LifeNet Health and Healing the Spirit are registered trademarks of LifeNet Health, Inc.

FALL  2015

In This Issue of DFQ
healingspiritSign up for Donor Family Workshops
Creative Expressions of Grief
There's still time to sign up for the Creative Expressions of Grief workshop at LifeNet Health in Virginia Beach on Saturday, October 24th from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
This donor family workshop has everything you need to create various memorial projects in honor of your loved one. Donor Family Advocate Tina Pierce Davenport will facilitate the workshop with the help of our dedicated volunteers. Activities will include:
  • Working on a Tribute Album or scrapbooking projects
  • Creating a photo button with your loved one's face
  • Making a Memory Box in honor of your loved one
If you have questions or would like to sign up, please call Tina Pierce Davenport at 1-800-847-7831 ext. 4903 or email christina_davenport@lifenethealth.org.

Make a Memory Box
Memory box workshops are coming to LifeNet Health in Virginia this fall.
This workshop has everything you need, including instructions from our helpful volunteers, to make your own shadow box in honor of your loved one. We hope you can join us!
  • Richmond - Monday, October 19th from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
  • Virginia Beach - Thursday, November 15th from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
  • Roanoke - Please contact Tina Pierce Davenport if would like to attend a workshop in Roanoke.
For more information, or to sign up, email or call 1-800-847-7831 ext. 4903. Please give your name, phone number, number of participants and desired location.

RobinA Heartfelt Farewell
Dear Donor Family Friends,

This issue marks a milestone in my life! I will be retiring from my role as Director of Donor Family Services at LifeNet Health shortly after the first of the year, so this fall issue is the last I will oversee.
Seventeen years ago I began my work with LifeNet and my life has been forever changed. People have often asked me how I could work with families who, in many cases, suffered such tragic losses. My answer usually mentioned that we chose to focus on life, not so much death. We celebrate the lives of special loved ones who made a major difference in the lives of others. And we witness the "new" lives of families with whom we hope we have played a small part in helping them reconcile their losses.
Now I am being asked a different question. "What will you remember most about your time with LifeNet Health?" I will remember the generosity of people. The donor families, of course, who, at the worst moment in their life, thought of others through the gifts of organ and tissue for transplant and research. I also think of the staff at LifeNet Health who works so tirelessly to help make these gifts of life happen.
I have grown to love many of the donor families we have served. You have taught me about resilience in life. I have seen transformation. Wives become better human beings and husbands become stronger. Daughters and sons live in ways to honor parents who have gone before them. Parents who have lost children live out their days in ways to honor and remember.
Thank you for teaching me that tragedy does not have to be the end. There are ways to continue the loving relationship with those who have gone before us.
A friend of mine often says, "We are shaped by those who have gone before us." Those we love are with us in the everyday and spectacular parts of life. We will never forget them and, indeed, we will carry them with us always.
To those readers with whom I have worked, thank you for the privilege of being part of your life. I wish each of you peace in the life journey ahead. I hope our paths may cross again.
Most sincerely,


Robin L. Cowherd

HealingTearsHealing Tears by Dr. Lani Leary
Dear Dr. Leary,
I lost my mother last February and my youngest son in November. I'm having an extremely difficult time trying to cope. I've seen two grief counselors, and I don't seem to be improving. I'm working, but it's not been easy. Sometimes while driving I get lost in familiar places. I'm forgetful and tired all the time. I'm easily upset when the least bit of stress comes into my life. I used to be a strong woman but I am no longer that same person.
I guess my question is: how do I cope? I watched my mom die and it plays over and over in my head. The loss of my son has been devastating for me. Any advice you can give me would be greatly appreciated. My son was an organ donor and saved five lives.
Dear Lori,
I am sincerely sorry that you have had to go through two devastating losses, and so close together. It takes a long time to adjust to the loss of just one significant person in our life. To lose the anchoring of a mother, and then the future legacy of a child is almost more than we think we can bear.
And yet, here you are. You describe yourself in the past as a strong woman, but you discount the strength you show every day when you get out of bed and take care of yourself. It takes great courage to face this new world without your loved ones, and you have found the resolve to begin. You may not feel like the same person. In fact, because of what you have been through, you are more.
What does it mean to cope? It will take time, support, resources, and perspective to learn to live in this new normal. Coping means you will find the strength to feel all of your feelings. Don't judge yourself for feelings of anger, resentment, loneliness or fear. Coping may ask that you allow a friend, family member or professional to support you during this challenging time.
Gradually, you will find new ways to be in the world without your loved ones, and make meaning of this new way of life. Over time and with work, you will know you are coping because you will be aware of not just the tragedy of the loss, but also the gratitude for what is left behind.
Here are some coping strategies that have been helpful to others:
  • Daily journaling to give yourself distance from painful emotions
  • Creating rituals to mark the difference in your life
  • Forming a support circle of others who will listen without judgment or trying to "fix" you
  • Fashioning art or a statue to commemorate your loved one
  • Developing a fundraiser in the name of your son to honor what he cared most about
  • Reaching out to someone who could benefit from what you have learned
Thank you for reaching out and asking. That action alone demonstrates your intent to go on living well and with purpose. You are coping now in this moment, and day by day.
Dr. Leary is a psychologist and certified grief therapist who consults with LifeNet Health. Her responses reflect her professional opinion to general questions. Individuals struggling with complicated grief are encouraged to seek the care of a professional. Please submit your questions to Robin Cowherd, LifeNet Health, 1864 Concert Drive, Virginia Beach, VA 23453, or visit Healing Tears at our website.
summerDonor Family Services hosts a summer gathering
LifeNet Health Donor Family Services hosted a gathering for recent donor families and transplant recipients in Virginia Beach this summer.
More than 60 people turned out to enjoy a picnic, activities, music, and a dove release. It was a time to relax and play. 
"This is the first LifeNet Health invitation I've been able to accept. I was afraid the others would be too sad," admitted one donor mom. The gathering encouraged families to enjoy life while never forgetting their loved one.
Another gathering is planned for 2016.

