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In This Issue of DFQ Take the DFQ survey - Keep it or dump it? You make the call. Save-the-date - In Celebration & Remembrance Ceremonies Dr. Lani- My friend might crumble from grief. How can I help? Donors honored- Tree of Remembrance Ceremony Inaugural Virginia Transplant Games- A Gleeful Celebration Grief Companions - Lifesavers on the grief journey

Take the DFQ survey - Keep it or dump it? You make the call To the 800 donor family members who subscribe to our online Donor Family Quarterly, we wish you a happy, healthy New Year! LifeNet Health has published an online version of DFQ for about two years now. There have been some real advantages to distributing the newsletter this way. Registrations for our grief workshops have grown significantly. And, of course, we were able to save hundreds of dollars compared to printing and mailing the newsletter. Plus, we get to see how many people actually read it. Reports suggest that the DFQ is read by a very small percentage of subscribers. Apparently, if you've gotten this far, you're one who actually reads the newsletter. Now you can make the call if we keep it or dump it. Click Here to take the Donor Family Quarterly Three-Question Survey Survey results will help us decide whether to continue the newsletter. It only takes a few minutes. We thank you for taking this brief survey.

Save-the-Date: In Celebration & Remembrance Ceremonies In recognition of National Donate Life Month, we at LifeNet Health invite you to join us as we celebrate and honor those who were so compassionate in giving life to others. Tables will be provided for donor families to display pictures or special memories. Please Save-the-Date for the ceremony nearest you. April 15 - Roanoke ceremony, Vinton War Memorial April 22 - Richmond ceremony, Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden

April 29 - Virginia Beach ceremony, Sheraton Virginia Beach Oceanfront Event begin at 2:00 p.m. Formal invitations will be mailed in March.

Healing Tears By Dr. Lani Leary Dear Dr. Leary: I'm concerned about my friend, whose 10-year old daughter died suddenly and unexpectedly. I don't know what signs to look for that would indicate she needs additional or professional help, and I'm the only one she has contact with. Can you give me some guidelines? -- Suzie Dear Suzie: You can make a difference during your friend's journey through her bereavement if you can observe or ask her about the following key areas of adapting after the death: 1. Has the amount of sleep or her sleep pattern changed? Is there a daily deficit and is she a danger to herself or having frequent accidents? 2. Is she using sleeping pills or bedtime alcohol; and if so, how often? 3. Is she using any mood altering drugs; and if so, how often? 4. Is she using alcohol; and if so is the drinking pattern different now than it was before her daughter's death? 5. Has her appetite changed and has her weight changed by ten pounds within the first month? 6. Has her physical health changed, and to what degree? 7. What is the quality of her support system, i.e. does she have someone she can confide in; does she have a faith, belief, or practice; is she involved in any beneficial support group? 8. Is she able to maintain her activities of daily living as before the death, or has there been a significant decrease in some, most, or all areas of functioning? 9. Does she have a sense of hopelessness, or can she hold on to a hope that things will get better, even if she does not yet know how? 10. Has her sadness and grief changed to depression? Has she had suicidal thoughts? These are general questions will help you get an overall picture of your friend's current ability to cope with the death of her daughter. Remember that no one day is a representation of the ups-and-downs of grief. The questions can help you gather information, assess her level of functioning, alert you to concerns, and encourage intervention or referral to community resources. You can make a difference by being her "mirror" and providing her compassionate, nonjudgmental feedback. Blessings, Lani Dr. Leary is a psychologist and certified grief therapist who consults with LifeNet Health. Her responses reflect her professional opinion to general questions. Individuals struggling with complicated grief are encouraged to seek the care of a professional. Please submit your questions to Robin Cowherd, LifeNet Health, 1864 Concert Drive, Virginia Beach, VA 23453, or visit Healing Tears at our website


