2012 Third and Fourth Quarter Newsletter




Pacific Northwest University Holds Its Second Colby Cassani Endowed Lectureship Series.

PNWU:  October found the Colby Foundation in Yakima Washington where Pacific Northwest University's School of Osteopathic Medicine presented its second Colby Cassani Endowed Lectureship Series (CCELS) to over 160 students, faculty and staff.

An exciting time for the foundation, funding PNWU's CCELS represents our mission in action!  Future physicians at PNWU's CCELS learned about organ, eye, and tissue donation made possible by the generosity of Colby Foundation contributors, the expertise of speakers at the lectureship, and the dedication of PNWU to implementing the lecutureship's requirements.

"It isn't just that we want the scienctific, medical, and technical aspects of donation and transplantation presented to our future physicians," says Colby Foundation Trustee and Speaker, Starla Cassani "it is that we want them to learn those things along with stories straight from real life donor families and organ recipients whose lives were saved or improved through donation. We want to reach and engage them with the whole picture so that they are connecting with patients and families with expertise and compassion." 

The Colby Foundation created the CCELS to ensure a permanent place for organ donation and transplantation education at our nation's medical schools. A school applies to the Colby Foundation for the CCELS and is awarded if certain requirements are met.  Once awarded, the school may be granted ongoing funding to continue the CCELS if its presentation includes medical/scientific as well as legal/logistical perspectives on organ donation and if it keeps at the center, the real human stories of donation.

At PNWU's 2012 CCELS, attendees experienced this comprehensive learning opportunity. Starla Cassani began by sharing the foundation's story which is really the Story of Hope of her son Colby, and the tremendous legacy of his brief life.

Speakers from the scientific, medical, legal, and logistical perspectives followed, including Pam Hester, nurse manager of the heart transplant and mechanical heart program at Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center and Mike Meyer, Regional Director for SightLife, an organization restoring sight through cornea transplantation.

Both presentations came to life, literally, in the talks given by each of two additional speakers--Oscar S., a heart recipient, and David S., a bilateral cornea recipient.  Their stories, but most importantly, their presence at the Lectureship made real the lives saved and improved by organ donation.

Student evaluations confirmed that including the human stories at the center of donation and transplantation left a deep and lasting impression and made more comprehensible and meaningful the scientific and technical information presented.  Starla Cassani heard it direcly in a conversation with students after the lectureship "they feel motivated to discuss the decision to become a registered donor with healthy adult patients in a way they wouldn't have before today...they gained an understanding of the process and a sensitivity to the ways they can make a real difference with patients.  It is another way to help to save lives."


Students at Lake Erie College of Ostepathic Medicine (LECOM) Raise Awareness:

LECOM:  LECOM students who have attended a CCELS in the past were inspired to action. Our sincere thanks to those of you who organized to raise funds and awareness about organ, eye, and tissue donation!  The result, co-sponsored by the Colby Foundation, was the Colby Foundation 5K Run in September.  The regional Organ Procurement Organization, CORE (Center for Organ Recovery and Education) was also present to share literature and conversation with participants.  Prizes were donated generously from the LECOM Wellness Center. Race results can be found on the Erie Runners Club website


Colby Foundation Trustees Accept "Health Care Heroes" Award:

The Colby Foundation was honored to accept the Nevada Business Magazine's "Healthcare Heroes Award"  for outstanding nonprofit in healthcare education.  The magazine's award program "has a two-fold purpose that has remained unchanged in the seven years since the inaugural event. It’s a vehicle to donate scholarship funds to benefit those that want to pursue healthcare education. It also allows for a venue in which to celebrate those in healthcare that provide excellent service but wouldn’t otherwise be recognized." ~NVB


Annual Fundraising Campaign:  2012 - 2013

Our Holiday Campaign and Annual Appeal begins!  We are profoundly grateful for the contributions you make each year and for the increased number of Colby Cassani Endowed Lectureships (CCELS) your contributions make possible.  As you decide where you might make a contribution before year's end, we hope you will consider a contribution to the Colby Foundation.  With your support, we will be able to continue to educate about organ, eye, and tissue donation as well as to fund the CCELS at more schools of medicine.  More of our future physicians will gain the understanding voiced by the students above; more lives will be improved or saved.  

Together, we are making a difference.  Thank you!

Click here to make a secure contribution online now. 


