Franciscan St. Margaret Health Donation Advocate Named “Lifesaving Partner” for Support of Organ and Tissue Donation

Linda-KraikoLinda Kraiko, senior director of patient services at Franciscan St. Margaret Health-Hammond, has been recognized by Gift of Hope Organ & Tissue Donor Network for outstanding achievement in addressing the critical need for organ and tissue donation at the hospital.

Named a 2013 Lifesaving Partner by Gift of Hope, Kraiko was among 22 hospital, forensic and civic professionals and organizations recognized for their work to help Gift of Hope carry out its mission of saving and enhancing lives through organ and tissue donation. She received a Lifesaving Partners Award from Gift of Hope at a special ceremony on October 18. Gift of Hope presents the awards annually to individuals and organizations who go above and beyond the call of duty to support the organization’s mission and produce successful donation outcomes.

Kraiko was lauded for her steadfast devotion to removing all barriers to organ, eye and tissue donation at Franciscan St. Margaret Health’s campuses in Hammond and Dyer.

Linda has been instrumental in implementing necessary policy changes within the Franciscan system to help make the process of organ and tissue donation easier to navigate, and her attention to detail has made the process of donation run smoothly at Franciscan’s two hospitals,” said Kevin Cmunt, President/CEO of Gift of Hope.

When Gift of Hope made the strategic decision to begin moving tissue donors from Northwest Indiana hospitals to Gift of Hope’s Itasca, Ill., facility for recovery, Kraiko’s response was not, “Why?” It was, “By when?” Cmunt added. “Linda made this happen at Franciscan St. Margaret Health hospitals by convening key stakeholders from the hospitals, the Indiana Lions Eye-Bank and Gift of Hope to define the process and develop a new policy. Under her leadership, Franciscan St. Margaret’s became the first hospital in northwest Indiana to begin moving tissue donors from Indiana to Itasca for recovery to improve our ability to make more life-enhancing tissue available to people in need.

Gift of Hope Organ & Tissue Donor Network is a not-for-profit organ procurement organization entrusted by the nation’s healthcare system with coordinating organ and tissue donation and providing donor family services and public education in Illinois and northwest Indiana. It has coordinated donations that have saved the lives of nearly 20,000 organ transplant recipients and improved the lives of hundreds of thousands of tissue transplant recipients. As one of 58 organ procurement organizations that make up the nation’s organ and tissue donation system, Gift of Hope works with 180 hospitals and serves 12 million residents in its donation service area. It also is part of Donate Life Illinois, a coalition of agencies responsible for organ, tissue, eye, blood and marrow donation, as well as donor education and registration, in Illinois. For more information about Gift of Hope and organ and tissue donation, visit