Clean cooking Mother-daughter team turns love of healthy food into blog

Killian Cardinali in her kitchen with protein pancakes and blueberry sauce. (PHOTO BY SUSAN KAHN)

Jillian Cardinali in her kitchen with protein pancakes and blueberry sauce. (PHOTO BY SUSAN KAHN)


A lifelong interest in fresh, healthy food and a love of cooking together inspired an Upstate physical therapist and her mother to launch a food blog in their spare time.

Jillian Cardinali, DPT, of Liverpool, grew up on a farm in Fredonia, south of Buffalo, where her mother, Michelle Johnson, still lives. Together, they started The Clean Cooks blog in 2014. “Clean” means not processed. Their recipes avoid white sugars and highly processed grains.

“We’ve always loved to cook, and then when I moved away, I missed cooking with my mom,” Cardinali explains. “We still call each other to share recipes. The blog evolved from there.”

Much of the blog is devoted to advance preparation.

“Because we both work full time, meal prep is a huge part of our blog,” says Cardinali. “A lot of people say, ‘I want to eat healthy, but I don’t have time.’ If you prepare ahead of time what you want, what your diet is going to be, then you have more control.”

For someone just starting out with meal prep, Cardinali suggests preparing a week’s worth of snacks, and then building up to the larger meals.

She spends part of each weekend making a list for the week of the foods she plans to eat for breakfasts, lunches and dinners. Typically she cranks a Taylor Swift album while cooking.

Cardinali is known for her mason jar salads, wide-mouthed jars containing all the makings of a green salad.

“If you build your salad with your heaviest ingredients on the bottom and your light greens on top, I have successfully eaten salads that are made eight days prior. No one believes me until they do it.”

Meats, cheeses or croutons can be kept atop the salad in a zip-lock bag or small recycled fruit cup.

Cardinali and Johnson aim to post one new recipe each week. Most are original, although they choose some recipes from elsewhere and “clean” them to eliminate sugar or gluten.

Protein pancakes with blueberry sauce

From The Clean Cooks

Pancake ingredients:

1 cup egg whites

1 cup cottage cheese

1 cup old-fashioned oats

2 teaspoons vanilla

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon lemon juice (optional)

1 teaspoon baking powder (optional)

¼ cup coconut flour (optional)

Coconut oil for griddle

Note: The lemon juice, baking powder and coconut flour can be omitted without affecting the recipe, but adding them will bring depth to the flavor.


Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Cook on a griddle with coconut oil. Flip pancakes when bubbles appear and edges are slightly dry. Serve with Blueberry Sauce. Makes 15 pancakes (3 pancakes per serving).

Blueberry sauce ingredients:

1 cup blueberries

1 cup raspberries

1 cinnamon stick

1-inch piece of fresh ginger

2 tablespoons water

1 teaspoon honey

¼ teaspoon vanilla powder (ground vanilla bean)


Bring all ingredients to a boil in a saucepan. Allow to simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove cinnamon stick and ginger.

Nutritional information


Serving size: 3 pancakes

173 calories

16.7 grams protein

19.2 grams carbohydrates

3.1 grams sugar

2.7 grams total fat

2.3 milligrams cholesterol

448.4 milligrams sodium

4.2 grams fiber

Nutritional information

Blueberry sauce:

Serving size: 2 tablespoons

11 calories

3 grams carbohydrates

2 grams sugar

1 gram fiber

zero protein

zero fat

zero cholesterol

zero sodium

Layout 1 finalThis article appears in the spring 2016 issue of Upstate Health magazine.

Posted in community, diet/nutrition, physical therapy/rehabilitation, recipe

Why I served my country: Veterans tell how military experience opened doors, broadened outlooks, taught valuable skills

Upstate veterans and friends at the Central New York Veterans Day parade in 2012. (PHOTO BY SUSAN KEETER)

Upstate veterans and friends at the Central New York Veterans Day parade in 2012. (PHOTO BY SUSAN KEETER)


For some it was a way to afford college or gain entry into the working world. For others, it was duty.