Upcoming Colby Cassani Endowed Lectureships made possible by our contributors

February 27:  Lincoln Memorial Debusk College of Osteopathic Medicine

March 15:  Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine, Bradenton FL

March 21:  Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine, Erie PA

March 22:  Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine, Greensburg, PA

April:  Oklahoma State University Center for Health Sciences, Tulsa OK       


Have you already joined us on Facebook?  Click the icon to "like" us on facebook!   Stay informed.  Add to the conversation.  And spread the word!


November is National Marrow Awareness Month!  Donating bone marrow saves lives.  Have you ever considered signing up to be a bone marrow donor?  To help you decide about becoming a bone marrow, blood stem cell, and umbilical cord blood donor, click here to learn more.


In the immortal words of Buzz Lightyear, "to infinity and beyond!" This is the story of a little guy who is inquisitive and charismatic. His story is overwhelming and filled with lots of medical terminology, that shows just how challenged his start has been. However, through it all, little Carter has emerged from those "setbacks" much to his parents' joy and relief. "Carter is an energetic and charming little boy who loves going to school, riding his bike to the park and finding a new adventure every day," says Sean (Carter's Dad). It wasn't always clear that Carter's family would get to see him doing these things. When we asked Sean to share Carter's journey, this is what he shared with us ...

"In the summer of 2007, my wife, Chelle's normal pregnancy, was suddenly interrupted early in her 3rd trimester when she was diagnosed with a rare and serious condition called HELLP Syndrome. Carter's premature birth by C-section was a necessity to save both mother, Chelle, and baby, Carter. Born 2 lbs, 4 ounces, 10 weeks early, Carter was the size of a human hand - so tiny that a wedding band could fit at his elbow."

Carter's early months were spent in the hospital. He required ventilators to help him breath and round the clock specialized nursing care. In his first month of life, Carter acquired necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) - a serious bowel condition that required 3 life saving surgeries, numerous other medical interventions, and left him dependent on intravenous (IV) nutrition. After 7 ½ months in the neonatal ICU, Carter was not only unable to transition to oral feeds, he also was diagnosed with liver failure. Ultimately, his parents learned that Carter was in dire need of a liver transplant but was too fragile to be considered. They were devastated to hear "take him home" and "make him comfortable."

Undaunted, they researched the plight of "short gut/SBS" children and found an amazing surgeon who offered to help. They life-flighted Carter to the new hospital and began participating in an experimental drug trial. After a month Carter showed tremendous progress with weight gain, less jaundice, and with reaching developmental milestones - he finally smiled for the first time! His parents were hopeful the drug would be enough; however, a standard procedure went "frightfully wrong and immediately necessitated conversations with the transplant team. The initial discussions centered-around liver transplant only, but we soon learned that the team was looking at multiple organ transplantation."

"We listed Carter on a Saturday afternoon and less than 48 hours later we got the call for possible donor match. At the time, Carter was only 9 months old and weighed barely 9 lbs. By the grace of God, we happened to be in one of the few pediatric facilities to undertake the very rare transplant Carter would require - a multivisceral transplant. After a long 8 hour surgery, Carter emerged to the ICU having survived the procedure and for the first time with skin color no longer orange-tinged and eyes no longer yellow. He also had 5 new organs: a liver, pancreas, spleen, stomach and small intestine!"

Sean was happy to report that Carter is now 5 years old, talking, walking, eating and living as a normal little boy. "We are grateful to the 'risk-taking' doctors who have helped Carter, to the drug trials that he has been able to participate in, but most importantly, to the immensely generous gift a family bestowed upon my family by CHOOSING ORGAN DONATION. Their child, my son's donor, SAVED my son's LIFE!

Click here for more Stories of Hope



We know that not everyone can send in a contribution but here is another way to contribute!  To those of you who have already begun using GoodSearch as your search engine...we THANK YOU for your support!  For those who have not yet made the switch, we hope you will consider it because the Colby Foundation earns a penny every time you use GoodSearch to search the internet.

How does that work?  GoodSearch.com is a Yahoo-powered search engine that donates half its advertising revenue to the charities its users designate. Use it just as you would any search engine, get quality search results from Yahoo, and watch the donations to the Colby Foundation add up!

To learn more, just use the GoodSearch icon (top right of this page) or go to www.goodsearch.com and please spread the word.  We appreciate it!