CROWN POINT | Colorful and emotional stories of people who have given of themselves so that others might live were told April 14 during the annual Franciscan St. Anthony Health Crown Point observance of National Donate Life Month.
The program took place in the hospital’s Corpus Christi Chapel, starting with a procession of flowers and remarks from hospital and other officials, including hospital President David Ruskowski, Lake County Coroner Merrilee D. Frey and representatives of organ donor agencies, including the Gift of Hope Organ and Tissue Donor Network, the Indiana Lions Eye and Tissue Transplant Bank and Life Line Stem Cell Services. The hospital partners with those agencies to facilitate organ, eye, tissue and stem cell donations.
Franciscan St. Anthony Health donor witnesses presented testimonies of how their lives and those of their loved ones have been affected.
Linda Belcher, an Emergency Medical Services educator whose late son, Casey, was a heart transplant recipient, spoke of her family, as did Jean Miller, Emergency Department nursing manager, who told about her young son, Landon, a vascular tissue recipient. Sharon Kacmar, a liver recipient who is related to a Franciscan St. Anthony Health nurse Janet Reid, recalled her experience, as did Ron Gonsiorowski, whose wife, Terri, received a partial liver donation from her husband. Gonsiorowski is a Hammond firefighter affiliated with Rob Dowling, director of the hospital’s Emergency Medical Services Academy.
The ceremony was followed by a Mass celebrated by the Rev. Tony Janik, hospital spiritual services director. Donor registrations also were available in the hospital lobby. For more information on the Donate Life program, visit: DonateLifeIndiana.org.