Firecracker Hot 4th of July

For my first time, I joined CORE volunteers to march in the great 4th of July parade in Canonsburg, PA.  Here we are coming up the main drag, called Pike Street, where I walked the whole parade route, or in my case 6,000 Fit Bit steps in one hour.  Passing out candy along the way, and so many little ones with red, white and blue, certainly brought impetus to my pace.  The temp was in the low 90s and heat index over 100 and the hottest day of the summer.  Well it was the 4th of July!

Thankful for my Donor and those of my fellow volunteers to stand up to the challenge.

Keeping The Faith, was easy that day, thanks to Organ Donors and our great Partners 4 Life.

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I Love To Share The Story

I was asked by the Friends of the Library, in Washington, PA to talk about my book, Partners 4 Life, which I always gladly do.  There was a nice turn out and maybe 4-5 nurses in the group.  That is the best for me, as I am so appreciative of nurses for the job they do for transplant patients especially.  Many of you know that I contribute profits from my book to the continuing education of cardio thoracic nurses at UPMC (University of Pittsburgh Medical Center), where I received my double lung in 2009.

This library group was certainly interested in my book, and I donated a copy of Partners 4 Life, to their library, and a number of people also bought a copy for their own reading.  The kindness of the group, was expressed in a nice thank you note, where they also send me some pictures of my presentation.  The generous group also donated a check for my cause, and all it and the book sales will be passed on to the nurses I mentioned above.

My passion for nurses comes naturally, as my Donor was a nurse, who ironically was very passionate about organ donation and transplants.  No one wanted her to become a Donor at the age of 51, but her passion continues in her gift of life to me, as I tell her story virtually every day anyone stops in the old frame shop I run in a town just south of Pittsburgh.  All contributions to UPMC are made in honor of my Donor, Judy Murphy.

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The Call Came Tonight / 9 Years Ago

Thanks to the partners that prepared me, and my family that supported me, when I got the call that a suitable organ donor came available,  I was asked if I was willing to accept the offer.  Suffering from Pulmonary Fibrosis for a couple of years, but only aware of the terminal outlook for this disease for about a year, and getting worse fast, I was ready.  Besides I had a good friend and great mentor who had not one, but two lung transplants, so I was not afraid of the fear of facing a surgeon.  I would say I was very much at peace, regardless of the outcome.

I drove myself the 45 minutes to the hospital that night and was calm, not running any red lights or in a hurry, as if I was headed to another meeting, like so many I attended in nearly 5 decades of sales meetings and appointments.  The lungs were acceptable to the surgeon, and so was I, and that is where I was joined with my greatest Partner for my second chance at life, My Organ Donor.

My journey was not easy, but my large family kept me in their prayers and thoughts, and my Mentor John Sullivan, visited all of us often to help us Keep The Faith.  I was in the hospital two months, which is longer than the average at the time, which was three weeks.  A staph infection about nailed me, after my initial surgery, but after a clean-up surgery, I made it.  Sully told me, it would not be easy, but be patient which was difficult for me, but he and my medical and personal partners saw me through the duration..

Three and half months later I wrote my Donor family, and heard back from them after a while, and certainly understood, I may not ever hear from them.  I did ironically when I was visiting another friend who also had a lung transplant, which was the first I knew of the passion my Donor had for nursing and other likes.  As I had grown large respect for nurses over the months I was being cared for, it seemed appropriate that a nurse had saved my life.  The cost she paid can never be repaid, but her oldest son, Travis J. Murphy has welcomed me and over the years, after meeting for the first time four years after my transplant.

That relationship has transitioned and developed into truly a unique partnership, as I protect the Gift of Life his Mother, Judy Murphy gave me 9 years ago.  I never feel like celebrating this event for me, but rather will always remain in quiet gratitude of my precious Gift of Life by my Donor.  Keep The Faith.


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An Easter Tradition

Every year (maybe the past 7 of them) at Easter Time, I visit our great chocolate manufacturer, Sarris in Canonsburg, PA.  I buy two big solid chocolate Easter Baskets, and then on Good Friday I deliver them first thing in the AM at shift change at UPMC.  One for the nurses in ICU, and one for nurses on 9D, the transition floor, where I was a patient 9 years ago this month.  This year not only did I deliver the Easter Baskets, but also a copy of my book for their library break rooms, and a picture of the new P. Buckley Moss print, made for my 3rd annual Donate Life Art Show in my custom frame & art gallery in McMurray, PA, April 13-14th.

