Colts Neck Couple Gives Back in Big—and Personal—Ways
For Colts Neck, New Jersey, residents Lisa and Rick Loshiavo, when it comes to giving their time and money, it’s personal. Their recent gift to help build the Neuroscience Institute at Jersey Shore University Medical Center comes straight from the heart.
“When we learned what all neuroscience covers—from brain injuries to degenerative diseases to intellectual, learning and behavioral disabilities—we understood how many families have been impacted by this area, including our own,” says Rick, who recently joined the Jersey Shore Foundation Board of Trustees. “For years, our family has been involved in special-needs organizations. Our daughters, Lauren and Jenny, have volunteered for programs that include Special Olympics, Camp PALS and SPUR. My wife, Lisa, is an active board member of SPUR and a volunteer at No Limits Cafe. Both of our daughters were diagnosed with attention deficit disorder as children, and Lauren is involved in a mentoring program for kids with similar disorders.”
This area of medicine hits home especially hard for Lisa, whose mother was recently diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. “My siblings and I have been trying to figure out how we can assist my mom and dad,” she says. “Rick and I understand the need for the Neuroscience Institute and felt it was a great program we wanted to get behind and support. The vision of centralizing the care and education of this disease under one roof is very appealing.”
This generous gift wasn’t the first—or the last—for the Loshiavos. Since 2013, Lisa has served as a board member of the Hackensack Meridian HealthWomen’s Heart Fund.
“Through the years, I’ve worked with the Women’s Heart Fund to help women in our community. One of the many ways we’ve helped is by bringing portable vascular screening machines into areas that didn’t previously have access,” she says. “Many women think of their families first. We want to help women think of themselves, as well.”
Most recently, a generous donation from Rick was as personal as it gets: his own plasma to help the sickest COVID-19 patients. He battled the novel coronavirus early on in the pandemic, and as a Type 1 diabetic, he experienced severe symptoms that twice sent him to the emergency room. Once he recovered, he heard about the incredible work at John Theurer Cancer Center at Hackensack University Medical Center to infuse plasma rich with antibodies, donated from recovered patients like Rick, into very ill COVID-19 patients.
“I knew I wanted to donate, not just to help people having the most difficulty with this virus, but also to do my part to help lessen the load on our frontline health care workers,” says Rick, who has been asked to be part of an FDA study because his antibody levels are not diminishing with time.
Rick and Lisa, who experienced a short bout with the virus herself, understand firsthand the intersection between COVID-19 and neuroscience. Both are experiencing lingering foggy cognition and loss of smell and taste, and Rick has developed severe sleep apnea. But they consider themselves fortunate.
“Having a unit like the Neuroscience Institute could really serve the needs of the community on the heels of COVID-19,” Rick says.
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