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SWEET LIFE Bonding through a daughter’s special gift


SP Fu EC ll s IA to L ry 5 on K

IS ge SU 20 E !

PLUS…the unbelievable story about a boy named Superman

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WHO WE ARE NJ Sharing Network is a non-profit, federally-designated, organ procurement organization responsible for the recovery of organs and tissue for the nearly 5,000 New Jersey residents currently awaiting transplantation, and is part of the national recovery system, which is in place for the over 110,000 people on waiting lists.

CONTACT INFORMATION BY MAIL: NJ Sharing Network 691 Central Avenue New Providence, NJ 07974 PHONE: 1-800-SHARE-NJ (1-800-742-7365) 908-516-5400 / FAX: 908-516-5501


GOVERNING BOARD John J. Halperin, M.D. Chair Department of Neurosciences, Overlook Medical Center

Patrick M. Buddle, M.D. Vice Chair Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Jersey Shore University Medical Center

Vito A. Pulito Treasurer GE Healthcare

Richard G. Popiel, M.D. Secretary Vice President & Chief Medical Officer Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey

Judith E. Burgis Public Member

ACTS OF LOVE, SUPPORT AND SELFLESSNESS HONOR US Everywhere you turned that Sunday morning, there was love. The occasion was the inaugural NJ Sharing Network Foundation’s 5K Race to Save Lives, and people came from all over the state to share their love for family members who in their final moments gave the gift of life through organ donation. Organ recipients also came to honor donors and share their love and gratitude. If you joined us for our 5K, you know how smoothly it went. The rain held off and thousands of people came out to participate. What you may not be aware of is the many volunteers who were instrumental in making it a huge success. Volunteers took on a multitude of tasks, from helping to set up snacks, booths, barricades, take photographs to clean up. On behalf of NJ Sharing Network, I would like to thank the dozens of volunteers who helped make our 5K a tremendous success. We could not have done it without you. We also could not have done it without all who participated. Donor families were at the heart of the outpouring of love. Young girls walked in honor of their uncle. Parents walked in remembrance of a young son or daughter. And sons and daughters walked in honor of parents. Others stood on street corners or driveways and cheered on the 5K participants. Neighborhood children had scrawled messages of encouragement and gratitude in sidewalk chalk. We were and are humbled. And we are grateful and enthusiastic about the work ahead on behalf of the almost 5,000 New Jersey residents who await a life-saving organ transplant. This issue of Circle of Life magazine features a living donor and recipient on the cover, a first for the magazine. Of course, the Albanese family is well known to us at NJ Sharing Network. Donna Albanese chairs NJ Sharing Network Foundation’s board and is an enthusiastic and active volunteer on behalf of organ and tissue donation. It’s an honor to have her and all of you be a part our extended family.

Margaret Dreker Public Member

Edward J. Florio, Esq. Florio & Kenny, LLP

Bruce I. Goldstein, Esq. Sills Cummis & Gross PC

Joseph M. Gorrell, Esq. Brach Eichler, LLC

Aline M. Holmes, R.N.

Joseph S. Roth President and Chief Executive Officer NJ Sharing Network

Senior Vice President, Clinical Affairs New Jersey Hospital Association

Marc H. Lory Executive Vice President, Hospital Operations Meridian Health

Steven E. Ross. M.D. Director, Division of Trauma The Cooper Health System

Charles G. Walker Past Chair Director of Operations, Overlook Medical Center



NJ Sharing Network Foundation Executive Director Elisse Glennon, Foundation Board chairperson Donna Albanese, and President and CEO of NJ Sharing Network Joseph Roth join this year’s top fundraisers at a special Share NJ 5K thank you reception. See page 20 for story and photos of the inaugural 5K Race to Save Lives.

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ADVISORY BOARD Loretta Aigner, R.N. Transplant Center Administrator Representative

Remembering Ron Griffin A heart recipient, Ron Griffin—Griff to his friends—brought his message of organ donation to millions of people after receiving the heart of North Carolina Tarheels mascot Jason Ray. Ron’s charm and charisma, featured in an Emmy-winning piece on ESPN and and his hard work promoting organ and tissue donation sent the purest message about the extraordinary efforts to save lives through transplantation. Griff died this summer after living for more than four years with Jason’s heart; he cherished every day. Griff stands apart as someone special; he was always up for an education opportunity, talking to anyone and everyone about organ donation. An avid volunteer, he led organ donation registration drives, especially in the African American community, with the same energy he approached the national stage. On the national stage (Griff was featured on the Oprah show) he brought the same intimate, personal qualities for which he was known in his community. We can never calculate the number of people that registered to be organ donors as a result of Griff’s work or how many lives his work ultimately will save. He frequently visited Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital to encourage prospective recipients to stay positive, to be ready, that a miracle was out there. The strength he inspired surely kept them fighting – what would they and their families have lost had Griff not had those four years? Griff’s funeral service was evident of the many people whose lives he touched. Four years after Jason’s gift, reporters who had originally

Gail Clegg Organ and Tissue Donor Family Member Representative

Roseann DiBrienza, R.N., M.S. Hospital Administrator Representative

Katherine Gallante Voluntary Health Organization Representative

Stuart R. Geffner, M.D. Transplant Surgeon Representative

Michael Gould, M.D. Emergency Room Personnel Representative

David A. Laskow, M.D. Transplant Surgeon Representative

Debra L. Morgan Transplant Center Administrator Representative

Shamkant Mulgaonkar, M.D. Transplant Center Administrator Representative

Trish O’Keefe, R.N. Hospital Administrator Representative

Ty J. Olson, M.D. Neurosurgeon Representative

covered the story attended his funeral and wrote of his passing. Griff connected with Jason’s family and introduced them to Jason’s three other recipients and then made sure they all stayed in touch. They were represented at his funeral as well, a new extended family that he mixed with his own. Griff never stopped thanking the Rays and his doctors and NJ Sharing Network for Jason’s heart—like his personality, Griff’s appreciation was over-sized and contagious. It is we who should thank him because he gave Jason’s heart back to all of us. And he gave those of us who work at this every day a brilliant standard to live up to. Thank you, Griff. Perhaps his wife, Stephanie, put it best when she said that for Griff, “organ donation is not just the gift of organs but a complete gift of love.”

John S. Radomski, M.D. Transplant Surgeon Representative

Prakash Rao, PhD, MBA, FACHE, HCLD Human Histocompatibility Specialist Representative

Michael Shapiro, M.D. Transplant Surgeon Representative

Bruce Stroever Tissue Bank Representative

Harry Sun, M.D. Transplant Surgeon Representative

Mark J. Zucker, M.D. Transplant Center Administrator Representative

Remembering Beverly Hunt Beverly Ann Hunt, accounts receivable manager for NJ Sharing Network, passed away on May 11, 2011 after a long battle with cancer. She was only 50 years old. Born in Summit, Beverly resided in Woodbridge, for the past 26 years. She loved working for NJ Sharing Network and truly believed in the mission of saving lives through organ and tissue donation—she was even able to give the gift of corneas after she passed. She was a devoted mother to three boys, and a beloved friend. With a caring and loving heart, her determination was an inspiration to all who knew her. www.sharenj.org


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SHARING NEWS Fire, Police and EMS Events Highlight “Legacy of Heroes” Over the past six months, NJ Sharing Network's Senior Education Manager Jessica Melore has been actively addressing police, fire and EMS organizations about our Legacy of

Heroes initiative, a program for EMS, fire-fighters, and police officers from across the state dedicated to increasing organ donor registration among first responders in New Jersey.





Tribute to Heroes 5






Pictured above: 1.) PBA Golf Classic at Brownstone, Paterson; 2.) NJ Career Fire Chief’s luncheon; 3.) Trenton FMBA/PBA Rally; 4.) Ft. Lee PBA Blood and Donor Registry Drive; 5.) Atlantic City FMBA conference 6.) Atlantic City PBA conference; 7.) Atlantic City FMBA conference; 8.) Atlantic City FMBA conference; 9.) Trenton FMBA/PBA Rally; 10.) Police Officer Domenick Infantes Memorial Softball Outing.

NJ Cops Magazine and NJ State PBA Promote Organ Donation Awareness

The Second Annual CPR/AED Awareness Day was a Tribute to Heroes. Police officers, including one who performed CPR and used an automated external defibrillator (AED) on his son, teachers and a cheerleader whose life was saved were honored at the event held June 5 at Six Flags Great Adventure in Jackson. NJ Sharing Network’s Senior Education and Programs Manager, Jessica Melore, served as keynote speaker and guest of honor receiving the Inspiration Award. Jessica shared her story of surviving a massive heart attack, two bouts of cancer, a leg amputation and a heart transplant.