BillboardsBillboards spread the message in Florida
More than 5,200 Floridians await life-saving organ transplants. To help address this urgent need, LifeNet Health Florida launched the Be a Hero campaign to raise awareness of registering as an organ, tissue and eye donor.
The campaign kicked off in April, National Donate Life Month. It continues through October with 14 digital billboards in Jacksonville.
"Being an organ, tissue and eye donor is one of the most precious gifts a person can give. It saves lives and restores quality of life for people right here in our community," said Chandler Brownlee, National Director of Tissue Operations and Development for LifeNet Health. "The Be a Hero campaign spurs conversations about the importance of becoming a donor."

walkOut of the Darkness Walk
LifeNet Health staff and family members supported the Out of the Darkness Walk held in September at Mt. Trashmore in Virginia Beach. The walk helped raise awareness of suicide prevention and treatment for depression.
HuttMeet our new Donor Family Advocates!
Noreen Sutton joined LifeNet Health Northwest in June. She received her Bachelors of Science in Psychology from the University of Texas at Dallas in 2012.
Noreen's experiences include volunteering as an advocate at a crisis center and providing compassionate care in a hospital setting. Both entailed emotional support to survivors and families.

"I love my job here at LifeNet Health," says Noreen. "I'm pleased to say this is my dream job! Not only can I utilize my education, but also my background. Helping others has always been a passion of mine. I hope to get the chance to meet each of you and help you in your mourning process."

You can call Noreen at 425-891-8918 or email her at

Leslie Snead started at LifeNet Health in 2007 as a Family Support Coordinator supporting donor families in the hospital setting. She also joined Donor Family Services in June as a Donor Family Advocate.
Leslie has a BS in Counseling from Virginia Commonwealth University. Most of her work up until joining LifeNet Health was supporting families of infants and toddlers with disabilities. She then had a personal experience with organ donation which led her to change her career and become a part of the LifeNet Health family.
"Supporting people during difficult situations has always been a part of who I am as a person. Being a part of something so important and being able to help our incredible donor families through their journey of healing makes getting up in the morning for work easy. I am thankful to have a meaningful job that allows me to not only make myself available to others, but to learn from them as well."
ICRGiving Hope in the Northwest 
by Noreen Sutton, Donor Family Advocate
LifeNet Health's annual In Celebration & Remembrance ceremonies are taking place in the Northwest. Donor families, recipients and community volunteers are gathering
Donna Bishop, VP of National Tissue Donor Operations, speaks to donor families at the In Celebration & Remembrance Ceremony in Washington.
to honor those special donors who gave the gift of donation.
This year's theme is Giving Hope, in recognition of the recent addition of the words Giving Hope to the organization's mission statement.
The first event was held in western Washington. The rain and high winds did not deter 55 donor families, friends and volunteers from attending. It was a loving, safe environment with great speakers, good company and support for our donor families.
Another In Celebration & Remembrance Ceremony will be held on Saturday, October 3rd from 1 to 3 p.m. at the Hilton Garden Inn in Bozeman, MT.
For more information or to RSVP, call Noreen at 425-891-8918 or email her at noreen_sutton@lifenethealth.org


holidaySave-the-date for holiday tree ceremonies
Please save the date for our upcoming Holiday Tree ceremonies in Virginia.

Roanoke - Tree of Remembrance at the Hotel Roanoke on Sunday, November 29th at 2 p.m. Call Tina Pierce Davenport for more information at 1-800-847-7831 ext. 4903. 

Virginia Beach - Tree of Remembrance at LifeNet Health's Concert Drive campus on Wednesday, December 2nd.
Richmond - Tree of Life at the UNOS Headquarters on Thursday, December 3rd at 7 p.m.

Space is limited. Please call Carolyn Wolford for additional information at 1-800-847-7831 ext. 4671.
Visit LifeNet Health's website for more grief and loss support