Garden City woman gives others the chance to give gift of life

GARDEN CITY (WBTW) – Her daughter's illness brought Paula Koscelnick to South Carolina from Pennsylvania. Now her daughter is gone, but Koscelnick wants her neighbors in her new home to help give the gift of life.

Lisa Buff was 48 when she died after battles with both lymphoma and another blood disease in 2011.  When she first got sick in 2008, Koscelnick moved from the Poconos to stay with her daughter in the room at M.U.S.C. in Charleston.

“During that whole treatment time, it was blood and platelets, blood and platelets,” said Koscelnick. “I mean, that was her lifeline.”

Buff went into remission in 2009.  During that time she went back to work at a urologist's office in Myrtle Beach, and was able to lend her experience to help care for cancer patients.

“People could always talk to Lisa, and they'd confide in her their concern about having cancer,” said Koscelnick. “She'd say, 'I know how you feel.'”

In 2011, she developed a blood illness, said Koscelnick, and despite many transfusions and even a bone marrow transplant, Buff died in December of that year.

“We had our Lisa for an extra three years because people did give the gift of life,” said Koscelnick.

That's one reason she's continued to volunteer and donate to the American Red Cross, and why she's organized a blood drive for Saturday, February 23 from 9:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. at Garden City Baptist Church (210 Pine Avenue).

“I think people are busy these days,” said Koscelnick. “Everybody has a schedule that is chock full of doing what needs to be done.”  But she also knows that people in South Carolina–her new home–realize the need for donations and want to help.

“My husband and I have come to love South Carolina as much as Lisa did,” she said. “It's a beautiful place to live.”

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