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  Saturday, December 20, 2014
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Stephen Lynch Receives Award
By Rick Winterson

                                          

Congressman Stephen              Karen Marinella, WB                     Ellen Zane, CEO of

Lynch receives the                    news anchor, emcees                  Tufts-New England

American Liver Found-              the program at the                      Medical and a

ation "Progress &                     American Liver Found-                 recipient of the 2006

Promise" Award from               ation's 2006 "Progress                "Progress & Promise"

Dr. Elizabeth Pomfret,              & Promise" gala.                          Award from the

a liver transplant                                                                          American Liver

surgeon.                                                                                        Foundation (the ALF).

     It was indeed an evening to remember.  The American Liver Foundation, New England Chapter, held its 2006 “Progress & Promise” Gala in the Plaza Ballroom at the Seaport Hotel on the boulevard in South Boston.  Close to 400 attended. 

     The convivial gathering echoed with laughter and fellowship.  Music was provided by the Mood Swings Orchestra, Boston’s all-women big band, led by Kathleen Hepburn.  Two dancers demonstrated that the art of jitterbugging and ballroom dancing are alive and well.  The food, drinks, and service were excellent.

The evening was emceed by Karen Marinella, the popular anchor of WB56’s Ten O’Clock News.  Thank yous were rendered to the many, many people who made the evening possible, in particular the Event Co-Chairs - Bob Merowitz, Peter Zane, and Margaret Lynch. 

     Among the attendees were Chris and Denise Gurshin.  Denise donated a portion of her liver to her husband, Chris, just a few short months after their marriage.  Joe Leary, who is Congressman Lynch’s brother-in-law, was at the Gala with his wife, Karen.  Lynch successfully donated 60% of his liver to Leary several years ago.  Nowadays, both are well and healthy.

     In part, last Saturday’s Gala was a celebration of the technology and medical skills that have made such lifesaving advances possible.  Transplants and many other treatments for liver disease that we now take for granted were thought to be miracles (or outright impossible) less than 50 years ago.  Much progress has been made. 

     Approximately 30 million Americans have some form of liver disease – that’s one in ten of us.  There are more than 100 different liver ailments, and of course, each of us has only one liver.  The ALF has been in the forefront of fundraising, educational programs, and supporting research into liver disease.

     Ellen Zane is the President and CEO of Tufts-New England Medical Center.  She started her long and successful medical career in Speech Therapy.  Her crowning achievement was the turnaround she effected as the head of Tufts-NEMC.  She was honored for her support of liver treatments at Tufts-NEMC as well.

     In her remarks, Zane thanked a number of people who have been so supportive of her efforts, and said she was honored to be recognized along with Congressman Lynch.  She then mentioned, to a loud round of applause, that it was her and her husband Peter’s 27th wedding anniversary that very evening.

     Congressman Stephen Lynch received his ALF “Progress & Promise” Award for his tireless advocacy on behalf of liver research and health care.  Not least, Lynch became a living donor by giving almost two-thirds of his own liver to his brother-in-law, Joe Leary of South Boston.  And Lynch did this just before a political campaign.

     Lynch’s remarks included a tribute to Theresa Smith, the first living liver donor.  “Now, that took courage.” he said.  He also said that becoming a living donor is really more a matter of love than courage, and those who work in the field of liver disease reflect the indomitable human spirit, which won’t let problems go unsolved.  He concluded by mentioning that there is a long way to go – there are upwards of 80,000 individuals on the waiting lists for replacement organs of all kinds.

     The “Progress & Promise” Gala concluded with a multi-prize raffle and a live auction.  Tickets, sports memorabilia, travel accommodations, and, of course, a “political” dinner with Congressman Stephen Lynch were among the items offered to the enthusiastic crowd. 



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