Isenberg began spreading the word about Medals4Mettle so that other marathon runners and athletes would have an opportunity to share their symbols of achievement with others who were less fortunate. The recipients can be any age and might have shown courage in how they  deal with disease, handicaps, or any similar challenge.

“Large crowds cheer marathoners on as they run their races,” says Isenberg. “Medals4Mettle lets these runners, who are healthy enough to compete in such an event,  return the cheers to those who have supported them. Finishing a marathon is hard work and being able to transfer that dedication and effort to someone who is not able to race, but who shows the same courage, is a great feeling that is hard to describe.”

Since its beginning, Medals4Mettle has been forming partnerships with children’s hospitals around the world.

“The patients and families at Riley have been overwhelmed with gratitude as they receive awards and recognition from Medals4Mettle,” says Ora Pescovitz, MD, President and CEO of Riley Hospital for Children in Indianapolis. “Many of the children and families at Riley are facing the most challenging times of their lives so it is a blessing when generous people give something they value in order to encourage them. They certainly deserve medals for the mettle they demonstrate in dealing with these daily challenges. We are thankful to Dr. Isenberg for coming up with such a thoughtful, creative and generous organization that helps to encourage the children and families we serve at Riley.”

Donations to Medals4Mettle are sent to the charity’s office where the medals are cleaned and given new ribbons that feature the Medals4Mettle logo before they are re-awarded to hospital patients throughout the United States, Canada, Mexico and Europe. While some marathon runners donate their medals anonymously, many others choose to fill out and include a legacy card with their donation so the recipient knows the value and story behind their medal.

Here are a few responses from some of the legacy cards that answer the question, “Why did you decide to donate this (these) medal(s) to Medals4Mettle?”

“Running a marathon is tough, but hospital patients demonstrate their toughness every single day, and they truly deserve it,” said a two-time a marathon runner from Chicago.

“I would like to donate these medals because I’m sure there are some other people in wheelchairs that haven’t had the opportunity to compete like I have and I know they are struggling and fighting just as hard as I did,” said a woman from Cleveland, Ohio who competed in the Ohio Wheel Chair Games.

“I did as well as I did because of the people cheering me on. I would like to do the same for others,” said a first-time marathon runner from Indianapolis who competed in the 2006 OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon.

In its brief history, Medals4Mettle has grown into an international network of supporters that have re-awarded more than  11,000 medals donated by marathon runners and athletes from across the country and around the world.. Medals4Mettle has been endorsed by numerous organizations and has been featured as an official charity in some of the nation’s largest and most prestigious marathons.

Dr Isenberg is a Fellow of the American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery. He is an Assistant Professor of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery at the Indiana University School of Medicine and serves on the local medical staff of Methodist, Clarian North, Clarian West, St Vincent’s, Community, Riverview and Community Hospitals in Indianapolis.  He recently completed the Pikes Peak marathon and plans to award his finisher’s medal to a child at the Peyton Manning Children’s Hospital in Indianapolis.