Jersey State Police Benevolent Association (NJSPBA). Police officers and security officials from all over the state registered to be organ and tissue donors and received information to share among their local memberships. For more information on how to get involved with these partnerships, please contact Jessica Melore at jessicam@sharenj.org. NJ Police Expo in Atlantic City

NJ Sharing Network was invited to attend the NJ Police Security Expo in Atlantic City on June 21st and 22nd. Our participation was supported by NJ Cops Magazine, which highlighted our Legacy of Heroes partnership on the cover of their May 2011 issue, and the New


FALL 2011

Mathew T. Giachetti Life Force, USA and Bob Sickles from LifeSource, Inc. are pictured with heart recipient, Jessica Melore, who shared her story at the event.

The cover of the May 2011 issue of New Jersey Cops prominently featured NJ Sharing Network’s Legacy Of Heroes campaign.

We wish to thank all our heroes for the work they do everyday, and for their tireless dedication to the “Legacy of Heroes”program

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Common Questions About Organ & Tissue Donation Who can become an organ & tissue donor? Anyone can decide to be a donor. A person’s physical condition, not his or her age, determines the potential for organ and tissue donation and is evaluated on a case-by-case basis at the time of death. Visit your local Motor Vehicle Agency and ask for the donor designation to be added to your driver’s license or ID card and let your family see that you support organ donation. Or visit www.donatelifenj.org to register online.

Which organs can be donated? Currently, someone may be able to donate his or her heart, kidneys, liver, lungs, pancreas, and small intestine depending on their age, medical condition and circumstances at the time of death. Many patients who are organ donors may also be candidates for tissue donation.

Is there an age limit for donation? There is no age limit for organ donation. NJ Sharing Network has successfully recovered organs from donors as young as a few days to adults in their 90s. A patient's medical history is more important than the age of the donor. If a patient has a normal functioning organ and is in good health, then organ donation is an option.

How are donated organs allocated? They are allocated on the following criteria: match with donor, medical emergency and time on waiting list. A patient’s age, gender, race, ethnicity or wealth do not affect who receives available organs.

Will my own medical care be compromised if the hospital is aware that I have an organ donor designation on my license? The decision to be an organ donor will in no way affect the level of medical care for a sick or injured person. The team of doctors and nurses involved in treating the patient is not involved with the transplant/recovery team, which is called only after death has occurred.

How to Register to Become an Organ and Tissue Donor Maria Nunn-Ling, Donor Family Member

Please visit www.donatelifenj.org, and click on “Become a Donor”

1 2

Complete the demographic information form and hit submit or click “No thanks, please take me to the online registry”. This brings you to the secure NJ MVC Donate Life NJ registration page.

IMPORTANT AT THIS POINT—Do NOT provide any information.

Click on the USER ID NUMBER REQUEST link to begin registration. Go to “User Authentication” and enter your credentials: zip code, driver’s license number, and social security number and click “continue.” Click on box to register online and click submit. Click on the circle to donate organ and click “continue.” Review this page and click on submit. Print the organ donor confirmation page for your records.



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SOCIAL Jersey City Medical Center Wins “Race to the Top”

Eighteen NJ Hospital Teams competed in the “Race to the Top” Award for the largest hospital fundraising team in the Share NJ 5K. Jersey City Medical Center was honored with the event’s top prize for their team, “Enhancing Lives and the JCMC Sharing Team,” who together raised $2,990. JCMC’s race participants and team members as they received the award are pictured, left to right: Janice Kozzi RN, Jen Jones RN, Joseph Scott CEO, Nicole Sardinas RN, Mabel LaForgia RN, Zadith Colon, NJ Sharing Network.

Student Volunteers to Honor Cousin

Westfield High School student Zoe Greenberg, along with NJ Sharing Network's Morgan Johnson, Whitney Downer and Beverly Torok of the Westfield H.S. Physical Education Department. Greenberg has been proactive in bringing organ donation awareness to her school in honor of her cousin, Jennifer Boehle, who was a cornea donor in 2007.

Westfield High School honor student Zoe Greenberg has been active in raising awareness about organ and tissue donation in honor of her cousin, Jennifer Boehle, a cornea donor. A junior at Toms River High School North, Jennifer died as a result of a car accident in 2007. Zoe has held several events to help spread the word about organ and tissue donation, including speaking to a Driver Education class of 200 sophomores, along with NJ Sharing Network staff, on February 15, and an Organ Donation Awareness Day for fellow students at Westfield High, where she is a model student, on June 6. When she took Driver Education last year, Zoe said the topic of organ donation was not covered in depth. She decided to change that with a program that included NJ Sharing Network staff and an organ recipient. “I really wanted my peers to have all of the facts,” she said.

Man Cycles 50 Miles in 50 States to Raise Donor Awareness

David Bird, left, joins David Landsberg on his “Donors Rock” ride.


David Landsberg, a kidney recipient, rode his bicycle 50 miles in all 50 states and within 51 days to raise awareness of the need for organ donors. Landsberg’s journey had him driving his truck more than 14,000 miles and riding his bike 51 times for a total of 2550 miles in all conditions, including heat, rain, wind and hills. He was joined along the way by transplant recipients, donor families and people who wanted to support the cause. The ride received TV, newspaper, radio and online blog coverage. Partnering with Donate Life America, his journey began in Austin on July 4 and ended in Oklahoma City on August 23. On July 16, he was greeted at High Gear Cyclery in Stirling by cheering NJ Sharing Network volunteers,

including David Bird, an avid cyclist and liver recipient, who rode with Landsberg for the New Jersey portion of his trek. “We signed up donors along the way and spread the message about the importance of organ, eye, and tissue donation,” Landsberg said in a thank you message to all of his supporters. “We have planted seeds that will grow and continue to give fruit for many years to come. This ride is over but our job is not. We must continue to educate the public so we can continue to help the people on the waiting list.” He plans to do future Donors Rock rides. For more information, visit www.societyfororgandonorawareness.org, www.donatelife.net or www.sharenj.org.

To see more pictures from our events, please visit our event section at sharenj.org.

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Jersey City School Re-Named After Donor and Fallen Officer P.S. 23, the Jersey City elementary school once attended by fallen Jersey City Police Officer Marc Anthony DiNardo, now bears his name. The name change was made official during a renaming ceremony attended by family and friends, including wife Mary DiNardo, on May 25. DiNardo was one of five officers caught in a 2009 shootout and later died of his injuries. He gave the gift of life to others through organ donation. It was the outpouring of support for the decorated officer’s selfless act that prompted the launch of the Legacy of Heroes, a partnership between NJ Sharing Network and police, fire and emergency workers to register organ donors among those organizations. Mary DiNardo sought the name change in honor of her husband, a Jersey City native who valued his Jersey City education and selflessly gave to his community. The school on Duncan Avenue is in the neighborhood where DiNardo grew up.

Lights, Camera… Take Action! Double lung recipient E. Denise Peoples is featured in a Comcast commercial that aired over the summer in Union county, and featured testimonials from recipients.

Students Visit NJ Sharing Network

ER Staff Supports Donate Life Month

Students from St. Claire’s School Robotics Adventure visited NJ Sharing Network, where they were given a tour and learned about organ and tissue donation.

Staff from the Emergency Room at Capital Health Regional Medical Center show their green bracelets in support of organ and tissue donation during Donate Life Month.

Healthcare 101 For the second consecutive year, over 75 middle school students participating in “Project Health Links” visited NJ Sharing Network to learn about different job roles within a healthcare organization. Employees from various departments, including Information Systems and Clinical, discussed their roles in saving lives through organ and tissue donation.

New Quilts of Love on Display Family and friends of tissue donor, Rebecca Larsen, gathered at the New Quilts of Love reception at NJ Sharing Network Headquarters in New Providence, NJ. This was a wonderful opportunity for donor families to come together and share stories about their loved one and view the new Quilts of Love.


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Adele Albanese with daughter Donna, who donated a kidney to her mom.

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La Dolce ) ! e f i l t e e w s e h



Mother-daughter bond becomes even sweeter after life-saving transplant A woman rushed behind the Dairy Queen (DQ) counter—a no-no in any food establishment—hugging and kissing Donna Albanese before she could even react. “Thank you for saving my life,” the woman said, as she embraced Donna. The phrase immediately flashed Donna back nine years to the hospital room where her mother, Adele Albanese, was recovering from a kidney transplant. Donna, too, was recovering from surgery. As a living donor, she had donated one of her kidneys to her mother just hours earlier. “Thank you for saving my life.’ That was the first thing my mother said to me,” Donna recalled. “Thank you for saving my life.” That was May 29, 2002. A year earlier, Adele’s nephrologist, Dr. Paul Fine of Morristown, had discovered that she had a virus that had attacked her kidneys and told her she would eventually need a transplant. Adele cannot say enough about Dr. Fine, who she considers her lifeline. “Dr Fine is unique. I am extremely confident putting my health in his hands because of his attentiveness, calm approach and breadth of knowledge. I am so fortunate to have found him.”

