St. Luke's Hospital honors heroes

Author: , Reporter, @CatherineH_WFMZ, chawley@wfmz.com
Published: Sep 23 2012 10:32:05 AM EDT   Updated On: Sep 24 2012 05:45:44 AM EDT
BETHLEHEM, Pa. -

They're heroes without capes.

Those responsible for saving lives every day were honored by St. Luke's Hospital and Health Network on Saturday night at the ArtsQuest Center in Bethlehem.

First responders, EMTs, doctors, nurses and therapists shared the stage with two patients who beat the odds, and are alive thanks to their hard work.

Greg Young, 18,  knows how precious life is, but it took almost losing his to learn that lesson.

"That date is embedded in my head,"  he said. "January 14th, 2011."

Driving home from work, Young wrecked his car and was thrown through the sun roof. He was taken to St. Luke's trauma center with severe abdominal and pelvic injuries.

"There was 12 or 13 of us working on him at any one time, so it was pretty chaotic," trauma surgeon Dr. James Cipolla said.

Like Young, Johanna Pizzola knows she's lucky to be alive. She had massive facial fractures and a brain injury after she was in a car crash with her husband and two young sons.

"Both my ribs broken, a lot of facial reconstruction, my lungs both collapsed at one point, it was a lot going on," Pizzola said.

Today, Pizzola and Young are almost completely healed from their injuries, and got the chance to say thank you to the countless people who combined forces to help save their lives.

"It's why we do what we do," Cipolla said with a smile. "We want to restore people back to their families and restore them back to a normal life, saving a life is important, but saving a life and giving it meaning is much more important."

Pizzola has been able to get a second degree, and Young graduated high school and started college. They give a lot of the credit to the teams who helped them through when their lives hung in the balance.

"With the staff, with the love of my family, and just the support, I was able to recover and get back in shape, get back into mommy life," Pizzola said.

"If it wasn't for them, I would have died in the woods," Young said. "I would have not been here. If it wasn't for the surgeons, I would not be here."

About 600 people were at the eighth Annual A Night of Heroes celebration. Eighty of them were honored as heroes.