Paying it forward with acts of kindness

LONG ISLAND HERALD | Rosanna Weitekamp

Jennifer Lentini,a heart transplant recipient, at St. Thomas the Apostle School in West Hempstead last week.
St. Thomas the Apostle School kicks off year-long Kindness Revolution

In 1996, when Jennifer Lentini was only 13, she was suffering from a heart muscle disease and in desperate need of a transplant. For months,she waited for one in a hospital, as her heart got progressively worse. “The doctors told my parents to say goodbye to me on July Fourth,” Lentini recalled. “Then on July 5, the organ came in.”

Lentini’s last minute gift of life was from a 14-year-old boy who was shot accidentally by a friend with a .380-caliber handgun. The boy’s mother, Vicki Brannon, felt strongly that his heart should be donated.

The experience led Lentini, who is now 33, to where she was last Friday — in the packed auditorium of St. Thomas the Apostle School in West Hempstead, speaking to hundreds of students about her experience and the importance of becoming an organ donor. “I always ask people, would you accept a transplant if you really needed one? And most of the time, they say yes,” Lentini told the audience. “Then, in turn, I say to them, ‘You must think about becoming a donor, too.’” Continue reading