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Grateful Transplant Patient Celebrates 18th “Re-Birthday” with Lourdes Transplant Center Staff

Lourdes transplant patient Neal “Lucky” Snyder (center) holds a photo of Lourdes’ Blessed Mother statue, which is lit green whenever a transplant takes place at the hospital, and presents a thank you card and cake to Lourdes staff (left to right):  Ruth Cila, executive director of Lourdes Health Foundation, Mary Margaret Campbell, post-transplant coordinator; Kathy Soto, transplant assistant; Elaine Dowdell, post-transplant coordinator; Loretta Aigner, director of Lourdes’ Transplant program; Patricia Walsh, post-transplant coordinator; and Ronda Hardrick, office coordinator/surgery scheduler.

Lourdes transplant patient Neal “Lucky” Snyder (center) holds a photo of Lourdes’ Blessed Mother statue, which is lit green whenever a transplant takes place at the hospital, and presents a thank you card and cake to Lourdes staff (left to right): Ruth Cila, executive director of Lourdes Health Foundation, Mary Margaret Campbell, post-transplant coordinator; Kathy Soto, transplant assistant; Elaine Dowdell, post-transplant coordinator; Loretta Aigner, director of Lourdes’ Transplant program; Patricia Walsh, post-transplant coordinator; and Ronda Hardrick, office coordinator/surgery scheduler.

Franklinville resident Neal Snyder, a type I diabetic since childhood, had a kidney-pancreas transplant at Our Lady of Lourdes Medical Center on January 21, 1996. Since then, Snyder has returned each year to celebrate his “Re-Birthday” with Lourdes staff, bringing a themed cake and a special thank you card. This year marked his 18th Re-Birthday.

“I am so grateful for my care at Lourdes that I visit staff and thank them every year, making sure I never forget what was done for me,” said Snyder. “Every day, I think about my donor, as well as the efforts of my transplant surgeon, Dr. Nasser Youssef, and all of my caregivers at Lourdes. This is a gesture to honor the excellent and compassionate care given to me.”

The theme of the cake and thank you card change each year. One year the cake was created as the Operation game with Snyder’s face as the patient’s face. Another cake was created kidney-shaped. Snyder said this year’s theme is family. “I have extended my family through the transplant. I have my donor’s family and my Lourdes family. They all saved my life.”

Snyder, whose grandchildren call him “Lucky” instead of grandpop because he always felt lucky he was able to meet them, said this year’s theme also thanks Lourdes caregivers for treating him like family. “There is love here. They treated me like a family member, as if taking care of one’s own father or brother. Lourdes sets itself apart from other hospitals. I’ve been to other hospitals and I can tell you it’s not the same.”

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