Brookfield church makes smocks for cancer patients

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By Community Editor

While undergoing treatment for breast cancer, Loyola Medicine patient Angie Lopresti read about a Texas church that donates patient smocks designed to provide more dignity and comfort than traditional hospital gowns.

Each smock has three vertical openings, one down the middle and one down each side. The openings are fastened together by Velcro strips. Because the smocks open at the seams, the patient needs to expose only the area that is being treated.

Now Lopresti and members of her church, International Christian Fellowship of Brookfield, is making smocks for other patients.

Lopresti made a smock for herself and wore it during radiation treatments five days a week for six weeks.

 "It made me feel less vulnerable, more in control and also warmer," said Lopresti, who lives in Westchester with her husband and two children.

"We want women to know there are people who care and are there to support them at a very trying time in their lives."

Church volunteers have made 30 smocks so far and plan to continue making them, according to Pastor Vicki Gonzalez. The church supplies all the materials, and volunteers cut the openings and sew on the Velcro strips.  

"Our church is more than just a building," Gonzalez said in a press release. "This is a way we can help the community."

Each smock comes with a handwritten card that says: "This smock was lovingly made for you by the ladies of ICF. As you wear it, we pray it will bring you comfort and peace."

North Riversider an 'unsung heroine'

North Riverside resident Kathy Donahue-Coia was selected in March as the 2017 recipient of the Cook County Unsung Heroine Award for the 16th District by Cook County Commissioner Jeffrey Tobolski and Women's Commissioner Terri Rivera.

Donahue-Coia was recognized for her 32 years of service as a licensed clinical social worker for Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Chicago. There she is senior vice president of program development and evaluation, overseeing 153 programs in 150 locations in Cook and Lake counties.

"She is a valuable and well-respected member of our community who makes an enormous difference addressing issues of poverty, homelessness and hunger," said Tobolski in a press release. 

Positive policing

Riverside Police Sgt. Leo Kotor was recognized by the Alliance Against Intoxicated Motorists (AAIM) for making his 300th DUI arrest in February.

In addition, Kotor will be recognized by the Illinois Department of Transportation, which will present him with a pin for his uniform and a patch for his removal of impaired drivers from the state's roadways.

Kotor has served as a Riverside police officer since 1996 and has earned the Riverside Police Department's Officer of the Year Award, the Cook County Sheriff's Award of Merit and several department citations and commendations.

Riverside Police Explorer Bailey Hastings, 16, of Riverside, has been selected to attend a National Law Enforcement Leadership Academy through the Learning for Life division of the Boy Scouts of America.

Hastings will travel to Quantico Marine Base in Quantico, Virginia in June to train with the Drug Enforcement Administration for a week. During her time there, she will learn the fundamentals of leadership, physical training and law enforcement practices.

She was one of just 30 Explorers selected from a pool of applicants from across the United States to attend the academy.

Hockey doc

Loyola Medicine physician and Riverside resident Dr. Douglas Evans helped coordinate emergency medical coverage for athletes during the 2017 NCAA Frozen Four hockey tournament in Chicago on April 6-8.

Dr. Evans is an orthopedic surgeon who specializes in treating sports injuries. He has served a team physician for national and international hockey tournaments and is head team physician for the USA National University Men's Hockey Team.

On campus

Kiley Rusen, of Brookfield, earned a Bachelor of Business Administration in Marketing from Valdosta State University in Georgia. She was among the roughly 1,400 undergraduate and graduate students recognized during the school's commencement ceremonies in December 2016.

Riverside resident Ned Ahlberg received a Bachelor of Science degree in biological systems engineering during the University of Wisconsin-Madison's winter commencement in December 2016.

Brookfield resident Tony M. Wings, North Riverside resident Janeth Hernandez and Riverside resident Josephine Krajniak were named to the 2016 fall semester dean's list at Benedictine University for attaining a grade-point average of at least 3.5 on a 4-point scale.

Four Riverside residents were named to the 2016 fall semester dean's list at Lewis University in Romeoville for attaining a GPA of at least 3.5. Those recognized included John A. Cairo (criminal social justice), Alberto Diaz (accounting), Robert Hermann (aviation flight management) and Callista L. Orrico (international business).

Brookfield resident Michelle Dinh, a senior at Lyons Township High School, won second place as part of the school's Business Professionals of America Club Global Marketing Team at a recent state competition, advancing to the BPA national competition in May in Orlando. Also on the marketing team were Jack Dudley of LaGrange and Caroline Spitkovsky of Countryside.

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