HARD WORK & LAUGHTER The Albanese family is as tight knit as it is loving. Three generations have worked together seven days a week since Joseph and Adele bought the Plainfield DQ in 1976. They often vacation together. And they laugh together—a lot!—as a sense of humor runs in the family. So, when Adele’s kidney function decreased to the point of needing a transplant, of course the family quickly pulled together to be tested as a donor match. As it turned out, Donna was the best match. Adele was worried for her daughter, who had a husband and three children. “It’s hard to take anything from your children,” Adele says. She needn’t have worried. A no-nonsense business woman, Donna approached the surgery as she would anything else. She did her homework, researched the process, and discussed the matter with her family before making the decision to donate. “My #1 concern was my health,” said Donna, who was thinking of her own young family. “My other concern was what was she going to do; was she going to respect the kidney?” Adele adds, “She made no bones about it.

Otherwise she wouldn’t give it to me.” Donna had to know her mother was going to make a sacrifice of her own and stop smoking. “She gave up part of her body,” says Adele, who hasn’t smoked a cigarette since. “It’s only fair that I do what I can to take care of it.” It also helped that they had a family member, Maria DeLauro, Donna’s sister and Adele’s daughter, who was a nurse and could help them understand the organ donation process. The testing took about eight weeks and then the women's surgeries were scheduled, making it possible for Adele to avoid dialysis altogether. Dr. Fine continues to monitor Adele's after care and inspires her to take good care of herself. SHARING THEMSELVES Today, organ donation is a passion for the entire family. Maria changed positions and now works as Director of Performance Improvement for NJ Sharing Network, and Donna is the Chairperson of NJ Sharing Network Foundation’s Board. All 12 family members (and Adele’s two (continued on pg. 10) www.sharenj.org


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La Dolce Vita (continued) sisters) walked into the hospital the day of Adele and Donna’s surgeries; all 12 are now registered organ donors, and all 12, along with dozens of friends and supporters, participated as one of the top teams in the June 12 NJ Sharing Network Foundation’s 5K Race to Save Lives, raising $8,576 in the process. Adele walked around the parking lot instead of the 5K route; she enthusiastically cheered on the DQ team and helped hand out DQ ice cream cones to 5K participants. Donna and Adele routinely speak to groups and at civic functions, sharing their story to help educate others about organ and tissue donation. Their speaking schedule includes visits to: Bristol Myers, Muhlenberg School of Nursing, and Liberty Science Center, where they participate in Live From Kidney Transplant, a surgical procedure where visitors witness a live donor kidney transplant in real time. “We share what we’ve learned so that we can help others,” says Donna matter of factly. “Because of the position we’re in, we’re able to impact lives in a bigger way, so why not?” These days, Adele continues to work alongside her daughter and her grandchildren at the DQ, where information about organ and tissue donation is readily available to customers. She had open heart surgery earlier this year, requiring two new valves; she jokes that

Plainfield Mayor Sharon Robinson-Briggs was on hand at the ribbon cutting ceremony, marking the expansion of the Albanese family business, Dairy Queen, in Plainfield.

she got “a cow and a pig.” The 79-year-old Adele laughingly adds, “I could go another 20 years this way if I get all new parts.” “She’s bionic,” Donna says of her mom. As for herself, Donna says, “I don’t feel like I’m missing anything. I feel like I’m getting something, a healthy mother and grandmother for my children.”

“We share what we’ve learned so that we can help others.” -Donna Albanese, Board Chairperson NJ Sharing Network Foundation Given their civic involvement with charities, schools, family centers, Plainfield Chamber of Commerce, etc., the Albaneses are well known in the area. As owners of one of the top DQs in the country, the Albanese family has been living the sweet life—and generously sharing it through their philanthropic efforts.

The DQ business is an Albanese family affair.


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SERVING UP ORGAN DONATION INFO Since Donna and Adele’s surgeries happened shortly after Mother’s Day, making it the ultimate Mother’s Day gift, the motherdaughter duo’s story, has received lots of media attention. As a result, people wanting information on living donations seek out the Albaneses. They ask questions of most family members, but especially of Donna; they are always curious about her health, especially since many have

never met a living donor. Susan, the woman with arms around Donna’s neck, had been one of those people. She used to come into the DQ and watch Donna and Adele work and interact with customers and each other. It is something to which Donna has grown accustomed. People approach her when they are ready. When Susan spoke to Donna for the first time, she told her: “Watching you and your mom, it gives me hope.” Susan had gone on to confide in Donna that she needed a kidney, and that while her brother was a good match, he didn’t want to give up one of his kidneys. A runner, he feared how his own health may be compromised. Donna asked for his contact information and sent him an email. Donna, who plays tennis regularly, shared with him that by getting educated she learned that “I could save my mother’s life, without risking my life and my future.” She shared her story and urged him to simply get informed. She never received a response. Months later, Donna had not recognized Susan as the same woman now hugging her, because she looked so much healthier and full of life than the first time they met. As it turned out, her brother did donate his kidney to Susan, thanks in large part to Donna’s email. Susan couldn’t thank her enough. “That’s what life’s about, it’s about family,” says Donna. “It’s about what you can do for other people.”

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ABOVE AND BEYOND Grateful Organ Recipient Shines as Volunteer When Jenna Miller learned that NJ Sharing Network offices were moving into her New Providence neighborhood, she jumped at the chance to volunteer. Jenna, 32, walks to NJ Sharing Network offices twice a week to help with office duties. Like many volunteers, Jenna has first-hand experience with organ donation. She is the recipient of not one, but two kidneys. Jenna was only 4 years old when she was diagnosed with Alport Syndrome, a rare genetic disorder that damages tiny blood vessels in the kidneys. Within a matter of weeks after the her first transplant, the kidney failed. Jenna went on dialysis for several years until she received a second donor kidney at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center. She does not know either of her donors, but has hopes of eventually connecting with their family members. Every August, Jenna travels to Johannes-

burg to share her personal experience with South African high school students and register organ donors. August is Donate Life Month in Johannesburg. Through her volunteer work, she has met many other donor family members and organ recipients. “Listening to their stories is always inspiring and heart warming,” she said. NJ Sharing Network employees praise Jenna’s work, which includes sharing the organization’s work via social media. “Jenna is an outstanding office volunteer and has a wonderful personality,” said Pierre Embrey, Education Manager – High School Outreach. Whitney Downer, Development and Education Coordinator, added: “Jenna is committed to supporting our mission in any way she can.” Jenna wants to do even more. “I want to get more people to be aware of organ donation,” she said.

In addition to being a star volunteer, Jenna uses her keen photography skills to document NJSN events—often posting them on her blog and website—to spread the importance of organ and tissue donation through social media.

LET’S GET CLINICAL Lab Symposium Brings Together National Experts in HLA Antibodies On September 16th, NJ Sharing Network welcomed a panel of distinguished speakers who are key opinion leaders in their areas of expertise to a symposium on HLA antibodies entitled, “HLA Antibodies- From the Laboratory to the Clinical Floor.” The conference was

held in collaboration with One Lambda the pioneering company in transplant testing. The symposium content consisted of presentations on the basics of antibody detection and characterization, their clinical relevance, impact on therapeutic practices and logistics of testing.

Left: The distinguished speakers at the conference are pictured above from left to right: Shamkant Mulgaonkar, MD, Prakash Rao, Phd, MBA, FACHE, HCLD, Rita R. Alloway, PharmD, BCPS, FCCP, Milagros (Millie) Samaniego, MD, Adriana Zeevi, PhD, (D) ABHI, Paul I. Terasaki, BA, MA, PhD, T. Mohanakumar, PhD and Edward Kraus, MD. Right: Robert A. Bray, PhD, (ABHI), HCLD (ABB) and Dr. Rao.

