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WINTER 2013

In This Issue of DFQ Comforting the Soul - New Beginnings Save-the-date - In Celebration & Remembrance Enter To Win! - Winter Vacation Get-Away to Massanutten Resort Holiday Tree Ceremonies - Remembrances, music and ornaments Local organ donor among honorees on Rose Parade float Grief Companions - Class of 2012 News from LifeNet Health Florida - Ceremonies in St. Augustine, Panama City

Comforting the Soul: New Beginnings by Sarah L. Decker, MA, CIC-CSp, QMHP

With winter comes the end to many of the holidays we usually enjoy with our family and friends. The wide range of religious and cultural festivities, as well as family traditions that have thrived throughout generations can become very different when there is a loss among those who celebrate. January is advertised as a time of new beginnings but for those who have lost a loved one and have just had to get through the difficulty of these winter celebrations, rejuvenation can be very difficult. Grief Counselor, Dr. Alan Wolfelt, talks of "Needs of Mourning." Among these "Needs" are two in particular that are important to remember amid this critical time of post-winter celebration. First, is to remember the person who has died, and the second is self renewal, or to develop a new self-identity. Don't be afraid to remember your loved one during these times and after. It


may be difficult for certain, not just for you but for others around you, but allowing the memories of these particularly special times to come out can be particularly healing. It's safe and healthy to pull out photo albums and look at pictures of years past relating to your loved one and these special holidays and/or traditions. Just as a new year is important to many for setting new goals, renewing yourself and developing a new self-identity is vital to your grief journey. We take on new roles when we lose someone who played a part in our lives. We can go from being a couple to a single-parent. Changes like having to take care of finances or remembering to take the garbage out on Tuesday nights can become overwhelming because it is so different from the routine we had with the person who is no longer here. It is ok for this adjustment to be frustrating at times, or even to make you angry. Be patient with yourself as it is essential to accepting the new roles and identity you must take on. It may be a gift you could find that you give yourself, to begin this journey into developing a new self-identity. This journey should have positive changes you would have never expected to experience. Many people who have gone through to experience these difficult but renewing changes have felt more confident in themselves and although it never changes the loss they've had, they express that they feel more empowered and hopeful toward the future; and hope is a perfect new beginning for anybody.

Save-the-Date for In Celebration & Remembrance Please save-the-date for LifeNet Health's In Celebration & Remembrance ceremonies. Tables will be provided for donor families to display pictures or special memories. Invitations will be mailed. Ceremonies begin at 2:00 p.m. Sunday, April 7 - Vinton War Memorial, Vinton, VA Sunday, April 21 - Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden, Richmond, VA Sunday, May 5 - Founder's Inn, Virginia Beach, VA

Enter to Win A Vacation Get-Away!


The holidays are often joyful and festive but they can also be exhausting and depressing for many who are grieving. Allow LifeNet Health Donor Family Services and Massanutten Four Season Resort to help you get away and relax after the hustle and bustle of the holiday season. Enter to win a random drawing for four ski lift tickets or four rounds of golf at Massanutten in the heart of the Shenandoah Valley www.massresort.com. Just send your name, address, daytime phone number, email and the name of your loved one to christina_pierce@lifenethealth.org by Friday, February 8. Tell us in 100 words or less your hopes for 2013. The winner will be announced in a future issue of Donor Family Quarterly.

Holiday Tree of Remembrance Ceremonies Donor families gathered in December for remembrances, ornament hanging, holiday music and a reception.