Military service changes the lives of many Americans, including several who now work in a variety of jobs at Upstate. They are influenced by lessons and skills learned in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard or Marine Corps.

Don Sadeckas was a military police officer in the Army who retired as a sergeant first class in 2001. He still feels pride when he sees a military member in uniform, knowing that they are up to whatever comes at them.

“I am proud to be a veteran, and I am also proud of those who served before and after me. I thank them every opportunity I get,” he says.

When Yetta Williams enlisted in the Air Force, she at first didn’t recognize the significance of her role. It began sinking in when she arrived at Lackland Air Force Base in Texas.

“We were told that we were now ambassadors for the president of the United States, and that we should be aware of that at all times and conduct ourselves accordingly,” she recalls. “It occurred to me that I didn’t just represent myself. I represented my family, my church, Christ, the company I work for. I have never forgotten that.”

Williams married an airman named Austin, who now works at National Grid.

Of no relation is an Upstate coworker, Elliott Williams, who says men from his family have served in every war or conflict in America’s history from the Civil War to Iraq.

“Being a veteran is more than just a label or a title. It is who and what you are,” he says. “Though I am far removed from military service, I am still a soldier and always will be – just like those relatives who came before me and those who will come after me.”

Among the more than 9,000 employees at Upstate Medical University are 251 military veterans. Here’s what eight have to say about their experiences serving America.

Elliott Williams

Elliott Williams

Name: Elliott Williams of Auburn.

Upstate job: Patient registration in the emergency department.

Military service: Army, 1980-83.

Reason for joining: Family obligation. “My family has produced soldiers and sailors in every war or conflict in this country’s history from the Civil War to the present-day Iraq conflict. All males in my family are expected to participate in some type of military service.”

What he gained: “Being from Brooklyn, I had already been exposed to different cultures, but going to different countries (at age 18, he was stationed in Camp Stanley, South Korea) and seeing those cultures in their native lands and living by their own traditions, I quickly learned I was wrong about thinking one group of people was fundamentally better than another group of people because of money or educational status or color or whatever. I learned that there is no better or worse when it comes to people, there is only different: different lands, norms, beliefs, languages, etc.”

Gregory L. Eastwood, MD

Gregory L. Eastwood, MD

Name: Gregory L. Eastwood, MD, of Jamesville.

Upstate job: Professor of bioethics and humanities and former president of Upstate Medical University.

Military service: Navy, 1972-74.

Reason for joining: “During the Vietnam War, military service was required of male physicians either after one year of residency or after full training. I entered the Navy after full training in internal medicine and gastroenterology.”

What he gained: “My two years in the Navy allowed me to improve my clinical skills. Also, I was able to spend about half my time doing research, and I developed close personal and professional associations with several people, which persisted for many years after I left the Navy.”

Don Sadeckas

Don Sadeckas

Name: Don Sadeckas of Cicero.

Upstate job: Director of equipment and supply logistics.

Military service: Army, 1980-2001.

Reason for joining: “It was a great opportunity to travel, meet great people and do things that I never imagined or thought I would do. I was fortunate to serve during a time when there were not many conflicts in the world and only a small portion of the military needed to deploy.”

What he gained: “Three lessons I took with me: 1. Appearance matters. Dress for who you will meet, not for the day of the week. 2. You can’t do everything on your own. Most successes come from teamwork. 3. Confidence is king. Don’t second-guess yourself.”

William Marx, DO

William Marx, DO

Name: William Marx, DO, of Jamesville.

Upstate job: Chief of the division of trauma, critical care, burns and acute-care surgery.

Military service: Army, 1978-2001.

Reason for joining: “I had a Health Professions Scholarship to pay for medical school.”

What he gained: “I learned structure, leadership skills and surgery. My residency was at Letterman Army Medical Center on the Presidio of San Francisco. We had a very close relationship with the University of California at San Francisco, so I was able to learn from the surgical faculty at UCSF and from the faculty at Letterman. The residency was excellent, and I am fortunate to have had the opportunity.

