Contact: Colleen Valdini,
Public & External Affairs Manager
Christine Hendriks,
VP, Public & External Affairs
Phone: (631) 376-4104

Date: April 17, 2012


West Islip, NY – Copiague resident Marie LaPersonerie lost her 24-year-old son, Sean, following a car accident causing extensive head injuries, only a year after he returned from Iraq. LaPersonerie was faced with carrying out his intention to donate his organs. A lifelong friend, trying to comfort her, brought a hand-knit blanket to the hospital to be placed on Sean until he went in for surgery for the removal of his organs. The blanket was then presented to the family as a remembrance of their loved one’s selfless gift.

“Anyone who knew Sean would say he had a heart of gold and would give the shirt off his back to anyone in need, so it was no surprise that he registered to be an organ donor,” said LaPersonerie’s friend, Darla Jean Ballin.

Soon after her son’s passing, LaPersonerie and members of the Town of Babylon Spangle Drive Senior Citizen Center started “Sean’s Gift”, a not-for-profit program intended to provide support to organ donors’ families. Good Samaritan Hospital Medical Center is offering the hand-knit blankets, given with a note, “May this blanket wrap you in warmth and love of the loved one you lost.” The vision is to expand the program throughout the state championed by the New York Organ Donor Network.

"Being able to help others with the donation of my son’s organs helped me through this tragedy. Knowing my son helped saves several lives has given me great comfort,” said LaPersonerie.

More than 110,000 people are waiting for organ transplants in the United States; an estimated 7,500 of them live on Long Island, in New York City or in the counties to the north. Good Samaritan Hospital coordinates organ donations and supports families in the local community throughout the process.

The registry is a confidential database of legal consent for donation and it is administered by New York state’s Department of Health. It is only accessed by authorized personnel of the New York Organ Donor Network and tissue and eye banks when there is a potential donor. New Yorkers can register at any Department of Motor Vehicles office or online at For more information, please call (631) 376-4444.

Sean's Gift


Pictured (L-R): Good Samaritan Hospital Senior Vice President and CNO Pat Hogan, New York Organ Donor Network Hospital Services Specialists Alicia Algeo and Betty Troy, MPH, Doris Ballin, member of Town of Babylon Spangle Drive Senior Citizen Center, Marie LaPersonerie, Elizabeth Maffe, organ recipient, Pastoral Care’s Sr. Ellen Moore, ICU’s Anya Benden, RN and Debbie Sawina, RN and Good Samaritan Hospital Executive Vice President and CAO Nancy Simmons.


Good Samaritan Hospital Medical Center is a 537-bed (including 100 nursing home beds), voluntary, not-for-profit hospital located in West Islip. The medical center, which has more than 4,500 employees and almost 900 physicians on staff, had nearly 30,000 patient admissions and more than 95,000 emergency department visits in 2011. Good Samaritan is a member of Catholic Health Services of Long Island. Visit the website at

Good Samaritan provided more than $43 million in community service and charity care in 2011. The medical center supplies residents with the tools necessary to maintain good health. This includes community lectures, screenings, health fairs and other community programs and services.