The National Viral Hepatitis Roundtable (NVHR) honored the late Gregg Allman with a new annual award presented last night at the organization’s 15th anniversary dinner at the Madison Hotel in Washington, D.C. Allman, who in 2011 went public about his own battle with hepatitis C, encouraged testing and awareness, and raised critical funds before his death earlier this year from liver cancer complications. Michael Lehman, Allman’s longtime manager, accepted the award, which will be given each year to recognize exceptional work on behalf of people living with viral hepatitis.

“Gregg Allman was, and remains, one of the few celebrities to go public about his journey with hepatitis C,” said Ryan Clary, executive director of NVHR. “He empowered baby boomers to seek treatment and testing, and raised critical funds for NVHR and the American Liver Foundation. We will be forever grateful.”

“Gregg recognized an awareness gap, particularly among baby boomers who are infected with hepatitis C and either don’t realize they have the virus or just are not seeking treatment,” said Lehman. “He sought to remove the stigma with the message that it doesn’t matter how you contract hepatitis C – it only matters that you find it and treat it. While I wish Gregg were here to receive the award himself, I’m honored to accept it on his behalf and to have the opportunity to support NVHR for all its work over the past 15 years to stem the tide of this devastating disease.”

After going public with his battle with hepatitis C, Allman headlined Merck and the American Liver Foundation‘s “Tune In to Hep C Campaign” to raise awareness and urge baby boomers living with the disease to do something about it. As part of “Tune In to Hep C,” The Allman Brothers Band held a hepatitis C fundraiser and awareness concert before a packed house at the Beacon Theater in New York. The concert, which featured special guests Phil Lesh, David Crosby, Grahame NashNatalie Cole, Danny Louis, and Billy Gibbons, raised $250,000 to benefit NVHR and the American Liver Foundation for education and awareness efforts. The funds were critical, given the extreme lack of resources in the hepatitis community.

[photo by Phierce Photo]