“I think my service affects all aspects of my career and life. I appreciate the things most people take for granted. To use a cliché, freedom isn’t free.”

Willie White

Willie White

Name: Willie White of Jamesville.

Upstate job: Central receiving manager.

Military service: Army, 1977-98.

Reason for joining: ”I was ill-equipped to attend college. I was still in high school and decided in advance that I was going to join the Army to get experience in something that would become a career.”

What he gained: “Leadership qualities. Being a team player. Diversity. Multitasking. Opportunities that I never would have had if I remained in my small world and surroundings, opportunities to travel and experience different cultures, countries and even other states; to learn skills and earn a living through my experiences and travels; and just being a part of something bigger while serving my country.”

Yetta Williams

Yetta Williams

Name: Yetta Williams of Syracuse.

Upstate job: Staff assistant in environmental services.

Military service: Air Force, 1974-78; Army wife, 1980-1983.

Reason for joining: “I couldn’t get the kind of job I wanted because I had no experience, and I couldn’t get any experience because no one would hire me without experience.”

What she gained: “I learned to be flexible and adapt to change. Life is full of changes on and off the job. I learned to change direction and to take a stand, as necessary. When told to do a task that I really don’t want to do, military service taught me to grit my teeth and do it without complaint.“

Nancy K. Markowski

Nancy K. Markowski

Name: Nancy K. Markowski of Erieville.

Upstate job: Nursing station clerk in the medical intensive care unit.

Military service: Army, 1979-81.

What she gained: ”Discipline, strength, training — and how much I love this country.”

Timothy P. Endy, MD

Timothy P. Endy, MD

Name: Timothy P. Endy, MD, of Manlius.

Upstate job: Chief of infectious disease division.

Military service: Army, 1982-2006.

Reason for joining: “Medical education, and to serve my country.” He grew up on Air Force bases around the world, watching B-52 bombers taking off from Plattsburgh during the Cuban Missile Crisis, and watching medical evacuation planes landing in Japan near the end of the Vietnam War.

What he gained: “As an active-duty medical officer, I helped soldiers prepare for both Gulf wars and vaccinated soldiers as they pre-deployed in Kuwait for Gulf II. I remember the strength of the wounded soldiers with terrible wounds and amputations as I took care of them and their infections at Walter Reed (Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C.) I’m proud to have served with such great Americans.”

Layout 1 finalThis article appears in the spring 2016 issue of Upstate Health magazine.

Posted in community, education, health careers, history, volunteers

A sculptor shares her life history

45th Anniver055

Dorothy Riester speaks at the 45th anniversary of the opening of Upstate University Hospital as hospital CEO John McCabe, MD, listens. In the background is her bronze commemorative plaque, which was reinstalled in the hospital lobby in 2010. (PHOTO BY WILLIAM MUELLER, NOV. 23, 2010).


On the back wall of Upstate University Hospital’s lobby is a bronze plaque memorializing the Syracuse Dispensary. It was created in 1964 by the artist Dorothy Riester.

As she neared her 99th birthday last fall, Riester published an enlightening and enjoyable book of her life called “The Art of a Life, a Memoir,” by Dorothy Riester as told to Victoria Kennedy.

Riester's book is $25 plus shipping at or by mail at PO Box 251, Cazenovia, NY 13035. Proceeds go to the Stone Quarry Hill Art Park.

Riester’s book is $25 plus shipping at or by mail at PO Box 251, Cazenovia, NY 13035. Proceeds go to the Stone Quarry Hill Art Park.

Reading it called to my mind two things: a sign on the Onondaga Nation that says “Respect The Elders” and a lesson in communication skills taught to medical students called a “life history.” The value of a life history comes both from the listener paying close attention to the uniqueness of a person’s life story and the therapeutic exercise of the teller/writer letting herself be known.