Angela Coen and Donarae Craddock, sister and mother of Daniel Coen

Ornaments on display at the Hotel Roanoke


Local organ donor among honorees on Rose Parade float

By Cindy Butler Focke Correspondent Š Virginia Beach Beacon

Joe Leake said he thinks of Todd Miller every day. Miller was just 25 when he passed away from an injury sustained in a college rugby game. Leake was a merchant marine who suffered sudden liver failure at the age of 36 after an allergic reaction to a chemical. Their lives intersected on March 10, 2008, when Leake received a liver transplant thanks to the athletic, handsome Longwood University rugby team captain and his family who said yes to organ donation. Leake, a Windsor Woods resident, gathered with Todd Miller's mother, Ellie, at a Dec. 15 celebration at the Virginia Beach Sportsplex. They put the final touches on a floragraph made in Todd's memory with support from family, friends and members of LifeNet Health, the nonprofit organ-procurement organization based in Virginia Beach. The circular portrait of the young organ donor was among 72 displayed on Donate Life America's float "Journeys of the Heart" in the Rose Parade on New Year's Day in Pasadena, Calif. Since 2004, the not-for-profit alliance has put together a float to honor organ and tissue donors, and to inspire others to give the gift of life. Thirty-two people rode the float featuring flora-graphs mounted along a 200-


foot heart-shaped pathway. Each likeness is about 15 inches in diameter, and was created by carefully placing organic materials such as spices and seeds on top of an enlarged digital photograph. Ellie Miller traveled to California to put most of the floragraph together before it was sent to LifeNet Health to be finished locally. Coffee grounds for Todd's eyebrows completed the picture. Todd's mother is part of his family, Leake said. "She's incredible." He wrote her after his surgery to express his gratitude. He thought of his son Joseph, now 13, who came close to losing his father at a young age. "It was emotional," he said. Ellie Miller, who lives in Delaware, invited Leake and his wife, Lisa DavisLeake, to a Longwood rugby game in 2008 and they've since kept in touch. The Leakes named a son Christopher Todd Davis Leake, now 3, in Todd's honor. Coincidentally, Todd's middle name was Davis. In 2010, Miller traveled to Wisconsin to cheer on Leake as his basketball team representing Virginia won a gold medal at the U.S. Transplant Games. Todd's fellow rugby team members Preston Leep of Richmond and T.J. Van Petten of Suffolk attended the Sportsplex celebration. "He was a born leader," Leep said of his friend. Being an organ donor was a way for Todd to continue to help others, they agreed. "He was the most considerate person on the face of the Earth," Van Petten said. Miller said she is grateful to LifeNet Health. "They continue to support you after the donation," she said. She will help finish decorating the float in Pasadena and watch the parade in person. How will she feel when the Donate Life float passes by? "Proud," she said. "Even in death, Todd gave life."

Grief Companions - Class of 2012


Eight new LifeNet Grief CompanionsŠ have been certified through the Grief Companion Program: Jonathan Barton, Charlene Burch, Joe DeHart, Lisa Dick, Karin Guye, Linda Kennedy, Suzy Labonte and Nora Webster. These volunteer donor family members completed a rigorous 10-week training program consisting of reading 23 articles on grief and mourning and skillful listening, writing personal reflections about the materials and their own grief journey, and finally attending a one-day class at LifeNet Health's Richmond office. The Grief Companion Program provides support to donor family members who would like to have someone to talk to who truly understands what they are going through during a very difficult period of their lives. We now have 46 active Grief Companions and have trained a total of 59 who have companioned 132 donor family members over the past 10 years. If you are interested in becoming a Grief Companion, or you would like to have a Grief Companion to talk with, call Michael Reilly, Donor Family Advocate, at 1-800-847-7831 ext. 4412 or 757-609-4412 or email michael_reilly@lifenethealth.org.

News from LIfeNet Health Florida A time to celebrate life, and a time to honor and remember those who gave through the gift of tissue and organ donation.


These were the sentiments expressed throughout the evening at LifeNet Health Florida's annual In Celebration & Remembrance ceremonies in St. Augustine at the St. Frances Barracks, and in Panama City at the Wyndham Bay Point Resort. Speakers included Dr. A. Oussama Rifai, hypertension kidney dialysis specialist, who spoke on the importance of donation; Brandy Davis, whose father was a donor; Derrick and Jenny VanRavestein, whose son Joshua is on the waiting list for a heart; Leo Faherty, donor father and double lung recipient; and Cindy O'Steen, donor mother.

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Coming Soon in 2013 Look for LifeNet Health's new website with more blogs and features just for you! www.healingthespirit.org


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