Your Gifts at Work

Christmas only comes once a year, but for Scott McCall, a resident of the Good Shepherd Home Raker Center, it’s never very far from his mind. And how could it be, with one of the other residents singing Christmas songs throughout the year? And that suits Scott just fine.

Hat. Check. Sunscreen and sunglasses. Check. Floatation device. Check. Edwin Zajac, a resident of the Good Shepherd Home – Bethlehem, was ready and raring to go. Now all he had to do was wait for his boat to come in. When it did, a big smile crossed his face in anticipation of an exciting ride on a motor boat with the wind in his face and the spray of whitewater spewing behind him.

An Iron Pigs game. A birthday celebration at a favorite restaurant. Bowling. A concert. A trip to the Philadelphia Zoo or Kutztown Folk Festival. Holiday shopping at the Lehigh Valley Mall. A day at Lehigh Valley Sporting Clays.

Twice, the United States came to the rescue of Hysen Hamzaj’s family. The first time was in 1999 when family members immigrated to the U.S. from Macedonia as refugees from the Kosovo War. The second time was in 2016, when doctors saved the lives of his wife, Magbule, and their infant son, Aron, who was born prematurely. It was, says Hysen, a miracle.

A strong faith, a loving family and a generous heart have helped propel Ally Armstrong forward more than three years after a sledding accident in February 2010 left her legs paralyzed. Today, the beautiful and vibrant 20-year-old from Schnecksville is focusing more than ever on her future as she moves into a new apartment with a roommate and starts her junior year at Jefferson University in Philadelphia in pursuit of an occupational therapy degree.

Now on sale for only $5! Get yours while supplies last! Proceeds benefit the Good Shepherd Spinal Cord Injury Program.

We're excited to announce "Independence Days," a new calendar especially produced as a fund raiser for Good Shepherd's Spinal Cord Injury Program. Each month features someone with a spinal cord injury doing something they love such as kayaking, fishing and working on a racing car. A number of those featured are members of Good Shepherd's Spinal Cord Injury Support Group.

May 2013

In honor of Sally Gammon, who is retiring after 16 years as Good Shepherd’s president and chief executive officer, Good Shepherd is pleased to announce The Sally Gammon Fund for Pediatrics, dedicated to providing annual support for pediatrics, a program near and dear to Sally’s heart.

 When Talon Troxel was three, he went from having a vocabulary of 500 words to zero, and refused to eat just about anything put in front of him. When his younger brother, Caden turned three, he too developed speech and feeding problems, and a raging temper that lashed out like a rattlesnake 60 to 80 times a day. The boys were both diagnosed with forms of autism. Caden was also diagnosed with Oppositional Defiant Disorder which was causing his tantrums and Talon with Sensory Processing Disorder.

A little more than nine years ago, Steven Wilkinson went on a motorcycle ride that forever changed his life. On a winding country road, he lost control of his Honda 750 and was thrown 75 feet. He fell with brute force on a battery charger for his motorcycle, breaking his back. The resultant spinal cord injury robbed the then 23-year-old of his ability to walk. The accident and later the death of his brother combined to steal his willpower as well, sweeping him away in a tsunami of depression.

Click here to watch a video of Kevin's remarkable progress using the Ekso.

Click here to read more of Kevin's story in Sweet Charity.


The holiday season is filled with exciting events many children look forward to all year long. Four year-old Scott Cacciatore is no exception. But, as a child with autism who is non-verbal, his holiday experiences have been very different from other children. Even simple traditions, like visiting Santa have been difficult.

But, his mom, Jen, is excited to see how this year will be different for her son.

Last summer, Ginger Novak, a resident of Good Shepherd's Conrad W. Raker Center, and a long-time fan of actress Betty White, had the experience of her lifetime - she got to meet Betty in person. Ginger, in the company of a nurse, traveled to Philadelphia where Betty was making a special appearance. Ginger was able to go backstage prior to Betty's appearance where she was warmly greeted by Betty who knew Ginger was one of her biggest fans.

When Nancy Zeh shares her son Tyler’s story now, she doesn’t hesitate to end it by saying, “It’s a miracle!” But, there were many times when she simply wasn’t sure how his ordeal would end.

From October 1st through 30th, friends are invited to donate new or gently used toys to Good Shepherd's Outpatient Pediatric Program to keep up with the demands of a therapeutically diverse and growing population of children ranging in age from birth through age 17.

Toys that top the "wish list" are those that light up and/or play music. All toys should be clean. Please do not bring toys that are missing pieces or broken. Also, no stuffed/plush animals. Sweet Charity magazine, May/June 2012)

Justin Hudsco was on the move and determined to get his man. His arms thrust out to keep his balance, the 5-year-old was in hot pursuit of Dan Lasko, a very special visitor, as they played a game of freeze tag in the therapy gym at the Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Hospital Pediatric Unit.

(From Sweet Charity magazine, May/June 2012)

On January 9, 2011, John Raker Hudders, grandson of John and Estella Raker, founders of The Good Shepherd Home, passed away at the Phoebe Home in Allentown. A successful and well-liked attorney, Jack suffered a severe brain injury in a near fatal auto accident in 1997. He arrived at Good Shepherd in a coma. Six months later, he walked out of the brain injury unit, escorted by his sons.

“Doctors told us Matthew would never walk or talk… and now he’s doing both!”