The Herald reports on the Long Island TRIO’s Re-dedication Of Donor Rose Garden In Eisenhower Park

L.I. needs more organ donors

Local man waits, hopes for a new heart
By Shannon Koehle for the Long Island Herald

A Rose Garden rededication ceremony to honor Long Island organ donors took place last Saturday in Eisenhower Park.
Approximately 300 people turned out for the 16th annual ceremony — which years ago attracted just a handful of people.

“These donor families are unselfish in a time that is tragic,” said Mike Sosna, president of the Long Island Transplant Recipient International Organization. Sosna became involved with TRIO after receiving a kidney from his father, and was named president of the organization in 2006.

“We’re here today to honor donors and donor families who have given the gift of life,” he said.

One 11-year-old recipient who attended the ceremony is actively trying to change lives. Lauren Shields, who spoke at the event, was infected with a virus that attacked her heart, said her mother, Jeanne. Lauren underwent a successful heart transplant in March 2009.

Lauren Shields, 11, is a heart recipient, and spoke at the Rose Garden Rededication on Saturday. COURTESY LONG ISLAND TRIO

While Jeanne Shields said she is grateful that someone chose to donate their heart for her daughter to use, she added, “When you’re on the other side and waiting, it can be the most helpless feeling in the world.”

According to Sosna, 18 Americans die every day waiting for a donor organ, and 1,257 people had organ transplants in New York in 2010. Given those numbers,

Lauren and her mother decided to get involved in the effort to increase donor registration on Long Island.

New York state has among the fewest registered organ donors in the nation, said Sosna, and a main reason is that when residents are asked to enroll in the donor registry on the form at the Department of Motor Vehicles, a response is not required.

Now, the Shields family and TRIO are working to implement Lauren’s Law. The legislation would require residents to state whether or not they want to be an organ donor.

Jeanne Shields explained that it is important to have the words “not at this time” on the form for those who choose not to participate rather than just “no,” because otherwise doctors would not be allowed to ask their families about organ donation.

To learn more about LI TRIO, visit

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Organ donors honored at Rose Garden ceremony at Eisenhower Park-Newsday 2017

On her 32nd birthday in 2006, Jennifer Ruzek of Woolwich Township, New Jersey, gave a gift to her daughter: a portion of her liver, extracted in an eight-hour surgery and transplanted into the dying 8-month-old.

Bella Zuccato had been born two months premature, she told some 200 people gathered in Eisenhower Park in East Meadow on Saturday. She had weighed 4 pounds, and her failing liver had turned her skin yellow, said Zuccato, now 11.

But the transplant was successful, which meant Ruzek received a birthday gift in return: her daughter’s life.

“She still said it’s the best present anyone can ever have,” Bella said Saturday, with her mother, 43, looking on proudly.

Their extraordinary story was not unique among the crowd assembled Saturday for the rededication of the park’s Rose Garden, a ceremony held annually to honor organ donors and their families.

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Nassau County Legislator Judy Jacobs attended LI TRIO’s annual Rose Garden Ceremony to honor Donor Families

Published on July 1, 2014

Long Island Chapter of Transplant Recipients International Organization Rose Garden Ceremony Nassau County Legislator Judy Jacobs attended LI TRIO’s annual Rose Garden Ceremony to honor Donor Families hosted by The Long Island Chapter of Transplant Recipients International Organization (TRIO). The event took place on September 17th in Eisenhower Park. Speakers included healthcare professionals, members of

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