Surviving a traumatic injury offers a second chance for those involved in these life-threatening incidents. Each year Lee Memorial Health System pays tribute to trauma survivors and their caregivers at the Second Chance Celebration, an annual event for local trauma survivors and their families and friends to come together with trauma staff and retell stories of survival, share accomplishments, celebrate their new normal and remember those lost to trauma.
This year, as in the past, memorial quilts with squares crafted by family members left behind were displayed. There also was a butterfly release in memory of those whose lives were lost to trauma and the annual Glancy Award winners were announced.
The Kevin E. Glancy Award of Excellence was created in honor of Dr. Glancy, in recognition of his dedication to trauma surgery at Lee Memorial. Glancy awards are given to survivors who rose above his/her injuries and overcame obstacles to return to the main stream, or to caregivers such as family, first responders or trauma medical staff who made a significant contribution to the care of a trauma patient.
Jeanne Squitier received the award as a trauma survivor involved in a motorcycle accident nearly 9 years ago this December. She lost her spouse and her independence because of that holiday accident. Since then, she has been able to carve out a “new normal.” She mourned the loss of her spouse, recovered under the care and watchful eye of her daughter, attended a bereavement group and began volunteering. She first volunteered with the bereavement group and then started volunteering with Lee Memorial Hospital, touching people with her story and her daily success.
Reggie Lamour was 18 when he suffered an injury playing rugby. Now 19, Reggie is confined to a wheelchair, requires a machine to help him breathe and needs 24 hour care. None of this stops Reggie. He mentors others who have a similar injury, he visits with staff to keep them updated on his progress, and he is working on his GED, shows a zest for life, loves music and never gives up.
Pam Strohmeier was recognized because she heard the need, had an idea, and planted a seed. She teaches young children to make lap size comforters for families to wrap themselves in while they sit vigil by the bedside of a critically injured loved one. She and the girls have comforted countless strangers with their thoughtfulness, and in the process have taught many others the lesson of compassion.
Suzie Willis is a trauma nurse with a special way about her. She has an uncanny ability to know what a patient or family needs before they do. She knows when to offer gentle assistance and when she needs to be a bulldog. Her peers and physicians seek her out because they respect her innate ability to notice issues before they become a big problem.
Each year the Second Chance Celebration is an emotional yet uplifting event. The event organizers would like to thank Bob Simpson and LeeSar for sponsoring the event. More information on this and other Trauma Center events are available by calling Kathy Wecher at 239-343-2561.