Riester was born in Pittsburgh on Thanksgiving in 1916. She was the product of a happy marriage and had a sister named Bet. Her father instilled in her a love of nature, taking her on long rambles and encouraging her sense of freedom: “I was adventurous and impulsive all my life,” she writes. Her mother may be responsible for her love of flowers and floral design.

Riester began art lessons at age 12, “as a physical way to feel experience.” Before attending Carnegie Institute of Technology (now known as Carnegie Mellon University), she went to the College of William and Mary. She remembers hearing novelist Gertrude Stein say, “When you know what you want to do, just do it.”

She studied ceramics at the University of Pittsburgh and was apprenticed to a wood-carver, but mostly Riester developed her own talents. She met the man who would become her husband in the detention room in high school in the 10th grade, and her book relates their wonderful love story. Bob Riester was an inventor, a silent type, pipe in hand or mouth at all times — and supportive of her art. They married in 1939.

While at Carnegie, where she later taught design and art, Riester and her husband bought an old farmhouse/barn with no heat, light or water. They restored the structure and built an art studio. At that time sculpture was primarily the reproduction of the human form in clay or bronze. Riester introduced the use of steel and abstract art, requiring heavy machinery and welding, to Carnegie.

When the Riesters moved to Syracuse, where she received a master’s degree and taught art at Syracuse University, they bought a house on Townsend Street and restored it as a home and studio. Later they designed and built, with some help, their home on Stone Quarry Road in Cazenovia. It began as a summer home, in 1958. They expanded it and moved there year-round in 1965.

In 1991 they incorporated the 104-acre Stone Quarry Hill Art Park as a not-for-profit, “a place where artist and nature could interact,” and where Riester was truly an artist in residence.

Twenty years later, National Geographic listed the Art Park No. 2 among sculpture parks and trails in “Secret Journeys of a Lifetime, 500 of the World’s Best Hidden Travel Gems.” The home and studio were placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2014.

For those of us getting up in years and for younger people with visions and hopes for a future long life, this book is an inspiration. It includes many photos of Dorothy throughout her life as well as photos of her art and sculptures.

Joel Potash, MD, is an emeritus professor at Upstate’s Center for Bioethics and Humanities and a member of the Board of Directors of Stone Quarry Hill Art Park.

 This article appears in the spring 2016 issue of Upstate Health magazine.

Posted in bioethics & humanities, community, education, entertainment, history

Diana’s reason for donating blood

Diana Pelletier

Diana Pelletier

By Stephanie DeJoseph

Nine years ago this June, Diana Pelletier of Camillus was in a serious car accident. She was driving her husband, 22-month-old toddler and 3 1/2-week-old infant when the car crashed, flipping over three times.

Her family was fine, but Pelletier was seriously hurt. She broke her neck and lost a lot of blood.

Four weeks in the intensive care unit at Upstate University Hospital, followed by five months in the hospital and a lengthy recovery gave Pelletier time to think about the importance of donating blood. The accident left her in a wheelchair and unable to drive for three years. She still comes to Upstate for physical and occupational therapy. And, now she is a regular at Upstate’s blood drives, where she donates a maximum four times a year.

“I wouldn’t be here today if it weren’t for the generosity of others,” she says. “Blood donation is the renewable resource that takes so little time and gives so much to others.”

The hospital’s spring blood drive will be held from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday, April 21 and  from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. Friday April 22, in Café 750 on the second floor of Upstate University Hospital’s Downtown Campus. To schedule an appointment, contact Linda Underwood at or 464-6755.

Posted in community

Science is art

Science is Art Winter 2016 Van Deusen - Lyon Figure 4

Mike Lyon, PhD

Mike Lyon, PhD

As an associate professor of otolaryngology and communication sciences, Mike Lyon, PhD, studies the way cells communicate and work together. Connexins form junctions between cells, allowing for passage of large molecules, as shown above. Different surfaces of the epiglottis, located at the root of the tongue, have different connexins, which are influenced by the substances that come in contact with the epiglottis during swallowing, as well as other factors.

