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Liver Lowdown

HAPPENINGS


Around Town

Happy (Re) Birthday

Over 25 liver transplant recipients gathered on Long Island, NY to celebrate the gift of life and the miracle of transplantation at ALF’s Greater New York Division’s annual Re-Birthday Event on April 11, 2015.

Transplant recipients ranging in age from 4 to 90, along with family members, shared experiences about what life has been like post-transplant and described the gratitude that they feel toward donors. ALF Greater New York Division Medical Advisory Committee member, David Bernstein, MD, chief of the Division of Hepatology and director of the Center for Liver Disease at North Shore LIJ Health System, spoke about the latest advances in transplantation. The event also honors the people who made the greatest gift possible – the donors and their families. Coleen Clark shared her daughter’s gift of life and how she keeps her daughter’s legacy alive through her ongoing work with organ donation.

Walk, Run or Skip – The American Liver Foundation’s Desert Southwest Holds Events to Raise Funds to Fight Liver Disease
Phoenix

On April 18, 2015, the American Liver Foundation's Desert Southwest Division will be holding its 13th Annual Liver Life Walk Phoenix. The 5k/1k Walk is expected to draw more than 800 participants of all ages and raise more than $135,000 for the American Liver Foundation and the fight against liver disease. Sponsors include: Presenting Sponsors Banner–University Medical Center Phoenix and the Mayo Clinic, National Presenting Sponsor AbbVie and Gold Sponsor Gilead Sciences. For more information, contact Ashley Drew, 866-953-1800.

Houston

Walk for Fun...Walk for Life! It’s not just our motto; it’s exactly what you’ll be doing when you participate in the American Liver Foundation’s Liver Life Walk Houston on April 25, 2015. Another way to support the American Liver Foundation's Desert Southwest Division, join 1,000 supporters as they pound the pavement to put an end to liver disease. For more information, contact Ashley Drew, 866-953-1800.

Katherine is Taking the Liver Life Challenge! Will You?


< >Cara Linehan and Katherine O’Koniewski at the finish line of the 2011 Boston Marathon. They ran in memory of Cara’s sister Laura.

Katherine O’Koniewski, a JD/MBA student at the University of Michigan, just registered for the 2015 TCS New York City Marathon as part of the Liver Life Challenge team. She has committed to raising $3,000 for ALF. But, this isn’t her first time running a marathon for the American Liver Foundation. In fact, Katherine has run both the Boston Marathon and the Chicago Marathon – raising money and awareness for ALF.

Katherine’s motivation for running is personal. She lost her best friend, Laura Christine Linehan, to a lifelong battle with liver disease on April 4, 2008. Laura was diagnosed as an infant with tyrosinemia, which was cured by a life-saving liver transplant when she was two-years-old. Ten years later they discovered that Laura had hepatitis C, which was contracted through the blood transfusion she received during her transplant surgery. Despite Laura’s fight, courage and spirit, the call that there was a match for a second liver donor came too late and Laura passed away that evening. She was just 20-years-old.

Katherine was fortunate to have had Laura by her side when she ran the Chicago Marathon in 2008 and Boston Marathon in 2011. She also believes that Laura was by her side and protected her in 2013 when Katherine was watching the Boston Marathon where the second blast occurred just 75 meters away.

When asked why she is running Katherine said, “Laura not only endured a tremendous amount of suffering in her life, but her family and friends faced incredible heartbreak when she was taken from us. I value the opportunity to honor Laura’s memory and contribute to an important cause that performs such valuable work. I run for the American Liver Foundation because the work ALF does is incredibly important towards ensuring that research is funded, awareness is spread and lives are saved.”

INSPIRED? WANT TO JOIN the LIVER LIFE CHALLENGE TEAM? Learn more about our teams in New York City, Chicago, Boston and beyond by visiting www.LiverFoundation.org/challenge today.