Online CME Course The University of Medicine and Dentistry (UMDNJ) has partnered with NJ Sharing Network to develop an innovative education program that will help guide physicians, nurses and other health care professionals through the complex, and sometimes emotional topics related to organ and tissue donation. By educating clinicians, we will instill the confidence and certitude needed to counsel patients to make informed and appropriate decisions for themselves and their families. The online CME course was launched as part of the New Jersey Heroes Act, adopted in 2008, to advocate for organ and tissue donation by educating the public and informing them of their right to choose donation. Other partners include Gift of Life Donor Program and the Discovery Institute of Medical Education. For more information, visit: http://ccoe.umdnj.edu/HeroesAct/. www.sharenj.org


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A Baseball, Butterflies and a Boy Named

Superman By Carrie Keating

1982 Long Island, N.Y. The school bus came to a slow stop with the hissing of air brakes; the door opened, and two 11-year-old boys leaped out. The two friends — George and Tim — tore down the street, excitedly calling to one another to see who would make it to George’s house first. Breathless, the boys arrived simultaneously at the porch. “Hey, you want to see something really cool?” George asked, disappearing through the front door. Moments later, he reappeared, pushing a baseball into Tim’s hands. Tim looked down at the ball, turning it over and over, reading the names scrawled on the white leather. “Wow, this really is cool,” he whispered in awe. It was covered with signatures from the entire 1979 Mets team. He fingered the ball’s red threading, hypnotically reading each signature: “Lee Mazzilli, Frank Taveras, Doug Flynn…..” George’s eyebrows furrowed. He took a breath and asked, “Hey, you want to make a trade for the baseball?” “Really?” Tim asked incredulously. “Sure. You really like it,” George said, grinning. The two boys then ran the second race of the afternoon, heading to Tim’s house to find what treasures he had to seal the deal.

Fall 2008 Grand Blanc, Mich. Tim Rooney had just relocated from New


FALL 2011

Jersey to Michigan with his wife, Charlene, and their 3-year-old daughter for Tim’s new job and to be closer to Charlene’s family. Slowly tackling boxes, the coupled chatted, eager to get settled. Peering into a box, Charlene pulled out an autographed baseball. “What should we do with this old baseball?” she asked. Memories of his childhood friend George flooded Tim’s thoughts as he took the ball. He hadn’t seen it in ages. “Do you want to display it on the mantle?” Charlene asked. “Maybe we should put it on eBay and see if it’s worth anything? Or do you just want to pack it back up?” Tim finally responded. “I’ve had this almost 30 years, and I really don’t feel like it’s rightfully mine,” he said. “Back in sixth grade, I made some sort of trade for this ball with my friend George. I’ve often wondered what his father and grandfather said to him when he told them he traded it. I’d never feel right selling it.” Tim made a mental note to find George and return the ball.

Spring 2010 Port Monmouth, N.J. With an engaging smile and warm friendly eyes, Romeo rarely went unnoticed. Called “Rome” by those closest to him, the blond, tousle-headed 13-year-old loved spending time with family and friends. He’d spend time playing drums, tossing around his catcher’s mitt

or engaging in a wild round of “Halo” with buddies. He’d climb the tallest trees and not hesitate to leap off the roof of the family home. And his fondness for jokes kept friends laughing. Spring 2010 brought with it many activities for Romeo. One of his favorites was playing catcher for the Mother Theresa Hawks baseball team. An avid Yankees fan, he’d head to games with his dad, George, whenever possible. As the end of the school year drew near, Romeo prepared for graduation. His junior high years were coming to a close.

Spring 2010 Grand Blanc, Mich. One April evening, Tim sat at his computer, resolved to find his friend and return the baseball to its rightful owner. He soon found George Van Buskirk via a Google search. George was married, lived in New Jersey and worked as a movie producer. Tim emailed him and quickly received a response. Over the next few weeks, the two continued emailing. George told Tim he’d love to have the baseball for sentimental reasons. It was a gift from his beloved grandfather Romeo, who died in 1996 just before the birth of his son, who was named after him. His son loved baseball; the ball would be the perfect gift for his upcoming graduation. The packaged arrived May 24. George smiled at the box. He finally held the baseball he had traded away 27 years before. He couldn’t wait for his son to get home from school so he could give him the treasured

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ball. He and his wife, Amy, were so proud of Rome, watching him grow from a shy boy to an energetic teen — affectionate, protective and loyal — who loved helping others. George knew he was blessed with a wonderful family. Amy was a nurse and a loving mother to Romeo and Olivia, their beautiful, free-spirited 9-year-old. Soon, the front door flew open. “I’m home,” Romeo yelled, immediately flinging off his back pack, shedding his hoodie and kicking off shoes. “I have an early graduation present for you,” George said, beaming. “It belonged to my grandfather, and I know he would want you to have it.” He handed over the baseball, explaining the story of how it found its way home. Rome stared at the ball, trying to make out the names inked into the worn leather. “This is awesome!” he said. Then a serious look crossed his face. “I feel like this ball is a gift from my great-grandpa that I never got to meet.” Father and son hugged.

headed to the car. “Mom, hurry up. I want to get to school.” Amy, home from her shift, was driving him and Olivia to the bus stop. The trip down the street and around the block didn’t take long. The three of them got out and stood at the curb. It was almost 7:25 a.m., and the bus would arrive soon, but Amy felt chilled and told Olivia to get back in the car with her until it arrived. “I don’t want to get into the car,” Olivia complained. But Amy persisted until her daughter finally followed. Romeo was humming, his back to the street. He didn’t see the northbound 2002 blue Dodge Caravan suddenly careen across the road. Amy, looking out the windshield, sat helplessly horrified as she watched something no parent should see. The van jumped the curb, striking Romeo, then hitting a fire hydrant and a utility pole before stopping. She leaped out of the car, frantically calling George on her cell. “Rome was hit by a car,” she cried. She ran to Romeo, cradling him. Whispering to him, comforting him, she told him not to

“…If we posed this question to Rome, he’d do it in a second. He’d say ‘yes’ and relish the opportunity to be a hero.” —George Van Buskirk June 2010 Atlantic Highlands, N.J. The eighth-graders at Mother Theresa Regional School in Atlantic Highlands rehearsed for graduation. Students, dressed in caps and gowns, filled the room with excited chatter. Afterwards, Romeo’s best friend, Brendan, asked, “Hey, want to go check out the butterflies and see if they’re coming out of their pupa stage, yet?” Brendan asked. “Sure,” Romeo said. The eighth-grade class was growing butterflies and hoped they’d emerge in time for their graduation.

June 11, 2010 Port Monmouth, N.J. The morning of Romeo’s graduation dawned like most in June, chilly but with the hope of warmth to come. Romeo was excited about graduating. He grabbed his backpack and

be frightened; he’d be OK. As a nurse, she knew he was seriously injured—but as a mother, she prayed she was wrong. Not long after, George—breathless, barefoot and riding a bicycle—made it to the bus stop. While emergency personnel worked on Romeo, George comforted the van’s distraught driver. A state police helicopter then airlifted Romeo to a trauma center in Neptune, N.J. Romeo sustained a traumatic brain injury, the neurosurgeon later told them. The outcome looked grim. He was whisked away to surgery to relieve swelling in his brain. The family who had planned for his graduation now pulled together for him in an entirely different way— praying for a miracle.

June 12, 2010 Neptune, N.J. George and Amy spent the night alongside

Romeo as he clung to life. They took turns holding his hand, talking to him, and comforting him and each other. They hung onto the possibility he might recover. The night was long, filled with mixed emotions—pain and grief alternating with love and hope. Neither slept much. Instead, they relived the years he had been in their lives: his adorable angelic face as a baby and toddler; the shy young boy who later emerged from his shell to become the family’s cornerstone. It seemed impossible—too excruciating a thought—that a day could come without him in it. In the morning, Romeo’s physician, Dr. Bruce Grossman, told them that their son’s brain might not be functioning and he needed to run more tests. By noon, the testing was complete. A health care team assembled to speak with George, Amy and their parents. Dr. Grossman was kind, speaking gently, but his words cut more deeply and hurt more than anything they had ever suffered. “Romeo no longer has any brain function. He is no longer with us and was pronounced dead as of 12 p.m. today.” George and Amy sat in shock. How could their beloved Rome be dead? His heart was still beating; he was warm and pink. Amy, as a nurse, already knew the answer, but at that moment, she was a mother—a mother experiencing gutwrenching pain after hearing her child was gone. “What happens next?” George asked. Dr. Grossman told them how Romeo could save other lives through organ and tissue donation. “Absolutely,” George said immediately. “If we posed this question to Rome, he’d do it in a second. He’d say ‘yes’ and relish the opportunity to be a hero.”

June 18, 2010 Middletown, N.J. The day of Romeo’s services, many came to show their love and support. Students from his school came en masse, especially his classmates. His friends had nicknamed him “Superman” because he was quick to help others. To honor him, students wore “RIP Romeo Superman” bracelets his best friend created and placed Superman stickers on his casket. The light and dark blue tassels of his classmates’ graduation caps also covered the casket in memory of their friend.

continued on page 14 www.sharenj.org


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(continued from pg. 13) The butterflies, due to emerge June 12, instead chose the day of Romeo’s funeral to complete their transformation. As students released them, they peacefully fluttered into the sky. Higher and higher they flew, up where the students imagined Romeo Superman—flying high, saving lives.

