2019 OTS Tree Planting Ceremony

More than 80 people attended the 28th Annual OTS Tree Planting Ceremony on Sunday, April 28 at Naper Settlement in Naperville.   The weather did not look good for an outdoor ceremony when there was a spring snowstorm in the Chicago area the day before.  But all the snow melted just in time for us to walk to the site where we dedicated a tree in honor of organ donors.   The day of Sunday, April 28 turned out to be a sunny and beautiful day for the tree planting ceremony.

OTS would like to sincerely thank the following speakers who talked about organ donation at the ceremony:  Reverend Karen Swiderski,  Ms. Connie Boatman,  Program Director of the office of Organ. & Tissue Donation at the Illinois Secretary of State’s office, Kevin Cmunt, CEO of the Gift of Hope, Mr. Bob DiFiore , a heart recipient, and Cindy Abitua, donor mom and Gift of Hope Advocate.   We were also honored to have two very special guests at this event, 11-year old Sophia Sanchez and her mother.  Sofia received a heart transplant last year, and she has spoken at many events in the past few months to promote organ and tissue donation.   

Cindy Abitua shared her emotional story of organ donation and spoke about her son Tristan.  Tristan was just 21 years told when he suddenly passed away from an accidental fall.   Tristan was a registered organ donor, and he saved the lives of 4 people through organ donation  and enhanced the lives of many others through tissue donation.   Cindy told all of us that it gives her comfort to know that her son was able to save so many lives with the gift of organ donation.  She has even started the Tristan Scott Foundation  to help other donor families.  Thank you Cindy, for sharing your story  of your hero Tristan with OTS! 

OTS would like to thank everyone who took the time to attend the 28th Annual Tree Planting Ceremony on April 28.  We also want to thank the volunteers from Kohl’s who helped to set up and clean up after this event.  We love the amazing volunteers from Kohl’s!

 Whenever you visit Naper Settlement don’t forget to look for all of the trees that have been planted by OTS through the years in honor of organ and tissue donors.  Just look for the black markers in front of the trees that have OTS on the marker. 

We  hope that all of these trees are a living reminder of all of the lives that have been saved by organ and tissue donation.               

Jaime Scholl