Traverse City Record-Eagle

September 2, 2013

Northern Notes: Mission team thanks supporters

by Stephanie Beach
Traverse City Record-Eagle

---- — Sharon Burke, representing the Traverse City St. Francis mission group who traveled on a mission trip to Zambia, wrote on behalf of the children and staff at the Kasisi Orphanage in Lusaka, Zambia, to thank the donors who supported the annual trip to Africa in June.

“A special thank you to Munson Medical Center and Eric Warren and Debra Reed of Munson Medical Center’s Pharmacy Department for their generous donation of medicines, which were put to immediate use at the orphanage,” Sharon wrote. “Sue Gibson, RN, from Northern Michigan Medical Alliance deserves special recognition as well as she took the time to hand-pick items which were generously given to the orphanage.”

Sharon went on the explain that each student on the trip carried an additional bag of luggage to deliver the supplies and medicine to the orphanage, which has a small hospital that provides a variety of medical treatment to children in need.

“While the staff at the orphanage was grateful for the many supplies given, Sister Mariola, who heads the orphanage, left a remarkable impression on all with a comment (she) made about the quality of the supplies that we take for granted in the U.S. She said, ‘I can’t remember the last time we had tongue depressors that didn’t cause slivers, thank you so much to the generous people of Traverse City.’”

Sharon also sends a huge thank you to the folks at the Bayshore Marathon who donated medals and countless T-shirts for the children and the village of Kasisi. She said that the St. Francis students held various relays and competitions for the children to win medals and all of the children received T-shirts.

Finally, Sharon acknowledged that none of this would have been possible if not for Father Robbie Deka, who organizes the mission trip each year, and Bill Marsh who kindly donated transportation to and from Detroit.

The mission team included: the Rev. Robbie Deka; teachers, Davis Peck and Maria LaCross; parent chaperones, Debra Marsh, Elizabeth Stevens and Sharon Burke; and students, Abigail Shrift, Keegan Tarrant, Jenna Troppman, Megan Donaldson, Marea Swaffer, Liza Erickson, Hannah Stachnik, Nicole Marsh, Madi Fedorinchik, Ali Stevens and Natalie Burke.

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Michigan Blood honored Sharon Childs for the impactful role she has played in securing a safe and adequate blood supply for Munson Medical Center and more than 40 other Michigan-based hospitals by holding a tribute blood drive in her name.

Sharon retired from Michigan Blood after 43 years of service. In 1994, she moved her family to Traverse City from Saginaw to help establish Michigan Blood as the provider of blood locally. Since then, Sharon has played a leading role in the collection of more than 204,589 units of blood.

Safe Harbor received $10 from Michigan Blood for every attempted donation during the tribute drive and received a total donation of $570. Sharon has supported Safe Harbor for many years and she requested that it be the recipient of the funds.