July 2010 New Providence, N.J. Barbara Turci stared at the phone number written on the yellow note stuck to her desktop. Since her brother Tim’s recent call, she couldn’t stop thinking about the Van Buskirks. He had told her the story behind the baseball, its return and how his childhood friend’s son had died. George had emailed him about his son’s death and to tell him the baseball had been buried with Romeo, Tim told his sister, adding, “He felt I needed to know that it had arrived home and found its place just in time. But Tim had another coincidence to share regarding Romeo’s obituary. In lieu of flowers, the family requested donations be made to New Jersey Organ and Tissue Sharing Network, where Barbara happened to be Assistant Director of organ recovery services. After talking with Tim, she considered reaching out to George and Amy but wasn’t sure they were ready to hear from her. Encouraged by coworkers, she finally made the call. Amy answered. Barbara told her about the patients who received transplants and their outcomes and the research done because of their generous gift. Amy was gracious, quickly putting Barbara at ease. She then revealed her connection to the baseball. Her brother was George’s friend who

On June 12, 2011, the Van Buskirks, along with 50 family members and friends, participated in NJ Sharing Network Foundation’s first 5K Race to Save Lives. Team Romeo Delta Force walked in honor of Rome and raised more than $10,000.

had returned it. The baseball had meant so much to Rome, Amy told her. It was with him when he went to heaven to meet his greatgrandfather for the first time. Barbara hung up, quickly sending Tim an email about the conversation. She had just sent it when Romelle Lysenko, a family aftercare coordinator, came into her office. “This is Romeo Van Buskirk’s grandmother, Katherine Soule. She happened to be in the area today and wanted to stop by to say ‘thank you’ to our staff for all they had done for her family.” “Did you know I was just speaking with your daughter?” Barbara asked, baffled by yet another coincidence. Katherine hadn’t known; she had impulsively decided to stop in. The entire situation awed Barbara—all of the connections that linked Romeo’s family to hers and NJ Sharing Network. But to those who knew Rome, it wasn’t so surprising. Maybe his ability to inspire and guide others continued after life.

November 2010 Port Monmouth, N.J.

Childhood friends Tim Rooney and George Van Buskirk, forever linked by a baseball, attended the same school in 1983.


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Five months had passed since their tragic loss. They felt the pain of Romeo’s absence every day. But Amy believed Rome was exactly where he was destined to be the day of the accident. Looking back, horrific as it was, she said she’s grateful to have been with him. “He’s my baby; I had to be there. There was nowhere else for me to be that morning,” she said. “I will never have to wonder how things went. I know exactly what happened.”

The Van Buskirks are comforted knowing Romeo saved three lives. “Always the hero,” George said of his son. “I know that a piece of him is still out there, still living and functioning. It brings a huge amount of comfort. He remains tethered to this world through organ donation. We were very happy to hear that a younger man with children was saved; he really was just starting out in life. Rome also saved an older gentleman. A third gentleman was married with three children.” On her worst days, “knowing he was able to help others comforts me,” Amy said. Sometimes she thinks about those three men and what it was like for them to receive the life-saving calls, she said. “How grateful I would have been if someone had called to say they could save Rome.” Carrie Keating, R.N., C.C.R.N., C.P.T.C., is a transplant coordinator with New Jersey Organ and Tissue Sharing Network. She met the Van Buskirks at the hospital June 12, 2010, and helped the family following their son’s passing.

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ACT LOCAL, SAVE LIVES! NJ Sharing Network has launched “Act Local: Save Lives!”—a campaign designed to reach communities locally and urge them to take action. We are creating a task force in each of our 14 counties, gathering key volunteers and other local representatives to develop and implement a strategy to reach the nationwide goal of having half of the U.S. population register as organ and tissue donors. With 30.6% of the 18+ population registered as organ and tissue donors in New Jersey, our state ranks near the bottom, #41 out of the 50 states. By bringing key community leaders and volunteers together, we hope to energize local communities and find ways to bridge the gap to achieve the national goal of 50% registered donors. Interested in participating? You are invited to attend any of these meetings and join more than one task force if you prefer. Please contact Whitney Downer at wdowner@sharenj.org or (908) 516-5431 for meeting dates in your area and to RSVP.

2011 NJ ORGAN AND TISSUE DONORS BY HOSPITAL Organ University Jersey Shore Robert Wood Johnson Cap. Hlth. Fuld Cooper Jersey City St. Joseph Overlook Hackensack Lourdes Saint Barnabas St. Peter’s J.F.K. Valley Chilton Christ Clara Maass Hamilton Hunterdon Ocean Princeton Rahway Riverview Saint Clare’s Denville St. Mary’s Passaic St. Michael's

Bone 9 8 8 6 6 5 5 4 3 3 3 3 2 2 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1

Currently, the following counties have leaders, but are still seeking task force members: COUNTY




Jeff Isaacs



Maureen Jaret



Elisse Glennon



Rich Hayes



Selena Palmer Candi Feinberg

selenagpalmer@hotmail.com craftycandi@optonline.net


Erin Edwards


Monmouth/ Ocean

Donna Kuchinski



Tom Pierno



Barbara Kellam-Scott



Elizabeth Stamler


Warren/ Hunterdon

Chris Butler


Overlook Our Lady of Lourdes Jersey Shore Robert Wood Johnson Community Hackensack Raritan Bay Old Bridge Riverview Cooper Morristown University Chilton Clara Maass Hamilton J.F.K. Jersey City Newton Ocean Princeton Raritan Bay Perth Amboy St. Joseph Valley Bayshore Cap. Hlth. Fuld Holy Name Monmouth Rahway Somerset Saint Clare’s Denville Atlantic Rehab Christ Englewood Hackettstown Hunterdon Kimball Mountainside Non-Hospital Palisades Saint Barnabas Saint Clare’s Sussex St. Mary’s Passaic St. Michael Trinitas Warren

Skin 13 8 7 6 5 5 5 5 4 4 4 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1

Overlook Jersey Shore Community Hackensack Riverview Cap. Hlth. Fuld J.F.K. Jersey City Lourdes Raritan Bay Old Bridge Robert Wood Johnson University Cooper Princeton Raritan Bay Perth Amboy Chilton Clara Maass Hamilton Newton Ocean St. Joseph Valley Bayshore Centrastate Hunterdon Monmouth Morristown Saint Clare’s Denville St. Francis St. Michael Atlantic Rehab Christ Hackettstown Holy Name Kimball Mountainside Non-Hospital Palisades Rahway Saint Barnabas Saint Clare’s Dover Saint Clare’s Sussex St. Mary’s Passaic Trinitas Warren

9 7 6 6 6 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 4 4 4 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1

Table reflects data collected January-June 2011 .



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SUPPORT OUR MISSION NJ Sharing Network Foundation generates philanthropic support for the various programs of NJ Sharing Network. Your support can help increase the number of lives saved through organ and tissue donation. Please make a contribution today at www.njsharingnetworkfoundation.org

FOUNDATION BOARD Donna Albanese, Chairperson Dairy Queen of Plainfield Resident of Scotch Plains

Alberta D’Addio, Secretary Resident of Watchung

Phyllis L. Elin, Vice Chair Atlantic, Tomorrow’s Office Resident of Morristown

Dear Friends of NJ Sharing Network Foundation, Thank you seems so inadequate when expressing our gratitude to all of our supporters, volunteers and sponsors who made the June 12 5K Race to Save Lives the tremendous triumph that it was. It was an undertaking filled with love and support for a common good. To have the turnout that we did—more than 4,000 people walked, ran, were carried or pushed (there were lots of strollers, after all) across the finish line—for our first 5K was heartwarming to all involved in the planning and preparation, a fitting affirmation to the mission that brings us to work everyday. Contributions totaled more than $450,000 to continue NJ Sharing Network’s education, research and life-saving efforts. We are especially grateful to all of our sponsors, without whose support this event would not have been possible. In another signature event, our 13th Annual Golf & Tennis Classic raised $135,000, plus an additional $15,000 from our 50/50 drawing. It was a beautiful day at the prestigious Plainfield Country Club, and we thank all our sponsors who helped make this event possible. Lastly, our board, which welcomed two new members Lenore Ford and Peter Rooney, was committed to making 2011 our best year yet, and with your support and participation, we have made good on that commitment. Thank you more than 4,000 times over.

