Sharing Card from Conestoga Bank Gives Ultimate Gift

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Children at CHOP receive life-giving support from gift card proceeds

Fifteen-year-old Julia Parmisciano is one of many children to get a second chance at life with the help of donations from programs like Conestoga Bank’s Sharing Card—a Visa® gift card that gives in more ways than one.

In May, 2011, Julia nearly died from a severe heart attack while at school. Her mother, Grace, raced to the building to find Julia motionless on the floor, surrounded by the ambulance crew. Paramedics used cardiopulmonary resuscitation and a defibrillator to restart Julia’s heart and rushed her to the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP).

Julia, who had been living with a congenital heart condition, was now in need of a heart transplant to save her life. After nearly six months of hospitalization at CHOP, Julia received the ultimate gift—a new heart—just in time for the holidays.

“We are grateful to receive the proceeds from the Sharing Card, so we can help families like Julia’s who rely on the generosity of others,” said Robin Valentino, director of retail cause marketing, CHOP.

“The Sharing Card is Conestoga Bank’s way of showing the community how much we care,” said Richard A. Elko, Conestoga Bank president and chief executive officer. “We make no money from this project.”

Any unused balance remaining on each gift card after 18 months is donated to CHOP, the year-round beneficiary of remaining funds on the Sharing Cards. This year, Conestoga Bank will present a check to CHOP in the amount of $8,000, from 2010’s Sharing Cards. The check presentation will be made at 11:00 a.m. at the Shops at Liberty Place, 1625 Chestnut St., Philadelphia, with Robin Valentino of CHOP, Holly Wolf of Conestoga Bank, and Julia Parmisciano.

Julia has been a patient at CHOP since infancy. She was born with a heart condition known as dilated cardiomyopathy, which weakens and enlarges the heart and hinders the pumping of blood. For years, Julia’s condition was managed successfully with daily medication and annual visits to The Cardiac Center at CHOP. As she grew, she tired a bit more quickly than her friends, but she never let that stop her. That all changed in an instant, when Julia suffered her sudden, severe heart attack.

It’s been nearly a year since Julia’s life-saving heart transplant at CHOP. With her doctor's approval, Julia plays soccer, volleyball, and basketball. Like her friends, she loves music and taught herself to play the guitar. As the holidays approach, Julia and her family celebrate the seemingly small gifts (like a few cents remaining on a gift card) that when combined, can lead to big miracles.

This holiday season, purchase the Sharing Card in denominations of $25 to $750 at any of Conestoga Bank’s 14 retail branches located in the Greater Philadelphia area. To find a branch close to you, click here.

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