He Found a Kidney Donor – Through Facebook. Today Matt Crater Celebrates Jessica Hawk’s Gift

Kidney Transplant Symposium

From left to right are Mike Gabel, fiance of the kidney donor; Jessica Hawk, kidney donor; Susan Crater, wife of kidney recipient; Matt Crater, kidney transplant recipient; and LVHN transplant surgeons Lynsey Biondi, MD, and Michael Moritz, MD.

While recovering from a kidney transplant at Lehigh Valley Hospital–Cedar Crest last fall, Matt Crater received a surprise Facebook message from someone he had never met named Jessica Hawk.  She also was in the hospital and hoped to visit him.

It turned out Hawk had donated the kidney that was changing Crater’s life. Technically, her living organ donation had been anonymous. But she had been inspired by reading about Matt’s condition on Facebook and made the donation on his behalf.

“I just couldn’t meet her right then,” says Crater, a 35-year-old systems analyst who lives in Bellefonte (Centre County) with his wife, Susan, and their two young daughters. “I really wanted to meet Jessica and thank her, but it was still too emotional for me. How do you begin to thank someone for a gift like that, especially someone you had never met?” Four months later, they met and quickly became good friends.

Today, Matt and Susan Crater joined Hawk in returning to Lehigh Valley Hospital–Cedar Crest to tell their story as part of a panel discussion during Transplant Symposium 2015. It’s a story that that began a decade ago when Matt Crater lived in Allentown. Read More »

Check In: What’s Your Risk for Colon-Rectal Cancer?

Check Your Colon-Rectal Risk

Usman Shah, MD

Usman Shah, MD
Hematology oncology
Watch a video to learn more about him.

What do these people have in common?

  • Ruth Bader Ginsberg, Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court
  • Sharon Osbourne, television personality and wife of heavy metal legend Ozzy Osbourne
  • Cartoonist Charles Schultz, creator of “Charlie Brown”

Each was diagnosed with colon-rectal cancer. Ginsberg and Osbourne survived their disease. Schultz did not.

“Over the years, colon-rectal cancer has had occasions when it is a ‘talked about’ topic, thanks to well-known people revealing and sharing their illness,” says Usman Shah, MD, hematologist-oncologist with LVPG Hematology Oncology–1240 Cedar Crest. “But it is still a condition people feel awkward discussing or being screened for, and that’s where I say, ‘Let’s talk about this,’ because the disease is worse than momentary embarrassment.” Read More »

K2 Use Creates Patient Surge at Lehigh Valley Area Hospitals

Kenneth Katz, MD

Kenneth Katz, MD
Emergency medicine

Lehigh Valley hospitals have experienced a surge during the past week of young patients with severe reactions after using the synthetic cannabinoid known as K2.

“More than two dozen patients have been treated since Saturday at Sacred Heart Hospital in Allentown (where Lehigh Valley Health Network physicians staff the emergency room), and about 10 people have been admitted to Lehigh Valley Hospital–Cedar Crest,” says LVHN medical toxicologist and emergency medicine physician Kenneth Katz, MD.

Most of the patients are high school-aged adolescents or young adults under 30 years old. “Normally, we may see one of these in a month,” Katz says. “This is clearly an exponential boom.”

LVHN encourages families to talk with their children and loved ones about the dangers of the drug, because the effects are serious.

K2 is a green, leafy matter that’s laced with a hazardous chemical compound that causes harmful reactions in the body. Using it can cause fever, seizures, delirium, agitation and rhabdomyolysis – the destruction of muscle tissue that results from muscles working overtime, which can lead to kidney failure. Read More »

Vote on Facebook for Your Favorite Artwork from Our Fourth Community Canvas 2015 Event

Luisa Sinisterra

Lehigh Valley Academy Regional Charter School third-grader Luisa Sinisterra won the audience vote at Tuesday’s Community Canvas event.

It’s time for you to visit our Facebook page and choose your favorite artwork from our fourth Community Canvas 2015 event.

On Tuesday night, students from Lehigh Valley Academy Regional Charter School in Bethlehem brought their artistic talents to the Bethlehem Area Public Library. The artists were given a lunchbox full of supplies and 45 minutes to create a piece of artwork based on a particular healthy theme. During the contest, attendees enjoyed free healthy meal samples such as a breakfast burrito and mini quiche bites from Randy Zerfass, chef at Lehigh Country Club in Allentown.

Attendees also voted for their favorite artwork. Third-grader Luisa Sinisterra won top honors. But there’s still some voting to do.

Now you can visit Lehigh Valley Health Network’s Facebook page to view the artwork and vote to determine which other artist will move on to the Grand Finale on May 17, featuring Disney television star Sabrina Carpenter. Voting will be open for one week. If you’re using a mobile device to vote, search for “Lehigh Valley Health Network” in your Facebook app. Read More »

This Bud’s For Everyone: Enjoy a Spring Walk Through South Mountain Preserve This Saturday

South Mountain Preserve walkWarmer weather has arrived and spring buds are blooming. Get outside and enjoy the season with a 2.3-mile walk through the South Mountain Preserve in Emmaus at 10 a.m. Saturday, April 25.

The walk is the latest event offered through Get Out! Lehigh Valley, a healthy outdoor activity program developed by Lehigh Valley Health Network and the Wildlands Conservancy. Offered throughout the year, the program’s events – led by a naturalist – allow you to explore a variety of area parks, trails, gardens and rivers. At the same time, you’ll reap a number of physical and mental health benefits, including:

  • Weight control
  • Stress reduction
  • Reduced risk for a variety of diseases
  • Increased self-esteem

Read More »