Chris Vanni, shown with her son, Michael, tells the stem cell transplant story of her late husband, Angelo, who died at age 56 in October, following complications arising from leukemia treatment. Vanni, who is Franciscan Alliance regional director of quality service and quality improvement, was addressing a crowded, annual Celebration of Life, Gift of Hope Service conducted April 25 during National Donate Life Month at Franciscan St. Margaret Health-Hammond. She credited a male donor from Italy, and another American man, with prolonging her husband’s life through two transplants. Angelo Vanni was diagnosed in August 2011.
Chris Vanni praised donors who give of themselves so that others might have a better chance of survival. Participants also watered two newly planted trees provided by Lake Shore Nursery, one of which signified organ and tissue donors and the other, recipients. The Rev. Gregory Holicky, a hospital chaplain, prayed and presided over the ceremony. Ron Foltman, of St. John Evangelist Parish in St. John, played guitar and led attendees in songs of inspiration.