Heart Transplant and MCS/VAD Program Celebrates Christmas at Annual Christmas Party

The Ascension Seton Heart Specialty Care & Transplant Center at Ascension Seton Medical Center Austin (ASMCA) held its annual patient and family Christmas party at the Ascension Texas Administrative Offices.

After taking a break for three years due to COVID-19, the party was back in action. Over 160 people gathered to celebrate the holidays and the lifesaving gift of organ transplant. In attendance were 30 heart recipients, 12 LVAD patients, and two organ donor families.

James Neider, Administrative Director for Heart Transplant and Advanced Heart Failure Programs, said “It was such an honor to attend the annual transplant and VAD Christmas party this year. It was my first. I was especially impressed with how this community of patients, and even donor families, have built such strong and lasting ties. Their many stories of receiving a renewed chance at life are profoundly touching. So many tears of joy were shed. Such a great way to close out the year. I’m already looking forward to our reunion in 2024!”

Rev. Robert Hudson, an LVAD recipient since March 2020, gave the prayer/invocation.Heart transplant recipients who had their gifts for as little as two months to as long as 32 years gathered in the same space to share their stories since transplant and what gives them life. It was so nice to see the patients, families, staff, and hospital administration interacting in such a festive atmosphere.

The party was made possible by the hard work of the social workers at the Heart Specialty Care & Transplant Center at ASMCA, and funding from the Ascension Seton Foundation.

Shay Rogillio, Heart Transplant & MCS/VAD Social Worker, said “It is truly my favorite day of the year. It is a lot of work to organize the gathering but seeing all of the patients and their families enjoying life and seeing them come back year after year is so rewarding.”

Joel Rice, Executive Director of the Ascension Seton Foundation, said “Attending the Christmas party and listening to the journeys and stories from our transplant recipients makes this time of year extra special. The Foundation is thankful to our supporters who make it possible for us to provide financial assistance to those in need while receiving care at the Heart Specialty Care & Transplant Center.”

To learn more about how the Ascension Seton Foundation assists patients at the Ascension Seton Heart Specialty Care & Transplant Center, please contact Victoria Threadgould (Living Donor) at [email protected].

Published: December 21st, 2023