Thomas Ludlum, Esq., Treasurer City of Paterson Law Department Ludlum Law Offices Resident of Glen Rock

Marla Bace Brinton Eaton Resident of Berkeley Heights

Elisse E. Glennon Executive Director eglennon@sharenj.org

Phyllis A. Caputo, RN Resident of Fairfield

J.D. de Leon Resident of Jersey City

Lenore C. Ford Resident of Morristown

Derlys M. Gutierrez, Esq. Adams Stern Gutierrez & Lattiboudere, LLC Resident of Montclair

Philip S. Kolm Investors Bank , Commercial Banking Group Resident of Fort Lee

Deo Leading New Research at NJ Sharing Network Lab Prediction of genetic signatures to improve patient outcomes

Marisa Patawaran-Tonnesen Impact Wealth Advisory Group, LLC Resident of Randolph

Anthony E. Pizzutillo Smith Pizzutillo LLC Resident of Lawrenceville

Stephen Priolo NJN Public Television & Radio Resident of Voorhees

Mark E. Reagan Marsh, Inc., Global Construction Practice Resident of Basking Ridge

Peter Rooney Ogilvy CommonHealth Worldwide Resident of Mendham

Bernard Simon Resident of Edison

Myles Varley Personal Resource Management Associates, Inc. Resident of Mount Olive Township

Ex-Officio Members: Joseph Roth

Barry Newman

President and CEO NJ Sharing Network

Chief Financial Officer NJ Sharing Network

Elisse Glennon Executive Director NJ Sharing Network Foundation

Dr. Dayanand Deo joined NJ Sharing Network as Clinical Laboratory Scientist in the Molecular Diagnostics Laboratory. Dr. Deo was previously employed as a Scientist at Roche Pharmaceutical Group in Nutley. He earned his Ph.D. in India from Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, Chandigarh. He brings to the lab extensive experience in Molecular Biology research. His current research project, under the guidance of Dr. Prakash Rao, COO, Laboratory Operations and Business Development, is to predict molecular and genetic signatures, which will help recipients better respond to transplanted organs. His work could drastically decrease costs for patients, as well as ensure the recipient is receiving medication that will enhance their organ functionality.

Dr. Dayanand Deo recently joined NJ Sharing Network’s Lab, where his research could lead to better care and savings for organ recipients.


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OUNDATION NEWS • FOUNDATION NEWS Zan’s Garden Plants Seeds for Organ Donation A path made of red brick pavers leads to a beautifully tranquil garden with a koi-filled pond, fountain and a bronze statue of a beautiful young girl releasing butterflies. An inscription at the base of the statue reads: In her last hour she gave a lifetime. It is a concrete reminder of the circle of life. The statue, created by Tom River sculptor Brian Hanlon, honors 13-year-old Alexandra Rose "Zan" Tozzi, who died from injuries suffered in a car accident and gave the gift of live to others through organ and tissue donation. The flower-filled garden is located at Jersey

Shore University Medical Center, where Zan’s father, Dr. John Tozzi works in the orthopedic rehabilitation department. It’s open to hospital staff and visitors. Some of the pavers are emblazoned with names of more than 100 people who also gave the gift of organ and tissue donation at Jersey Shore. The garden, which was opened in May with a special memorial service and program, was built through private donations and fundraisers, as well as a grant from the NJ Sharing Network Foundation.

High School Heroes Program Seeks ‘Twigs‘ Contribution to Foundation Teacher Input The High School Heroes (HSH) education program is asking teachers to respond to a survey for the 2011-2012 school year. Please let us know if you would be willing to share this survey with high school personnel in your community. To help increase donor designations, we hope to train health teachers to incorporate organ donation education into their classroom instruction on an annual basis. The HSH program continues to expand across the state after a very successful pilot program in 2008-2009. For more information, please email Pierre Embrey, Ed.D., at pembrey@sharenj.org or Whitney Downer at wdowner@sharenj.org.

Wall of Heroes On May 20th, 10 new donor tributes were unveiled to loved one’s families at the Jersey City “Wall of Heroes” in honor or organ and tissue donors from that medical center. Wanda Dabney and her family are pictured at the unveiling as they stand by the photo of Lamont Dabney, who gave the gift of life.

Donate Life Twigs of the Overlook Medical Center Auxiliary, a volunteer group dedicated to promoting organ and tissue donation, presented NJ Sharing Network Foundation with a generous contribution at a final luncheon in April, hosted by the group’s founder Lenore Ford. The Twigs were very active in community awareness about organ and tissue donation. Although the group is now disbanded, NJ Sharing Network welcomes several of the members who will continue their efforts as volunteers. Lenore Ford (left) and NJ Sharing Network Foundation Executive Director Elisse Glennon

NJ Families Participate in National Donor Recognition Ceremony in D.C. Two New Jersey families were selected by NJ Sharing Network to attend the National Donor Recognition Ceremony and Workshop (NDRCW) in Washington, D.C., in July. Amanda De La Cruz, and her four children (ages 7-15) and Theresa Gosser and her sisters attended the event, which included educational workshops and sharing sessions for donor families, as well as the National Donor Recognition Ceremony. The De La Cruz family went in honor of

patriarch Arturo, who at 46, became a donor after an accidental death. The Gossers attended in memory of 7-year-old David Gosser, who died after being struck by a car in 2007. The two families, whose travel and accommodations were sponsored by NJ Sharing Network Foundation, were accompanied by NJ Sharing Network Family Support Coordinator Jay Arisso Sr., who is an organ recipient. He received a kidney from his son in December 2010.

Remember to support the NJ Sharing Network Foundation in your company’s employee giving campaign and look for NJ Sharing Network as a member of Community Health Charities of NJ.

OUNDATION NEWS • FOUNDATION NEWS njsharingnetworkfoundation.org


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Asbury Blues Hosts Jersey Jam for LIfe Ten year-old kidney recipient Mike Snyder hangs out with the band member Charles Laurita at Jersey Jam for Life on May 14th at Asbury Blues in Asbury Park. Proceeds from this benefit enabled the Jam for Life Foundation Inc. to present a check to the NJ Sharing Network Foundation to further their cause of educating people about the importance of organ and tissue donations.

Heart Recipient Hosts Benefit to Celebrate Gift of Life Family and friends of heart recipient Jaime Vega held a benefit event to celebrate the one-year anniversary of the gift of life. The event was held in February at the Arlington Banquet Hall in Mt. Arlington and raised more than $4,400 to benefit the NJ Sharing Network Foundation.

Chatham Student Honors Mom Chatham High School student Maddy Bowles, whose mother is a kidney recipient, already knows the importance of organ and tissue donation. To promote awareness at her high school, she held a fundraiser on St. Patrick’s day and sold green Donate Life bracelets, raising $140 for NJ Sharing Network Foundation.

At left: Heart recipient, Jaime Vega (third from right) and his family joined by NJ Sharing Network's Alida Sandoval (far left) Above: This rock commemorates the day that Vega received the gift of life.

Bikers Help Raise Organ and Tissue Donor Awareness Two local bike groups, Clutch Queenz MC and Made Men MC, hosted “Bike Night for Organ Donation Awareness” at the Sonic Drive-In in Elizabeth. Over 100 people attended the event in April, and green “Donate Life” bandanas were sold to help raise over $460 for NJ Sharing Network Foundation.


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OUNDATION NEWS • FOUNDATION NEWS Donor Family Member Wins Benjamin R. Chirls Scholarship

Joseph Bottino, this year’s winner of the Benjamin R. Chirls Scholarship, is pictured with (left to right) Richard Chirls, Charlie Kistinger, Donna Albanese, Chairperson of the Foundation Board and Elisse Glennon, Executive Director of NJ Sharing Network Foundation.

Joseph F. Bottino of Absecon (center) was awarded the Benjamin R. Chirls Scholarship for Higher Education. The presentation was made by NJ Sharing Network Foundation in cooperation with Donate Life New Jersey and Gift of Life Donor Program. Joseph’s father passed away in 2007 while awaiting a life-saving transplant and nearing the top of the transplant list, prompting the teen to become an outspoken advocate of organ and tissue donation. The scholarship, named in honor of a kidney recipient and a strong advocate for organ, tissue and eye donation, is awarded each year to an organ, tissue or eye donor family member, transplant recipient or awareness advocate.

Family Honors Recipient’s Memory with Fundraising Event A fundraiser to raise awareness for organ and tissue donation was held in memory of Tim Ruttle“Rutman”at The Dutchman’s Brauhaus in Cedar Bonnet Island in March. Ruttle received his brother’s kidney, but later became ill and had to be placed on a transplant list. Unfortunately, a new kidney never became available.