Posted in ear, nose and throat/otolaryngology, research

‘Hello, and welcome’ to Upstate’s new president

Layout 1

Sources: Creole Institute at Indiana University, department of languages at Syracuse University

Danielle Laraque-Arena, MD

Danielle Laraque-Arena, MD

Upstate Medical University’s new president, Danielle Laraque-Arena, MD, is a native of Haiti who immigrated to the United States in 1962 and who speaks multiple languages. When you meet her, surprise her by saying “hello, and welcome” in a language other than English.

This article appears in the spring 2016 issue of Upstate Health magazine.

Posted in community, education, health care, medical education

Toddler gets early boost to help battle difficult diagnosis

Mason Campbell, 2, of Minoa, had an operation before he was born to help lessen nerve damage from spina bifida. (PHOTO BY SUSAN KAHN)

Mason Campbell, 2, of Minoa, had an operation before he was born to help lessen nerve damage from spina bifida. (PHOTO BY SUSAN KAHN)


Before he was born, Mason Campbell underwent spinal surgery.

Now an energetic 2-year-old, Mason and his parents, Jesse and Chris, aided by a variety of medical specialists, have been working to overcome his complicated diagnosis.

PM and R Rehab

Mason at one of his treadmill therapy sessions with physical therapy assistant Clint Stelmashuck and physical therapist Olivia Pollard, DPT, at Upstate’s Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Center. Walking on the treadmill helps Mason develop the muscle memory of walking, with a harness to help support his weight and orthotics in his shoes to help align and support his ankles and feet. (PHOTO BY ROBERT MESCAVAGE)

Mason has myelomeningocele, a type of spina bifida where the bones of his spine do not completely form, and the spinal cord and tissues covering it protrude from the back, exposing them to damage. It can mean loss of bladder and bowel control, a lack of sensation or paralysis of the legs and weakness in the hips, legs or feet, possibly for life.

After a test confirmed that the baby Jesse Campbell was carrying had spina bifida, the family, who live in Minoa, was referred to Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, one of a handful of U.S. hospitals that offers fetal surgery to close the spinal opening and help lessen nerve damage.

“We were trying with the surgery to preserve leg movement and avoid catheterizing his bladder and bowels. It seems to have helped so far,” Chris Campbell says.

The surgery, performed at 23 weeks of pregnancy, meant 14 weeks of bed rest for Jesse until Mason was born on Oct. 14, 2013. Then he spent three weeks in intensive care. It also meant that his parents and brother and sister spent a lot of time at the Ronald McDonald House in Philadelphia before returning to Central New York.

Nienke Dosa, MD

Nienke Dosa, MD

That delicate in utero operation is “almost mystical,” says Nienke Dosa, MD, the medical director of Upstate’s Spina Bifida Center, who now sees Mason about every six months or so. She is one of the many pediatric specialists he sees.

Zulma Tovar-Spinoza, MD

Zulma Tovar-Spinoza, MD

After fetal surgery, a second operation is often required shortly after birth, notes Zulma Tovar-Spinoza, MD, Upstate’s director of pediatric neurosurgery. She operated on Mason In December 2014 to free his tethered spinal cord and remove an infected cyst.

In addition, Tovar-Spinoza helped relieve a buildup of fluid in Mason’s brain, called hydrocephalus, with another surgery in February 2014.

Mason pushes a wooden wagon while his mother, Jesse Campbell, watches. (PHOTO BY SUSAN KAHN)

Mason pushes a wooden wagon while his mother, Jesse Campbell, watches. (PHOTO BY SUSAN KAHN)

“He is doing great. With all the support available, his quality of life is excellent,” Tovar-Spinoza says of Mason. At his point, she sees him about every eight months to monitor his progress.

“Our local studies have shown that these patients have a fulfilling life. They go to school, college, get married, have kids like everybody else,” she continues.

