Candle-Lighting Ceremony 2018 | News | Loyola Medicine

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Friday, April 27, 2018

Organ Donors and Recipients Honored at Loyola Candle-Lighting Ceremony

Dan Richardson speaking about his son, Dylan
MAYWOOD, IL – Organ transplant patients and donors shared their extraordinary stories Sunday, April 22 during Loyola Medicine's 27th annual Candle-lighting Ceremony.
Among the speakers were a pastor who gave a kidney to a member of his church, a daughter who saved her mother's life by giving up a part of her liver and the father of a seven-year-old boy who became an organ donor to three people after dying in a car accident.
Loyola’s Candle-lighting Ceremony is held each April during National Donate Life Month.  More than 300 people attended the 2018 ceremony, which raised awareness for organ donation, honored organ donors and supported transplant patients. Patients who have received organ donations, or are waiting for transplants, lit candles from the “Candle of Life” in memory of and in thanksgiving for those who have given life to others through organ donation.
The extraordinary stories told at the event include:
  • Kelly Roberts, 33, of Elmwood Park, was on the kidney transplant waiting list and was about to go on dialysis when her pastor, the Rev. David Potete of Northwest Community Church in Chicago, said he would donate one of his kidneys. "One of the core values of our church is servanthood, or serving others," Rev. Potete said. "I can't tell you how good it felt to help a friend." Before leaving the hospital, Rev. Potete stopped by Ms. Roberts' room. During the emotional visit, she whispered in his ear, "Thank you for giving me life."
  • Suffering end stage liver disease, Anne Doyen couldn't eat and could barely get off the couch. She was on the liver transplant waiting list, but might die before an organ became available. So her daughter, Katie Doyen, offered to become her living donor – the first living liver donor transplant performed at Loyola. A day after Mother's Day 2017, Katie learned she was a match. Loyola surgeons subsequently removed a portion of her liver and transplanted it into her mother. Katie Doyen said that when she came to her mother's room after the transplant and saw that she already looked better, "I knew we had done the right thing." Anne Doyen, of Elgin, said her daughter gave her the ultimate gift. "When I think about what a sacrifice it was, I feel so lucky," she said. "She is a brave and strong girl." The livers in both women have grown back to normal size and are functioning normally. Watch a video about Anne and Katie's story.
  • After 7-year-old Dylan Richardson died in a car accident, his heart went to a 13-year-old girl, his liver went to a 16-year-old boy and his kidneys went to a 65-year-old man. "Dylan is a superhero who saved lives through a tragic loss," said his father, Dan Richardson, of Aurora.
  • After a five-year wait, Brookfield's Anthony Ramos received a heart transplant in 2017. "When I woke up after the surgery and realized I had someone else's heart, it was hard to imagine how that could happen," he said. "I would like to meet my donor family and hug them. I'm at a loss for words to thank them."
  • Kenneth Mrnak remembers the first time he shopped at a big store following his lung transplant. The career Navy officer from Montgomery, Illinois, said he "wanted to do cartwheels" when he realized he could walk the long aisles without gasping for breath. "I think about my donor every day," he said.
Loyola is one of only three centers in Illinois that performs transplants on five major solid organs: heart, lung, kidney, liver and pancreas. Loyola also is among the few centers that perform combination transplants, including heart-lung, heart-kidney, heart-liver, liver-kidney, lung-liver and lung-kidney.

About Loyola Medicine and Trinity Health

Loyola Medicine, a member of Trinity Health, is a quaternary care system based in the western suburbs of Chicago that includes Loyola University Medical Center (LUMC), Gottlieb Memorial Hospital, MacNeal Hospital and convenient locations offering primary and specialty care services from 1,877 physicians throughout Cook, Will and DuPage counties. LUMC is a 547-licensed-bed hospital in Maywood that includes the William G. and Mary A. Ryan Center for Heart & Vascular Medicine, the Cardinal Bernardin Cancer Center, a Level 1 trauma center, Illinois's largest burn center, a certified comprehensive stroke center and a children’s hospital. Having delivered compassionate care for over 50 years, Loyola also trains the next generation of caregivers through its teaching affiliation with Loyola University Chicago’s Stritch School of Medicine and Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing. Gottlieb is a 247-licensed-bed community hospital in Melrose Park with 150 physician offices, an adult day care program, the Gottlieb Center for Fitness, the Loyola Center for Metabolic Surgery and Bariatric Care and the Loyola Cancer Care & Research at the Marjorie G. Weinberg Cancer Center at Melrose Park. MacNeal Hospital is a 374-bed teaching hospital in Berwyn with advanced inpatient and outpatient medical, surgical and psychiatric services, advanced diagnostics and treatments. MacNeal has a 12-bed acute rehabilitation unit, a 25-bed inpatient skilled nursing facility, and a 68-bed behavioral health program and community clinics. MacNeal has provided quality, patient-centered care to the near west suburbs since 1919.

Trinity Health is one of the largest multi-institutional Catholic healthcare systems in the nation, serving diverse communities that include more than 30 million people across 22 states. Trinity Health includes 92 hospitals, as well as 109 continuing care locations that include PACE programs, senior living facilities and home care and hospice services. Its continuing care programs provide nearly 2.5 million visits annually. Based in Livonia, Mich., and with annual operating revenues of $18.3 billion and assets of $26.2 billion, the organization returns $1.1 billion to its communities annually in the form of charity care and other community benefit programs. Trinity employs about 129,000 colleagues, including 7,800 employed physicians and clinicians. Committed to those who are poor and underserved in its communities, Trinity is known for its focus on the country's aging population. As a single, unified ministry, the organization is the innovator of Senior Emergency Departments, the largest not-for-profit provider of home health care services—ranked by number of visits—in the nation, as well as the nation’s leading provider of PACE (Program of All Inclusive Care for the Elderly) based on the number of available programs.