President’s Report


Dear Friends,

Many changes, opportunities and events are on our horizon. We invite you to mark your calendar now so you can participate in our diverse programming this winter and spring!

First, some introductions. Our Executive Director, Shannon Sullivan starts work this week. We are delighted to welcome her; she has enthusiastically embraced our mission and commitment to growth. You can contact her at

Also, we are grateful to the many who have offered to donate time and talent in volunteer capacities. We are focused in 2015 on expanding meaningful volunteer opportunities. For starters, Lynette Kalsnes is a new Life Matters Media Advisor and volunteer Program Director. Lynette is a friend and media colleague who held a similar position with the Association of Women Journalists. She is already planning programs that you will hear more about, and if you have ideas for others- please share with her at

We will launch our improved soon; it will house an easy-to-navigate calendar of our many events. Until then, please save the dates for these programs:

The Council of Religious Leaders of Metropolitan Chicago is co-sponsoring an event in which we have received much interest; save the evening of Thursday, March 19th for an inter-faith forum taking on end of life care options and their alignment with varying religious traditions. The event and reception will be held in the Lurie Baldwin Auditorium at Northwestern University downtown. Check our website’s program list for more info soon. It will be free, but as space is limited- registration will be required. Contact with any questions.

Registration for the February 28th Midwinter Conference of Fourth Presbyterian Church, Dying to Know: Life Affirming Conversations about Living and Dying Well will open soon. We will present an afternoon session, The Dilemmas of Dying in America.

On March 31st, Mary and I will be Starting the Conversation in a “Main Stage” program at Harold Washington Library- our largest forum to date. We hope this will be an exciting precedent to National Health Care Decisions Day; it’s an event we look forward to talking more about soon. Be sure to check out our resources online.

We are also looking forward to begin discussions with our Outreach Partners: Wellness House, the Cancer Wellness Center and Gilda’s Club Chicago. Throughout the year, we will be visiting these organizations with a series of four presentations: Starting the Conversation, Securing Your Care Preferences, Caring Options and Final MattersFor more information, check our website. If you work with an organization interested in this long-term programming, please contact us.

The last event is social AND educational; please save the evening of May 19th- CRAFT BEER WEEK!- at REVOLUTION BREWING for what we’re calling (for now) “Your Digital Afterlife.” Tim Akimoff of WBEZ will be teaching us tips to ensure our online affairs are in order. Here is some information he shared on the airwaves:

We’ll be seeing 24 of you- a classroom full- on February 21st for our Respecting Choices First Steps training. Thanks so much for your overwhelming interest; registration is now closed, but we hope to host another class soon.


Randi Belisomo
President and Co-Founder