Donors Honored at Tree of Remembrance Ceremony

Have you ever received a hand-made tree ornament? Perhaps a little craft made at school bearing a child's photo? The most precious ornaments are the ones we create ourselves - the ones we pour our heart into and hang on the tree with pride or nostalgia. This is one of the things that makes the annual Tree of Remembrance Ceremony at LifeNet Health so meaningful - the ornaments are made with love by donor families, recipients and staff. Over the past few years, hundreds of ornaments have been placed lovingly on the holiday trees during this special ceremony. Family members design and bring an ornament that represents a loved one and present it to the group as a way of honoring their loved one. Each one sparkles with a unique tribute - from sports themes to treasured photos. The LifeNet Health Tree of Remembrance Ceremony was held December 6, 2011 at LifeNet Health's corporate office in Virginia Beach. More than 200 people attended, including donor families and transplant recipients from throughout Hampton Roads. "The ceremony is a very powerful experience, not only for families but also for staff," says Robin Cowherd, Director of Donor Family Services. "Regardless of faith or religion, the holidays are an especially difficult time for anyone experiencing grief or loss. It takes a lot of courage for some people to attend, but we show them how they can celebrate their loved one in a meaningful way." The ceremony also featured holiday music, a reception and a display of personalized luminaries that lined the path to the Memorial Garden.

Inaugural Virginia Transplant Games - A Gleeful Celebration

It was a crisp fall day at Clover Hill High School in Richmond on Saturday, October 1, 2011, the perfect setting for the first-ever Virginia Transplant Games. A surprise highlight was when heart recipient Brad Ellis of TV's hit show Glee took the stage to perform. He was awarded 2011 Donate Life Hollywood Person of the Year for his work in donation. Seeing how Brad has taken his life to new heights - thanks to a heart donor who gave him a chance to live - was a shining example of what the day's events were all about. The opening ceremonies didn't leave a dry eye in the stadium as donor families, recipients, family and friends stood together to celebrate life. As the athletes marched in, cheers arose from the crowd and were sustained for what seemed like forever. Virginia's First Lady Maureen McDonnell praised the brave families of the organ donors, along with the recipients who overcame so much. An inspiring moment came with the ceremonial dove release and the Games began! The day was filled with fun, laughter, and excitement. A powerful message was sent by recipients and donor family members participating side-by-side in Olympic style events including a 5K walk/run, track & field, basketball, bowling, swimming, and table tennis. . The closing ceremonies were just as emotional as the opening ceremonies. Jill Stephenson gave a courageous account of what it was like to lose her brother at age 11 to a car accident, and then her son at age 21 in a fight against the Taliban. Both young men donated their organs so that others could live, and it has had a profound effect on Jill and her friends and family. The games were established to illustrate how organ, eye, tissue and bone marrow donation and transplantation works; allowing recipients of these precious gifts to live full, active lives; and to reinforce how these gifts are generously given by Virginia citizens who can designate their decision to donate on the Virginia donor registry, The next Virginia Transplant Games are already scheduled for 2013.

Grief Companions - Lifesavers on the grief journey Last fall, LifeNet Health's Donor Family Services department sponsored a recognition event for our Grief Companions, donor family members who volunteer to be available to other donor family members who want someone to talk to about their grief. A Grief Companion is a "safe" person to talk to as he/she fully understands the grief journey, especially within the context of organ and tissue donation. Ten of our 45 trained Grief Companions gathered near Richmond. We recognized and honored the magnificent service these companions provide through extended one-on-one support for donor families. We've received a lot of feedback from the "Grief Partners," as they are called, telling us how important their Grief Companion has been to their grief and mourning [healing] process. Some even said "It has saved my life." Another purpose of the event was to share ideas and suggestions on how we can improve the Grief Companion program. And indeed there were many good ideas, which we will endeavor to incorporate into the program to make it even better. If you would like to know more about the Grief Companion program, go to our Donor Family Services website, Healing the Spirit at Select the menu heading Grief Support. While visiting our website, browse the other grief and mourning headings. Features include the Memorials section, The Healing Garden - a Child's Place for Remembering - and Healing Tears, where you can ask a question of our contributing world-renowned professional grief counselor, Dr. Lani Leary.

Visit LifeNet Health's website for more grief and loss support

Quarterly Newsletter - Winter 2012  

Our quarterly newsletter for LifeNet Health Donor Families.

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