Section: Clara Maass Medical Center News

Clara Maass Medical Center Raises ‘Donate Life’ Flag in Honor of NJ Sharing Network

Nj Sharing Network and Clara Maass Medical Center
Members of the NJ Sharing Network join with Clara Maass Medical Center President, Mary Ellen Clyne, Ph.D., far left, and Belleville Deputy Mayor Vincent Cozzarelli, far right.

Belleville, NJ – Clara Maass Medical Center along with the other Barnabas Health facilities around the state raised the Donate Life flag to pay tribute to organ and tissue donors and to raise awareness of the life-saving and life-restoring value of organ and tissue donation.

“All over the state of New Jersey, Barnabas Health facilities are joining together today in a show of solidarity to raise the NJ Sharing Network flag in honor of National Donate Life Month,” said Mary Ellen Clyne, Ph.D., President and CEO of Clara Maass Medical Center. “But our commitment to support organ and tissue donation and the work of the sharing network isn’t just one month long – our support extends all year long.”

“As health care professionals, we realize the importance of educating people about organ and tissue donation and about dispelling some of the myths and fears patients and their families have about this generous gift of life,” she said.

Elliott Kominsky, Jackie Lue Raia and Mary Ellen Clyne, Ph.D.
Elliott Kominsky, a heart transplant recipient, far left, stands with Jackie Lue Raia, middle, whose mother donated her organs and tissue, and Clara Maass Medical Center President Mary Ellen Clyne, Ph.D., right, as the flag is raised at CMMC

Joining President Clyne on Friday, April 12, were representatives from the NJ Sharing Network and two special guests – Elliott Kominsky of Warren, who received his heart transplant at a Barnabas Health facility; and Jackie Lue Raia, of Mahwah, who shared a moving story about her mother’s sudden death and subsequent donation of organs and tissue.

“I know that my mom’s organs have saved three lives and 43 people – to date – have received her tissue,” said Raia, who had tears in her eyes and thanked the hospital workers and NJ Sharing Network who met with her family at the time of her mother’s death. “Thank you for being there for my family, for my mom, where in our darkest hour, we were given the greatest gift.”

Kominsky also told a deeply personal story of his journey of being a distance runner and full-time employee before heart problems forced him to retire and he was given six months to live, until a life-saving heart transplant that took place at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center. “The nurses were unbelievable, the doctors were unbelievable. . . I had the opportunity to have my life back. Everything I have I owe to the Sharing Network and the Barnabas Health System.”

After the remarks, staff from CMMC and the NJ Sharing Network went outside under rainy skies to raise the flag outside of the main entrance with the help of the CMMC security staff.

“Barnabas Health is extremely proud to participate in Donate Life Month at each of our facilities to raise awareness of the importance of organ donation and to honor our donors, recipients and their families,” said Barry Ostrowsky, President and Chief Executive Officer of Barnabas Health. “These donor families responded to personal tragedy with life-saving generosity.”

Joe Roth, President & CEO, NJ Sharing Network, thanked health care professionals throughout the Barnabas Health system for their hard work and dedication to organ and tissue donation.

“Without our hospital partners, without our donor families and without the commitment of so many people, we do not exist,” Roth said. “We are able to continue with our life-saving and life-restoring work because so many people — many of them gathered today throughout Barnabas Health — believe and support our mission.”

Nearly 5,000 people currently are awaiting life-saving organs in New Jersey. In 2012, over 370 heart, lung, kidney and pancreas transplant surgeries were performed at Barnabas Health facilities, Saint Barnabas Medical Center in Livingston and Newark Beth Israel Medical Center in Newark.

Barnabas Health facilities include: Saint Barnabas Medical Center, Livingston; Clara Maass Medical Center, Belleville; Newark Beth Israel Medical Center, Newark; Community Medical Center, Toms River; Monmouth Medical Center, Long Branch, Barnabas Health Ambulatory Care Center, Livingston; Kimball Medical Center, Lakewood.

Anyone, regardless of age or medical history, can sign up to be a donor. In-person organ donor registration is available at local Motor Vehicle Commission agencies. Visit to register online.

To learn more about organ and tissue donation or to get involved with NJ Sharing Network call 1-800-742-7365 or visit to register as an organ and tissue donor. For further information about the Barnabas Health Transplant Programs, please visit

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Date: April 10, 2013

Contact: Elizabeth Moore/Courtney Lynch
Public Relations Department

Categories: Heart,Kidney,Lung,Press Releases