Originally published in the Democrat and Chronicle's "West Extra" Column on July 14, 2019.
Woman who gave to community now needs help
by Caurie Putnam
When Lois Reddick was the manager of Jordan Health Link, a drug and alcohol treatment program, in the early 2000s, it wasn’t uncommon for her to come home from a 14-hour shift and find her front porch in Chili teeming with bags of clothes.
The garments were donations for a clothing closet Reddick started at Rochester’s Jordan Health — not part of her job description, but one of the many extra things the registered nurse did to help her clients.
“Lois is the most caring, considerate, loving person I have ever met,” said Marie Stein, a friend and former co-worker of Reddick’s. “She will go the distance for anyone.”
Now, Stein, of Gates, is hoping the community will go the distance for Reddick, 73, who is on dialysis and in need of a kidney transplant due to complications from diabetes.
Reddick and her husband, Franklin, moved to Tallahassee, Florida, in 2016 after she retired, but she considers Rochester home and hopes to get her transplant done at UR Medicine’s Strong Memorial Hospital, where she was a nurse from 1970 to 1984.
“When I found out how sick Lois was, I cried a lot,” Stein said. “She’s a wonderful person who has helped thousands of people. I’m hoping somebody in the community who knew her will step forward.”
Stein started a Facebook group to find a living donor willing and eligible to donate one of their two healthy kidneys to her friend.
According to United Network for Organ Sharing, about 6,000 living donations (mostly kidneys) take place in the United States each year and one in four of these donors aren’t biologically related to the recipient. UR Medicine has a living donor kidney and liver transplant program.
“Although no one has stepped forward so far as a live donor, we’re hopeful,” Reddick said. “I’m hanging in there, but I’m in need. I’m proud and happy I gave a lot to the Rochester community; now I hope someone will reciprocate with me.”
Reddick, a daughter of sharecroppers, was born in Alabama and moved to Kendall, Orleans County, at age 12 when her family settled there. She graduated fromJohn Marshall High School, Monroe Community College and Roberts Wesleyan College.
In addition to Jordan and Strong, Reddick worked as a nurse and/or credentialed alcoholism and substance abuse counselor at the former Park Ridge Hospital, Community Care of Rochester and Action for a Better Community.
The mom of one and grandmother of three, has also written children’s books, founded
the nonprofit Women Helping Women with her three sisters and was an active member of Aenon Baptist Church when she lived in the Rochester area.
If you’re interested in donating a kidney to Reddick, please email Stein at firstname.lastname@example.org. The Facebook group for Reddick is called Donate a Kidney facebook.com/groups/320976101890893/ More information on UR Medicine’s living donor transplant program is available at (585) 275-5875 or urmc.rochester .edu/transplant/live-donor.aspx.
Pick of the week
Brockport Summer Serenades 2019 Concert Series continues with a free performance by the Brockport Big Band at 7 p.m. Thursday, July 18, at the Brockport Welcome Center, 11 Water St. For a full series schedule, visit brockportny.org.
Contact Caurie at email@example.com with news from west-side towns. She’s on Twitter at @CauriePutnam and on Facebook at facebook.com/WestExtra .
Originally published in the Democrat and Chronicle - West Extra column - July 21, 2019.
by Caurie Putnam
Art has been appearing in unusual places in Brockport the past few weeks: doorsteps of pizzerias, sidewalks on Main Street and flowerpots in front of the movie theatre.
“The reaction has been a lot of chatter and some welcomed confusion, ‘What is this?’ ‘Why is this happening?’ ‘This is so cool,’ ” said Mya Pennington, 25, the artist behind the project. “Someone even told me, ‘Thank you for choosing our community to do this.’ ” Selecting Brockport to launch Starfly Immersive — an immersive art and storytelling project — was a natural choice for Pennington, who is a 2012 graduate of Brockport High School and an alumna of the Boston Conservatory at Berklee.
She likes that Brockport is a college town with an open mind and has many young families with children eager to embrace art in all its forms.
“Immersive art is any kind of art form that breaks boundaries between the audience and performer and where the audience member can act as the main character within the story line,” Pennington said. “It’s really important to me with my immersive art to get kids involved; I want them to feel inspired to participate.”
Pennington recently completed an internship in Los Angeles with Disney Parks Live Entertainment Internship Project, where she worked on the Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge project.
She is living in Brockport until at least January 2020 as she completes her master’s degree in business design and arts leadership from Savannah College of Art and Design. The creation and implementation of Starfly Immersive is part of her graduate thesis and a personal and professional passion.
Growing up in Brockport, Pennington was well-known for her prowess as a percussionist. Now, she is bringing the arts to her hometown via less familiar, but equally important, means.
“When I played music it made people happy,” said Pennington, who performed in the 2017 Rochester Fringe. “I want people to feel happy and that’s what I’m doing with immersive art. It’s almost an art form in itself when it spreads.”
Since she launched Starfly Immersive in Brockport (which she refers to as Starlandia on social media), she and a small group of volunteers have created colorful chalk pathways on Main Street and hid over 350 brightly colored balls with the hashtag #StarflyImmersive throughout the village.
They are preparing for their third interactive art installation that will launch the week of July 21. Pennington — who goes by the stage name Tapper Mae for her Starfly Immersive work — wanted to keep the installation a surprise, but hinted it will have a scavenger hunt vibe.
“Right now we are teaching people how to participate without being intrusive or intimidating,” said Pennington, who preferred not to be photographed for this piece because she sees herself as one of the many star flies — not the star — of this story. “We really just want people to join the story too.”
Daniel Sidore, 11, of Clarkson joined the story last week. He was in the village of Brockport with his older brothers when he began spying the colorful Starfly Immersive balls hidden in plain sight.
“I didn’t know what they were at first and why they were there,” Sidore said, “Then I realized they were there just to make people happy.”
He collected about 40 balls that he filled the front seat of his mom’s car with as a practical joke, adding her to the evolving, community story too.
Contact Caurie at caurie@urgrad .rochester.edu with news from west-side towns. She’s on Twitter at @CauriePutnam and on Facebook at facebook.com/ WestExtra .