Bernadine N., 85, Pittsburgh, PA

Bernadine Novak, a resident of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, had her wish for a gravestone for her son’s grave granted, thanks to our Allegheny County chapter. Novak, 85, gave birth to a baby boy in the 1950s who sadly died at birth. Although he was buried in St. Mary’s Cemetary in O’Hara Township, she was never able to afford a grave marker or tombstone. Sadly, this was not the only heartbreak in Novak’s life. Another son who had Down’s Syndrome passed away from neglect in a state-run home for children with disabilities in the early 1970s. Novak, a single mother raised two other children on her own, and became an advocate fighting for the rights of disabled children in Pennsylvania. Due to her testimony and advocacy, legislation to establish safeguards to protect disabled children was passed. Thank you to Pat Lanigan of Patrick Lanigan Funeral Homes and Kevin Kanak from Ragan Monuments for funding the cost of the tombstone. Thank you also to St. Mary’s Cemetary for waiving their fee for this wish. This very special wish was granted on September 20th on Novak’s 85th birthday. 

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