Connecticut Flavors

On Tuesday, March 31, 2015, the Connecticut Division of the American Liver Foundation held its 14th annual Flavors of Connecticut Gala at the Aqua Turf Club in Plantsville. The sold out event brought in 34 of the area’s most talented chefs to wine and dine the 420 attendees including the Presenting Sponsors Yale New Haven Hospital and Hartford Hospital, National Gold Sponsor AbbVie Pharmaceuticals, National Silver Sponsor Gilead Pharmaceuticals, and many others. Due to the great generosity of the attendees, the division raised approximately $275,000 to support the American Liver Foundation and the Connecticut Division’s programs and activities. It was an honor to have several patients and family members at Flavors: Fund the Mission speaker Darian Grover, whose son Sam was suffering from biliary atresia until he received a transplant from his father Josiah; Kathy and George Officer (George is waiting for a liver transplant); McKayla Huggins, a successful liver transplant survivor and a past Disney Liver Champion; Jecy Belmont, transplant recipient and ALF volunteer; and Jen and Matt Regaini. Jen recently donated a portion of her liver to her husband Matt. Next year’s event will be taking place on April 12, 2016, so make sure to reserve your table now.

Liver Life Walk Greater NY

This year the Greater New York Division had a first-time Liver Life Challenge team at the United Airlines NYC Half Marathon on March 15, 2015. A total of nine runners participated and collectively raised $11,850. For more information about the Greater New York team go to http://www.liverfoundation.org/chapters/greaterny/news/598/.

Interested in running the 2015 TCS NYC Marathon on November 1st for ALF – apply today

ALF Great Lakes Division Takes Message to Legislators


ALF Great Lakes Division tours the Senate Chamber. Board Chairman Dr. Donald Jensen, ALF Event Manager Emily Jensen, patient advocate Beth Mack (sister of Annie Canner), ALF Executive Director Jacqueline Dominguez, Senator Heather Steans, patient advocate Annie Canner and ALF Division Board Member Mary Leone in the Senate Chamber in Springfield, IL.

On March 3rd the American Liver Foundation Great Lakes Division partnered with the Illinois Hepatitis C Task Force to remind lawmakers of the seriousness of hepatitis C. Legislators were able to visit exhibit booths and speak with the Division’s Board President Donald Jensen, MD, retired professor of medicine at the University of Chicago. They also attended a press conference featuring several speakers including patient advocate and Division Board Member Mary Leone and Medical Advisory Committee Member Steven Flamm, MD, professor of medicine at Northwestern University. Following the press conference, Division staff, patients and medical professionals met with legislators. The day concluded with small dinner programs designed to facilitate more in-depth conversations. Fifth Street Renaissance offered free hepatitis C testing throughout the day to the legislators and the general public.

Dr. Kimberly Brown Receives High Honor

On March 26, 2015, Kimberly Brown, MD, head of the Division of Gastroenterology/Hepatology at Henry Ford Healthcare System and a great friend to the American Liver Foundation Great Lakes Division, received the National Physician of the Year Award from Castle Connolly Medical Ltd. The award recognizes physicians whose dedication, talents and skills have improved the lives of people throughout the world. Castle Connolly Medical Ltd. published the popular America's Top Doctors®.

News You Can Use

A Path to Life-Long Liver Health

On March 30, 2015, the American Liver Foundation’s Greater New York Division led a Love Your Liver wellness education program for a very enthusiastic group of 6 to 12-year-olds at the Salvation Army Boys and Girls Club of Newark Ironbound.

Paul Bolter, the Division’s community outreach and education manager, presented a lively discussion about liver health and disease prevention.

Love Your Liver is one of ALF’s premier wellness education programs. With the goal of setting elementary, middle and high school students on a lifelong path to liver health, Love Your Liver educates students about the liver and the actions they can take to maximize their liver health and prevent liver disease. Programs are taught in classroom settings as well as at after school programs, summer camps and other youth group-related locations.

Events like this are one of the key ways ALF fulfills its mission – not only educating adults, but also helping children to understand key facts about keeping their livers healthy.

For more information about ALF’s public education initiatives, contact Phil Scarfo, ALF’s national director of education and training at pscarfo@liverfoundation.org.


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Page updated: April 20th, 2015

 

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