Thursday, April 22, 2004

Organ recipient keeps giving back

Good Things Happening

Allen Howard

Each day, the main concern for Jeff Lueders is helping people in need find a liver, a heart or a lung to keep them alive.

As organ and tissue donor month (April) draws to a close, Lueders recalls 15 years ago when he was given a second chance at life through a heart transplant.

"I cannot began to say how thankful I am to the donor family and to my wife, Debbie, who has stuck by me,'' said Lueders, manager of public affairs for the LifeCenter Organ Donor Network, the organ recovery agency for the Tristate.

In 1989, Lueders got a new heart after he had been given about six months to live because of damaged heart muscles. A 15-year-old donor who was killed in an auto accident provided him with a second chance.

Tyrha Lindsey and Jeffrey Lueders look over paperwork at a meeting at LifeCenter Organ Donor Network. Lueders, who got a heart transplant 15 years ago, is manager of public affairs for the organ recovery agency. Lindsey is also an agency employee.
Photo for The Enquirer/MIKE SIMONS
"Four other lives were saved from that donor family,'' Lueders said.

Since his transplant, Lueders has celebrated his 40th birthday and gotten married, received a master's degree and written a book titled Second Chance, which is about himself and others who received new organs.

For information about the donor program, call 558-5555 or (800) 981-5433.

Sturdy brown wins contest

If you think about the color brown as Alie Van Milligen does, you think of fall leaves, old books and, in her case, her grandfather's hands.

Alie, 13, is an eighth-grader at Hopewell Junior High School, West Chester.

She wrote about the color brown in a poem that won first place in the Instructor's fifth annual Poetry Contest for Kids. The national contest is for students grades kindergarten through eighth and is designed to get kids excited about the magic of words

"... Brown is sturdy and strong. Like a mighty oak or a tall sycamore scarred with age, Towering above the earth like giants.'' she wrote

"I am excited, happy and surprised at winning,'' she said.

Alie won in the English grade 4-8 category and will get a Dell computer. Her winning poem is in the April issue of Instructor magazine. She is the daughter of Tom and Lesli Van Milligen, West Chester.

Donations benefit hospital

Change volunteers spread through offices, schools and neighborhoods this month, collecting coins while The Cares 4 Kids radio-thon on WRRM-FM (98.5) aired testimonies from families treated at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center.

The result was $305,946 raised in local pledges.

The hospital partnered with WARM98, the volunteer change collectors through the Children's Miracle Network and Foresters, a financial services organization.

Steven Terrell, the Cincinnati Children's donor relations officers for the Children's Miracle Network, said pledges exceeded last year's totals and surpassed all expectations.

Acts of kindness

Members of a Multiple Sclerosis Lunch Bunch who gather monthly will step away from the table on May 8 and conduct an MS Walk to raise money for research to help find a cure for the disease.

Pat Gove, who chairs the marketing committee for the MS Society, said walkers are needed for the event, which will take place at Sawyer Point starting at 9 a.m.

To join the walk, call Sharon Roll, 398-8111, or Gove, 398-6408. Volunteers may also contact the MS Society at 769-4400.

"This is an active group of people with MS who attend monthly luncheon meetings which feature various distinguished medical speakers,'' Gove said.

The Lunch Bunch was started by Roll and four other women with MS.

"We had just left a meeting and started a conversation about MS, standing on the street,'' Roll said. "I asked them if they wanted to continue the discussion at a luncheon. Only two people showed up for the lunch, me and one other person.''

But the group has grown from two to about 161, Roll said.

Four pharmaceutical companies sponsor the luncheons. They are Teva Neuroscience, Biogen, Pfizer and Berlex. Proscan Imaging is also a sponsor.

The group welcomes anyone who has MS or their family members and friends to join the Lunch Bunch.

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