Last May, long-time Good Shepherd parishioner Don Callen faced a grim reality. His Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis (IPF) had worsened and he required a double lung transplant, and fast. With his life hanging in the balance, Don found himself at the mercy of others — and the clock was ticking.
Despite the difficult diagnosis, Don’s faith remained strong through the unyielding support of his wife of 37 years, Peg, and their two boys Joe and Steve, who stood by his side every step of the way. A devout Catholic, Don also had the support of a large community of family and friends, who began multiple prayer chains.
On May 17, thanks to an anonymous organ donor, Don received the surgery he needed at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH). Two weeks later, he returned to his home on Londonderry Way to continue his long path to recovery. Though the hefty weight of finding a matching donor had been lifted, Don was now faced with a new burden — the financial strain of paying for his treatment. A lifetime of follow-up care, costly daily anti-rejection medications, and the expense of frequent visits to MGH are all critical to his continued survival and recovery. Fortunately for Don, his lifetime spent in service to family, friends, his church, and the community has led to an outpouring of support.
Now, to help ease his financial burden, Good Shepherd Parish will be holding a Pasta and Meatball Dinner on Saturday, September 23rd from 5:00-8:00PM, with all proceeds going toward his recovery. Tickets will be available after each Mass starting September 2nd or by emailing the rectory at firstname.lastname@example.org. Tickets are $15 for adults and $8 for children under 10 (or $50 per family). Raffle basket and 50/50 raffles will also be available.
“For decades Don has been a pillar of the parish, with his roles including lector, extraordinary minister, youth group leader, Parish Council Chair, Evangelization Committee representative, and many more,” says Father Larry Esposito. “This dinner is an opportunity for the Parish community to stand behind him and give him the lift and support he needs.”
But more importantly, Don wants his story to serve as an inspiration for others to join the ranks of organ donors. “None of us want to think about our own mortality and what might happen to our bodies after we pass,” he explains. “But the very idea that one family’s tragedy could provide the very miracle that can save the life of another should provide a ray of comfort to all those in grief.”
If you wish to become an organ donor or have questions, visit the Mass RMV website at: http://www.massrmv.com/LicenseandID/OrganDonor.aspx.