Wrapped in Love Shawls Become Treasured Keepsakes for Donor Families The Wrapped in Love program, which kicked off with a grant from NJ Sharing Network Foundation late last year, has resulted in nearly 200 shawls for donor families. The shawls, which are knitted or crocheted by loving hands of volunteers, are presented to donor families while in hospitals with loved ones as a sign of comfort and support. The program, started earlier this year, is designed after a similar program started by the Wisconsin Donor Network, which operates Threads of Compassion. The shawls are distributed by NJ Sharing Network transplant coordinators and serve “as a handmade expression of comfort given to donor families at their time of loss,” according to NJ Sharing Network’s Donor Family Aftercare Coordinator Romelle Lysenko, pictured above with a shawl. The grant helps provide supplies to the volunteer knitters and crocheters. If you’d like to join the volunteers, who meet once a month at NJ Sharing Network offices in New Providence, NJ, contact Romelle at rlysenko@sharenj.org.

Investors Bank Matches Donations from Share NJ 5K

Donor Mother, Suzann Rizzo and Antonio Dei Medici (right) from Investors Bank present the NJ Sharing Network Foundation with a matching contribution from Investors Bank for donations made to Suzann for the Share NJ 5K. Suzann formed her team “For Anthony Rizzo” in honor of her son who was an organ donor and was this year’s top fundraiser.

OUNDATION NEWS • FOUNDATION NEWS njsharingnetworkfoundation.org


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FALL 2011


5 1) Team Kevin Gilbert, which raised $17,015, was the top fundraising team. More than 150 family members and friends walked in honor of the 18-year-old Hunterdon High School senior who died from severe brain trauma suffered in a car accident on his way to baseball practice, exactly three months to the day of the 5K. The team was led by Kevin’s cousin, Jamie Siegrist, who raised $4,745; 2)Team Courtney, formed to honor the life and life-giving organ donations of Courtney Dayback, was fourth in fundraising, with $10,666 raised by 59 team members. Courtney was 19 when she died of a heart attack in September 2008, and her parents chose to donate her organs. The team was led by her sister, Kristina Dayback, who raised $6,831. 3)Team Romeo Delta Force was third in fundraising with 91 participants raising $11,340. The team, led by George Van Buskirk, was named in honor of Romeo Van Buskirk, who died June 12, 2010 after being struck by car. The eighth-grader was a big Chuck Norris fan, hence the team name. His mother Amy and sister Olivia also participated in the 5K, which took place on the one-year anniversary of Romeo’s death. George raised $4,754. 4) Team It’s Johnny Time was formed by Marypat Januszanis in honor of her husband and tissue donor John. 5) Betsy’s Dash Team, with $9,260 and 35 participants, rounded out the Top 5 fundraisers. The team was named in honor of donor Betsy Niles, who died of a head injury after being struck by a car. Led by Betsy’s daughter, Alexandra Niles, the team was named after The Dash, a poem by Linda Ellis which was read at Betsy’s funeral. Alexandra raised $7,395. 6) Just Do It in Celebration of Joe D'Addio Team was the second-highest fundraising group thanks to 72 team members and $12,097 in donations. Joe, who died in spring 2009, impacted the lives of 72 people through organ and tissue donation. His wife, Alberta D’Addio, a NJ Sharing Network Foundation Board Member, served as team captain. In addition, she raised $8,292.

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With special gratitude to the following: Presenting Sponsor

Race Hosted by



Genentech LifeCell

Barnabas Health Wiss & Company, LLP

SILVER SPONSORS Brinton Eaton Investors Bank Lourdes Health System

Overlook Medical Center PNC Wealth Management Wells Fargo

Inaugural Share NJ 5K Raises Astounding $450K+ for Organ and Tissue Donation Awareness They came by the thousands to participate in the inaugural 5K Race to Save Lives. They were all different ages, sizes and nationalities. Some ran. Many walked. They came in honor of mothers, fathers, husbands, wives, sisters, daughters, and other loved ones who in their final hours gave the gift of life to others. Some recipients of those gifts came and walked, too. All participated with the common goal of raising money for NJ Sharing Network Foundation and its mission to save lives through organ and tissue donation. The event started and ended in the parking lot of the organization’s headquarters in New Providence, where the air was filled with music and a celebration of life. Booths offered everything from free blood pressure screenings to face painting. A total of over $450,000 was raised in honor of those who gave, on behalf of those who received, and with hope for the close to 5,000 people in New Jersey who continue to wait.

BRONZE SPONSORS Adams Stern Gutierrez & Lattiboudere, LLC Document Solutions Jersey City Medical Center LexisNexis Meridian Health Muscloskeletal Transplant Foundation

Ogilvy CommonHealth Worldwide Smith Pizzutillo, LLC TSS William G. Connolly & Assoc.


Prestige Diner Schripps Bakery Shoprite


RACE DAY CONTRIBUTORS A&P Bagel Chateau Body Essential Therapeutic Massage and Wellness Dunkin’ Donuts Old Glory Restaurant

KTU 103.5 NJN Sneaker Factory Summit YMCA Taylor Rental T&L Caterers United Airlines

SHARE NJ 5K COMMITTEE Jan Hines, Chair Alli Eleman, Events Manager Kathy Aitchison Mara Barlow Nancy Bird Sara Castellvi Michelle Curnow Alyssa D’Addio Maria DeLauro Whitney Downer Pierre Embrey Elisse Glennon Barbara Gunn Patricia Harris Morgan Johnson

Helen LaCarrubba Romelle Lysenko Tatiana Martinez Mary Ellen McGlynn Jessica E. Melore Carolyn Nesi Tony Pizzutillo Nell Ryan Alida Sandoval Jeffrey Sobel Lori Sperber Alene Stewart Myles Varley Carolyn Welsh



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Top Team Fundraisers Top 10 Teams

#1 Team Kevin Gilbert #2 Just Do It in Celebration of Joe D'Addio #3 Team Romeo Delta Force #4 Team Courtney! #5 For Anthony Rizzo #6 Betsy's Dash #7 Team DQ #8 Survival Team #9 Sharing Network #10 Team FCC

$2,500 - $5,500

ASGL Law Firm Celebrate Dorothy Enhancing Life and the JCMC Sharing Team For Andrew Forever Young Galloping Gagas Hearts for Emma I am DROZD ! Celebrating Mike's Life It's Johnny Time Passion in Action Quest Diagnostics Randi's Runners Robert Cameron Plona Special K Stayin' Alive Team Buck Team Posen Team Shaun OB Team Transplanters Legacy Of The Brave Team Valley They Called Me Mellow Yellow Val's Pals Will Ganter

$1,000 - $2,499

Bennett Bruisers Chilton Hospital Team Matt DaVita Stars Fran's McRingo All Stars Holy Family Falcons Jersey Shore University Medical Center Joey's Angels Lackawaxen's for Life Megan's Legacy NIGHTMARE NP Troop 1 Ogilvy CommonHealth One Team PatchWorks Pop Pops Team Rags on the RUN Remembering Robin Road RONners Save David Second Chances Smooth Operators St. Peter's Prep Marauders Szabo boys Team 360 walking for Bobby and Zan Team Garrett Gu Team Heart Team Jason Team Korn Pini Team Maitri Team Scott Team Timmy Team V.I.P THE CURE TMP TR YellowJackets UMDNJ Transplant Team

Thank you to our Top Individual Fundraisers and everyone who helped raise over $450,000! Top 10 Fundraisers

$500 - $999

$250 - $499

#1 Suzann Rizzo #2 Alberta D’Addio #3 Alexandra Niles #4 Kristina Dayback #5 George Van Buskirk #6 Jamie Siegrist #7 Phyllis Caputo #8 Valerie Kloss #9 Jennie Reyes #10 Sharon Lupo

Eyerusalem Assegidie Stacy Berry Lawrence Bologna Lea Borghard Michael Byrne Len Cerefice Cindy L Chandler Michelle Clausen Zadith Colon Michelle Curnow Alyssa D’Addio Kelley Dameo Jamie D’Angelo Joan DiMeo Nicole DiNizo Ray DiNizo Whitney Downer Mary Louise Fessel Steven Flanagan Melanie Fortunato Lisa Frazee Katherine Gonzalez Karen Hernandez Debbie Ibrahim Patti Jackson Maureen Jacobi Maureen Jaret Raj Karnani Janet Kolibas Janice Kozzi Andrea Lorberbaum Michael Maloney Phil Mangini Jean Mangum Melissa Maniscalco Gerald Mohl Marcia Mohl Nick Montano Barry Newman Sharon Pier Allison Pini Stephen Priolo Mark Reagan William Reitsma Ines Rosa Elizabeth Russer KellyAnn Rustay Nell Ryan Alida Sandoval lizzie Scheader Jessa Scott Claire Siegrist Michael Snyder Susan Solomon Elizabeth Stamler Jeanette Szabo Gloria Torres Marisa Van Buskirk Myles Varley Carolyn Welsh Pat Yenkosky