As with profits of the sales of my book, the profits my store garners from the sale of this art will all go to the continuing education of cardiothoracic transplant nurses at UPMC.  The art work created by Pat Moss is titled “A Gift of Life”.  It tells the story of how transplants start with a Organ Donor, and along the way angels and nurses help us along as we take advantage of getting back into out lives.  I feel we owe that tribute to our Donors and medical partners who help us get there, then it is up to us.

Nurses are so important to us recipients and they do so much to help us.  My appreciation is more than most, since my Donor, was a nurse.  Her passion for nursing was shown in her favorite color which was purple, and it also is color of the smocks for the nurses in “A Gift of Life”.  Keep The Faith.

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I run a custom picture frame shop but that is not why I am here.

My business is a custom picture frame shop in McMurray, PA, now called Windswept Frame & Art.  I have been making picture frames for the last decade or so, but the first of this year I branched out into a frame & art shop.  Each year in April (Donate Life) month I host an Art Show.  The major artist in my gallery is P. Buckley Moss and she is the most awarded and productive artist I know of in the US, and known internationally with her prolific portfolio of art.    Pat created a piece of art work for my show which is called the Donate Life Art Show April, 13-14, and details can be found on my business FB page

Pat’s created work of art is called “A Gift Of Life” which tells my story and the importance of Organ Donors to help people with the help of medical personnel,  get back into their lives when there is no other health option.  I am pleased to honor my Organ Donor, Judy Murphy, a passionate nurse from Kansas, who I have learned about through her oldest son Travis J. Murphy.  He wrote a chapter in my book about his Mother’s life and legacy in my book, Partners 4 Life, which I read often, and helps put things in perspective.

The numbered art-work shown here will be sold for $100 each and the image is about 12″ square.  All the profits of the sale of this work of art in my shop will be donated to the continuing education of cardiothoracic transplant nurses at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, where I received a double lung transplant on April 21, 2009.

This is why I Keep The Faith.

If you would like to buy this piece of art, email my frame shop at


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Letter To The Author

I had a great start for my weekend, when I opened an email that I want to share with you.  Partners 4 Life was released in April 2014, in Donate Life month, which is April.  Obviously, as I have stated time and again, my greatest Partner was my Donor, Judy Murphy, and I will be honoring her again this year in April, with a special event honoring organ donors, in my custom picture frame shop, Windswept Frame & Art, McMurray, PA.  Many other medical and personal Partners were there for me as needed along my journey started in 2008, and transplanted in April of 2009.

Besides making it an easy read, the other major goal of my book was to help PF patients, like I was, and as the writer of this email was, and her message fills my heart with gratitude.  Keep The Faith, if you have this disease or any debilitating illness, maybe my book can help.  If you have PF, hopefully a transplant is possible for you as there still is no cure.

Here is the email:

My friend Peggy who lives in Pittsburgh met you last April 5th during one of
your speaking engagements.  She spoke with you about my transplant &
purchased a copy of your book which she just delivered to me yesterday.  I
wanted you to know how much I enjoyed reading your book; especially the
things you went through that matched my experiences so closely.  It’s hard
to explain the gratitude we feel for these wonderful miracles to anyone who
hasn’t actually been through the process from initial diagnosis to a
successful outcome.  As I meet others beginning their journey through the
transplant process I will be ordering copies of your book to share with
them.  I know it will help to calm them & always remember the importance of
positive thinking.  Thank you for putting a complicated disease into words
that are easy to digest & bringing hope to anyone who is unsure if the
decision to be put on a transplant list is the right choice.  Thank goodness
for the unselfish donors & their families!  – Camilla Camilli, Langhorne, PA

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Thanksgiving at The Family House

Had a chance to help out serving Thanksgiving Dinner at The Family House in Pittsburgh, with some CORE (Center for Organ Recovery & Education) volunteers and employees.  This is one of three homes in Pittsburgh for people with the need for an extended stay near UPMC, or other hospitals like the VA in Pittsburgh.  Everyone in the picture helped and it was a team effort, and I admittedly did the least, but talked with the patients and their caregivers while we served them the wonderful feast.

Thankful for the opportunity to do this this year and meet people I had not met before like the Donor family member next to me Kathy Osterrieder, whose husband was an organ donor.  I talked about my gratitude for my Donor and the relationship I have with my Donor family through the oldest son Travis.  Every Thanksgiving for me is one of gratitude thanks to the gift of life, from my Donor.  Keep The Faith


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