Dosa says Mason’s future is bright. His therapy three or four times a week at Upstate includes pool exercise and treadmill walks wearing a supportive harness. Physical therapist Jennifer Fetterman keeps close track of his progress, as she and Dosa are studying the impact of early supported weight-bearing exercises for children with spina bifida.

Jesse Campbell describes her son as a tough cookie. He’s outgoing and happy, with a strong upper body. He walks with a walker, climbs and wrestles with his brother and sister. She says Ali, 4, and Christopher, 7, know to be careful of Mason’s back.

Mason’s parents feel both positive and overwhelmed, and they are grateful for the medical teams that have improved their son’s chances for a full life.

Mason at home with his sister, Ali, 4, and his brother, Christopher, 7. (PHOTO BY SUSAN KAHN)

Mason at home with his sister, Ali, 4, and his brother, Christopher, 7. (PHOTO BY SUSAN KAHN)

Layout 1 finalThis article appears in the spring 2016 issue of Upstate Health magazine.

Posted in brain/spine/neurosurgery, disability, health care, illness, patient story, physical therapy/rehabilitation, surgery, Upstate Golisano Children's Hospital/pediatrics

Taking aim at germs: New UV machine is part of infection-fighting effort

Tavontae Cannon, a member of Upstate's housekeeping staff, inspects the new ultraviolet cleaning towers at Upstate University Hospital.(PHOTO BY ROBERT MESCAVAGE)

Tavontae Cannon, a member of Upstate’s housekeeping staff, inspects the new ultraviolet cleaning towers at Upstate University Hospital. (PHOTO BY ROBERT MESCAVAGE)

Staff who clean patient rooms at Upstate University Hospital have a new method of preventing hospital-acquired infections: three towers that emit short-wavelength ultraviolet light that kills or inactivates microorganisms.

The new Surfacide system is employed, after routine cleaning and disinfection, in rooms that housed patients with contagious infections such as Clostridium difficile, an intestinal infection that can be life-threatening. In the future, the system may be used to clean operating rooms, public bathrooms and elevator cars.

Studies have shown that implementing UV cleaning reduces infection rates and improves patient safety, says Paul Suits, director of infection control at Upstate University Hospital. He says the environmental cleaning staff are “essential to the hospital’s goal to provide a clean, safe environment for our patients.”

With the three towers working together, one room can be cleaned in about 20 minutes, says Jason Rupert, assistant director of outpatient operations and materials for environmental services.

After an unoccupied room is disinfected, a staffer will wheel in the UV towers and position them so their light will reach the maximum amount of surfaces. Curtains are drawn, doors are shut, and the staffer activates the units from outside the room. The rotating towers bathe the room in UV-C light. This process provides an additional level of disinfection beyond traditional cleaning methods.

Did you hear?

Upstate University Hospital was recently praised by the state Health Department for reducing central-line infections in intensive care units. Central lines are the tubes inserted into a vein to give medicines or fluids or to draw blood. They can also be an entry point for infections.

Upstate reduced those infections by 70 percent in 2014, the state noted in a January report on hospital-acquired infections in New York. The hospital was singled out for “outstanding work” and its multifaceted approach in fighting infections, which stemmed from a task force established three years ago.

Layout 1 finalThis article appears in the spring 2016 issue of Upstate Health magazine.

Posted in health care, infectious disease, safety, technology

‘Smallest acts of kindness can mean the world to an autistic student,’ speaker says

Diablo, at left, has autism. He is pictured with his family at the Blue Lights for Autism celebration, hosted by Upstate's Margaret L. Williams Developmental Evaluation Center and the CNY Autism Association of America

Diablo Liles, 5, at left, has autism. He is with his family at the Blue Lights for Autism celebration, hosted by Upstate’s Margaret L. Williams Developmental Evaluation Center and the CNY Autism Society  of America. Photo by Susan Keeter.

The Syracuse skyline featured a blue building Saturday night, in recognition of World Autism Awareness Day and the start of Autism Awareness Month. Onondaga Tower on East Jefferson Street was the site of the “Blue Lights for Autism” celebration, which featured blue mardi gras beads, blue balloons, blue glow sticks, blue juice boxes and blue frosted cookies.