Kathy Aitchison Don Ballard Donna Bancala Gurney Kirsten Beck Carol Beideman Adrienne Bell Kosinski Diane Bernstein Mike Bialko David Bird Paul Boegershausen Sherill Boegershausen Kelsey Boyea Ellen Brown Jane Buckiewicz Valerie Budka Gina Buongiorno Quinn Butler Jonathan Camiolo Eva Canela Maria Canela Cathy Carey Bill Carlos Diane Carr Margaret Chaplin Sheila Conway Jack Conway Margie Corbett Nadine Couch Alison Cox Jane Cywinski Jill D’Amica Joseph Danielsen Elizabeth Davidek Pamela Deliso Lisa Diacik Ryan Dikdan Melissa DiNapoli Tara Dublanica Pierre Embrey Geraldine Entrup Sandy Erwin Charlotte Evans Sue Evans Maria Feeney Christine Floegel Sandra Gichie Mary Ginsburg Terri Glassett Linda Goldenberg Heather Gough Jill Guide Jessie Gurrieri Cara Haddon Jan Hines Annamarie Johnson Alison Johnson Jen Jones Ali Jones TJ Jonovich Gaurang Kalsaria Kelly Kamp

$2,500 - $3,999 Marla Bace Cindy Boyea Amy Buckiewicz Walter Cockcroft Dana Dempsey Dorothea Duffy Elisse Glennon Melissa Honohan Thomas O’Brien Jeff Sobel Katie Wall

$1,000 - $2,499 Donna Albanese MaryAnn Fischer and Cookie Diaz Alyson Angstreich Mara Barlow Lynda Bennett Nancy Bird Edward Cummings Lew Davenport JD de Leon Mario Dinizo Marilyn Dipkin Pamela Drozd Lindsay Ganter Marypat Januszanis Jennifer Jova Lori Klein John Luciano Romelle Lysenko Meredith McCluney Laura Mordeci Julianne Navarrete Ronald Oswick Lisa Plona Karen Praschil AJ Prentice Joe Roth Nancie B. Rothman Karen Shinevar Bernard Simon George and Esther Van Buskirk Rosemarie Young

Denise Kane Mora Karas Allison Keleman Allyson Kennedy Daniel Kosinski Cessy Kurland Shirley Lam Melissa Latham Mario Lemos Aubrey Mae Manuyag Sylvia Martinez Jennifer Martini Joshua McCall Lauren McCarthy Diana McGroarty Julie McPherson Devin McQueen JoAnn Mess Terrence Mignott Debra Miller Katerina Moklak Rick Mordeci JoAnne Murphy Keegan Myers Veronica Nagle Michele Nesbitt Danielle Novello Colleen O’Brien Karen O’Neill Peggy Page Brown Christina Panyko Marla Papa Jennifer L. Pedone Cathy Pentz Laura Perkins Matt Perkins Erica Peterson Kasey Portine Anne Portine Kudlac Nicole Ragno Nehal Ramchandani Tania Ramos Karen Raspatello Eve Reiners Savva Nina Roberts Peter Rooney Emma Rothman James Rubino Zachary Rustay Cristina Simeone Megan Smith Lori Sperber Frank and Trish Truppo Lisa Veit Mary Veltre Germene Ventura Brian Waldele Lynn Weiss Donna Wenskoski Lynn Williams Rosalyn Williams Dance Bev Yelpo

We sincerely regret any errors or omissions.

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(Above left) Heart transplant recipient Joe DiSanto tees off. (center) NJ Sharing Network President and CEO Joe Roth and Foundation Executive Director Elisse Glennon extend thanks to the sponsors whose support made this day possible. (Far right) Steve Meyers, one of two players to “beat the pro,” served it up at the tennis clinic.

event sponsors

NJ Sharing Network Foundation raised $135,000 at the 13th Annual Golf & Tennis Classic on September 26 at the Plainfield Country Club in Edison. Ninety-five golfers enjoyed their opportunity to play at the prestigious home of the 2011 Barclay’s. The outing featured several contests, including a Hole in One, Longest Drive, and Putting Contest, as well as Beat the Pro and Fastest Serve for tennis. A golf foursome of heart transplant recipients took top prize, a testament to the power of the gift of life. After a day of golf, heart recipient Joe DiSanto addressed attendees during the evening reception. Proceeds from the event help support NJ Network’s mission to save lives through organ and tissue donation awareness.



Barnabas Health

Document Solutions


Jeff Sobel Consulting

A&A Benefits Consultants

Dancker, Sellew & Douglas & Steelcase

Lourdes Health System MagnetMailers.com

Dr. Wayne James Caputo


Ogilvy CommonHealth Worldwide

Joe & Lori Roth

Hackensack University Medical Center Horizon Healthcare Innovations LifeCell Corporation

William H. Connolly & Assoc.

Smith Pizzutillo, LLC


The Walsh Company

CJS Violations Services Evergreen Millenium Capital Inc.

Wells Fargo Wiss & Company, LLP

Participants in this year’s Tennis Classic were put through the paces as they were drilled by pros on their serves, returns and swing. Doubles matches and rousing contests for fastest serve and beat the pro ensued.


Saint Clare’s Health System

Overlook Medical Center/ Atlantic Health Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital


SourceOne Communications Group

Musculoskeletal Transplant Foundation


The Provident Bank Founation

Kidney/Pancreas recipient Michael Strusiak (right) and donor family member Stephen Block (center) with friend John Pisano (left) enjoyed each other’s company at the outing.



Malouf Auto Group


Davis Enterprises Saul Ewing LLP

Heart transplant recipients (left to right) Clement Dunnigan, Dennis Perkins, Richard Weiss and Gerald Reddington took first place in the Golf & Tennis Classic.

A special thank you to members of the Golf and Tennis Classic Committee: Chris Vancheri Chair

Alli Keleman Events Manager

Donna Albanese Stephen Block Kevin Deen Alberta D’Addio Phyllis Elin John Sumas, Joe Belfatto, Bob Wojtowicz and Les Quick took 2nd place at this year’s outing.

3rd place winners John Bace, Marla Bace (Foundation board member), Thomas “Timmy” DeMaio and Richard Maus.

Bill Englehardt Lenore Ford Lisa Meyers Steven Meyers Barry Newman Alida Sandoval Mark Reagan Peter Rooney Gerry Vadas


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PAID Union, NJ

691 Central Avenue New Providence, NJ 07974 1-800-SHARE-NJ (1-800-742-7365) 908-516-5400

Permit No. 931

"Heroes fly under the radar, but on the day of the Share NJ 5K race, they soared on high!" -Roy Larsen, Donor Father

If you no longer wish to receive information from NJ Sharing Network, please call 908-516-5400.

Donor Families Gather to Grieve Together Bereavement Workshop Helps Attendees Dozens of donor families gathered to heal during the first Bereavement Workshop held by NJ Sharing Network After Care staff. Sessions on “healing after the death of a child” and “healing after the death of a spouse, parent or loved one” were held on Saturday, April 30, at NJ Sharing Network offices. The almost 40 participants also attended an informational session on how to make memorial quilt squares for the Quilts of Love, which honor donors who have given the gift of life through organ and tissue donation. The quilts are used as education tools by NJ Sharing Network staff and volunteers during events and speaking engagements to help spread the word about organ and tissue donation.

A survey of participants showed that they found the workshop helpful. Some of the comments submitted included: “It was very helpful meeting other people who are experiencing the same grieving process that you are experiencing. Sometimes it feels as if you’re in a world all by yourself so it helps to know you’re not.” “I appreciated the chance to meet and talk with other donor families. It was good to share my story, learn more about the donation process and spend time with the quilter.” “It was difficult for me to be here today, but I thank God for giving me the strength. I have met some wonderful people and am looking forward to connecting with them. Thank you!”


After Care staff will likely hold future workshops. For more information, contact FamilyAfterCare@sharenj.org or Mary Ellen McGlynn (908) 516-5642 or Romelle Lysenko (908) 516-5411.

Join the conversation about the power of donation!

November 11-13, 2011

April 12, 2012

June 10, 2012

National Donor Sabbath

25 Years of Saving Lives

Share NJ 5K

Religious programs throughout the state

NJ Sharing Network 25th Anniversary Celebration Dinner and Auction “Live. Love. Share.”

NJ Sharing Network HQ New Providence, NJ

Fan us at facebook.com/njsharingnetwork

Follow us on twitter @ sharenj

Profile for NJ Sharing Network

Circle of Life Magazine: Fall 2011  

Sweet Life - Bonding through a daughter's special gift A publication of NJ Sharing Network

Circle of Life Magazine: Fall 2011  

Sweet Life - Bonding through a daughter's special gift A publication of NJ Sharing Network