Story by Liesel Schmidt | Portrait by Lucia Smith
In her professional life, Donna Shaw serves as the Administrator at Woodbine Rehab and Healthcare Center, dedicating her focus to the needs of others. In her personal life, Shaw is an active volunteer with Senior Services of Alexandria, where she previously served as Board Chair and currently remains an active member of the Advisory Committee of Past Board Chairs, in addition to serving on the board of the Virginia Health Care Association and on the board of Northern Virginia Hospital Alliance from 2019 to 2022.
“As the recipient of a kidney transplant, my passion also is directed to improving health and attitudes of transplant recipients and donors of transplants,” she says. “I am an active volunteer for the National Kidney Society and the American Society of Transplantation, where my time is spent advocating for transplant recipients and donors. I also help educate them on the process of transplantation, how to ask their families and friends to donate an organ and explain the need to be in great physical health and taking care of their bodies before, during and after transplantation. I have always been inspired to help others, which is why I originally became a nurse. My parents started this seed from when I was a very little girl and I’ve always carried that with me."
“Being in the medical field, I see often that women are always taking care of others—myself included! We need to be a little selfish sometimes and carve out time for ourselves, taking the time to exercise and take care of our hearts. We have all been given one life and one body. We need to take care of it.” - Donna Shaw
But Shaw believes her impact on the world goes outside of her nurse and advocacy work. “I feel that I have made the most impact in this world by being kind and friendly to others,” she says. “Also, by showing both grit and grace to get through life’s biggest challenges. I try to do this in both my personal and professional life as an example to others. One of my biggest challenges was my own transplant and I’m proud of how I handled it. I try to look at the positive things in life to stay motivated.”