Every time a baby is born at Lehigh Valley Hospital (LVH)–Hazleton, colleagues will celebrate new life and remember one of their own through music.
LVH–Hazleton President John Fletcher and Mary Yanac, RN, Director of Patient Care Services at the Family Birth and Newborn Center, LVH–Hazleton, recently unveiled a plaque and Brahms’ Lullaby chime to honor Sharon Demko, RN, a registered nurse who worked in maternity for 25 years. Demko passed away suddenly in March 2019.
“Those of us who worked with Sharon wanted a meaningful way to honor her memory,” says Yanac. “She was beloved by her colleagues and the patients she cared for.”
When Demko passed, LVH–Hazleton colleagues started to inquire what they could do, so a fund was set up in her memory. Many colleagues donated to the fund, allowing for the addition of a Brahms’ Lullaby chime to the Family Birth and Newborn Center. The chime plays on the overhead speakers throughout the hospital every time a baby is born. It has been in operation for a few months.
“This chime helps celebrate the beginning of a new life,” says Fletcher. “Several times a day, this soothing lullaby floats through LVH–Hazleton. Whenever we hear the chime, we know a baby has been born. It just gives all of us a positive, hopeful feeling – particularly since we started the chimes during the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak. Our hospital was hit very hard by the pandemic in those early weeks, and honestly, hearing this beautiful chime helped get us through.”
Fletcher and Yanac were joined by Demko’s family: Husband Paul Demko, sons Girard Fewins and Brandon Demko and daughter Katrina Vasta. Another son, John Fewins, resides in Texas and was unable to attend.
Demko’s son Girard expressed his heartfelt gratitude for the remembrance of his mother. “We are so grateful for this – we cannot thank you all enough. You were her family too.”
After the dedication ceremony, Demko’s daughter Katrina pressed the lullaby button for a ceremonial playing of Brahms’ “Lullaby and Goodnight.” The music is heard throughout the hospital after every birth. Following a baby’s delivery, the mother of the newborn activates the chimes button which sends the music hospital-wide. Yanac says new mothers and fathers have reacted extremely positively to this new enhancement to the hospital.
Also attending were LVHN colleagues who worked many years with Demko: Denise Ward, RN, Janine O’Hazzo, RN, Jane Harding, technical partner, and Mary Marusak, RN, who retired from LVHN after 42 years of service on the same day as the dedication. Several of these colleagues shared special memories of their vivacious and caring friend.
The chimes button is located near a beautiful wall plaque inside the Labor and Delivery suite of the LVH–Hazleton’s Family Birth and Newborn Center. The plaque, which was procured with the help of the LVHN Office of Philanthropy, is inscribed:
Donated by LVH–Hazleton colleagues
In memory of Sharon Demko, RN, 25 years of service.
Lullaby and goodnight
In the sky, stars are bright
Close your eyes now and rest
May these hours be blessed