Pictured Above: Hartford Hospital philanthropic supporters and 1854 members Sandy and Norman Reisman celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary in 2024 with a trip to Italy. The New York-based couple created the Sandra and Norman Reisman Thanksgiving Miracle 2018 Transplant Surgery Endowment—which funds research, infrastructure, education, and patient assistance within Hartford Hospital’s Transplant Program.

After years of procedures and waiting for a liver transplant from her New York City home, Sandy Reisman’s care team recommended that she improve her chances by joining another transplant program outside of New York—specifically, the Liver Transplant Program at Hartford Hospital.

The day before Thanksgiving 2018—three weeks after being accepted into Hartford Hospital’s program—her husband Norman received the call they had been wishing for.

“I was getting an MRI in New York for unrelated reasons—they called Norman and told him to get me up there, they had a liver for me,” says Sandy. “Right then I fell and broke my arm. The doctor told us to get in the car and get to Hartford anyway—we’ll take care of the liver and then the arm. The liver was more important, of course.”

Sandy and Norman refer to what happened next as their “Thanksgiving Miracle.”

“They wheeled me in for surgery Thanksgiving morning,” shares Sandy. “I remember there was a nurse in the operating room named Pete who was great—he updated Norman throughout the day.”

“It was Thanksgiving, so I was the only one in the waiting room,” shares Norman. “But I was getting very good, consistent reports from the nurse. Finally, Dr. Patricia Sheiner came out and gave me the final report—her new liver started working immediately. It usually takes a couple of minutes, but hers worked immediately.”

A week later, Sandy followed up her liver transplant with another surgery at Hartford Hospital to repair her broken arm.

“I loved Hartford Hospital—I loved the experience,” shares Sandy. “The people there are so special, the hospital’s human resources should really be commended.”

“The caregivers, nutrition team, social workers, finance—we spoke to every discipline and they could not have done more for us,” adds Norman. “The whole period before her transplant felt like a slow, three-year decline. Since that day, she’s been feeling great, we are traveling again, and we are celebrating 50 years of marriage this year. It feels like a miracle—a Thanksgiving Miracle.”

Thanks to their excellent Hartford Hospital experience, the Reismans decided to invest in the hospital by creating the Sandra and Norman Reisman Thanksgiving Miracle 2018 Transplant Surgery Endowment, which funds research, infrastructure, education, and patient assistance within the hospital’s transplant program. They also became members of Hartford Hospital’s 1854 Society by pledging to include the hospital in their will.

“It feels great to give back to Hartford Hospital,” says Norman. “It’s a thank you— they have done so much for us. I was close to losing Sandy and they saved her life. How much more motivation do you need to be charitable?”

“We are so fond of Hartford Hospital and the people there,” shares Sandy. “Because we’re in New York, they offer us telehealth for my follow-ups, but we always prefer to come back to see the people. We live within walking distance of some of the best hospitals in the country—but I would recommend Hartford Hospital in a New York minute.”

“A Hartford minute,” exclaims Norman with a smile.

“We are so grateful for the Reismans’ philanthropic support of Hartford Hospital’s Transplant Surgery Program and we take great pride that it was our excellent and compassionate care that led to their generous giving and affectionate relationship with our care team,” said Lynn B. Rossini, Vice president of Philanthropy, Hartford Hospital. “Endowed funds such as theirs last forever and the Reismans’ investment in our mission will provide critical funding that will advance our nationally recognized, patient-focused transplant services for years to come.”