Magicians, a balloon man, and strolling puppets from Open Hand Theater entertained a lobby filled with children and families. Exhibits highlighted some of the famous people on the autism spectrum (including actor Dan Aykroyd, whose obsession with the paranormal led to the hit movie, Ghostbusters.) Tables were set up so that families could register for an autism walk and learn about summer camps for children with autism.

Joe Cittadino

Joe Cittadino

A highlight of the evening was a speech by Joseph Cittadino, a 24-year-old college graduate with autism. This is an excerpt:

“Middle school was a time of great transition, and for a person with autism, transitions are not easy. I was in a new world, and it was a nightmare. I was bullied. I was stressed.

“Then, a teacher reached out to me. He looked past my eccentricities and meltdowns. When I was afraid to go to gym class, he went with me. He convinced me to audition for the school musical, and gave me a part where I could shine.

“Great teachers are something us students with autism need, now more than ever. It was teachers standing up, giving me compassion — and time — that got me through my hardships. Even the smallest acts of kindness can mean the world to an autistic student.”

Cittadino’s speech was followed by a proclamation from the city of Syracuse, presented by Mayor Stephanie Miner’s press secretary Alex Marion to Jennifer Speicher, administrator of the Upstate Golisano Children’s Hospital, and Carroll Grant, PhD, director of Upstate’s Margaret L. Williams Developmental Evaluation Center. Two puppets with autism from KidSpeak  accepted proclamations from the offices of the County Executive and Senator John DeFrancisco.

Jefferson Tower in blue light

Onondaga Tower in blue light. Photo by Susan Keeter.

After the formal program, the crowd spilled out onto East Jefferson St., which was blocked off for the festivities, to cheer and wave blue glow sticks. A giant blue puppet flipped a switch and Onondaga Tower lit up blue in recognition of autism. Even the night sky cooperated by being its own rich royal blue.

The crowd gathers as Jefferson Tower — and the night sky — light up blue in recognition of autism

The crowd gathers as Onondaga Tower — and the night sky — light up blue in recognition of autism. Photo by Susan Keeter.

Posted in adolescents, autism, community, disability, entertainment, psychology/psychiatry, Upstate Golisano Children's Hospital/pediatrics | 1 Comment

Kidney transplant numbers rise

Daniel Hinton, left, donated one of his kidneys to his brother, Chris. Their surgery was one of 80 kidney transplants performed at Upstate in 2015.

Daniel Hinton, left, donated one of his kidneys to his brother, Chris. Their surgery was one of 80 kidney transplants performed at Upstate in 2015.

The Hinton brothers represent one of the 10 living donor kidney transplants done at Upstate University Hospital in 2015. Daniel Hinton of Syracuse was a member of the U.S. Special Forces in the Iraqi War and works construction for the city of Syracuse. He donated a kidney to Chris, a chef who lives in Minoa. They posed for a photo on Christmas Eve as they were discharged from the hospital.

Upstate’s transplant program expects to perform more living donor transplants this year, says Rainer Gruessner, MD, who became transplant chief in September.

Living donor kidneys are preferable to those from deceased donors because they function more quickly and usually last twice as long.

Last year was a busy transplant year, with surgeons at Upstate performing 80 kidney transplants, more than any year before.

“Nephrologists from across Central New York are witnessing the recent growth and consistency of the program, and they are happy for their patients to be part of this development,” Gruessner says in explaining the increase.

Over the past 10 years, 40 percent of kidney transplant recipients were residents of Onondaga County. Thirty-three percent came from Jefferson, Oswego and Oneida counties, and 27 percent came from other counties in Central New York.

This article appears in the spring 2016 issue of Upstate Health magazine. Hear a radio  interview with Gruessner about kidney transplants.

Posted in health care, illness, kidney/renal/nephrology, organ donation/transplant, patient story, surgery