Slice of History: Friends of Strong Celebrates $1 Million Milestone, Efforts to Enhance Patient Care
Tuesday, September 25, 2018
Friends of Strong 2018-19 Leadership Council at the "thank you" celebration held Tuesday, Sept. 25. From left: Council President Bill Olsen; Council-member Andrea Westerlund; Friends of Strong Director Sandy Arbasak; Council-members Joan Romano; Regina Robinson; Ron von Perlstein; Rose Faucette; Pat Milot; Cheryl Gioia; Joann Hutchings; Mary Wagner; David Samuelson; Kathy King-Griswold; SMH COO Kathy Parrinello.
Hundreds of Friends of Strong (FOS) patrons and supporters ate cake Tuesday to celebrate a $1 million milestone. Director Sandy Arbasak shared why a celebration was in order: The organization has steadily grown its fundraising during the past 43 years, successfully reaching $1 million for the first time this year.
The money will be used for equipment and supplies that support 71 projects throughout Strong Memorial Hospital designed to enhance patent and family-centered care. This year’s gifts bring FOS’ lifetime contributions to more than $17 million.
“The funding made possible through the work of Friends of Strong enhances our dedication to providing a world-class health care experience for our patients and their families, each and every day,” says Kathy Parrinello, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of Strong Memorial Hospital. “It’s a true gift that we have such a wonderful group of community volunteers and staff who work tirelessly in their support of our hospital. I am incredibly proud to be here, and to see them accomplish this impressive milestone.”
Arbasak attributes much of the organizations successes to those who make up the Strong Hospital and Medical Center community. “The continued support of faculty, staff, students and volunteers at the Friends of Strong Gift Shop, Finger Lakes Coffee Roasters SMH locations, and our many fundraising events throughout the year makes it possible for Friends of Strong to support programs and initiatives that directly enhance patient- and family-centered care,” Arbasak says. “It takes a village—and without this one, none of this would be possible.”
Making an Impact
When we stop by Finger Lakes Coffee Roasters for a cup of joe or chai, we’re contributing in a small way to FOS. Visiting the Gift Shop or attending a Friends of Strong fundraiser make it possible for FOS to provide equipment and supplies that directly support patient- and family-centered care. Some of the initiatives funded this year:
- Safe sleep infant swaddles for every baby born at Strong
- Funding toward new tables and chairs for the hospital cafeteria
- Clothing for discharged patients in need
- Advanced life-saving equipment such as lifts, fluid warmers, ultrasounds, and much more
“We love it when folks come to our events and tell us how much fun they’re having, or how much they love the convenience of the gift shop or hospital coffee bars,” Arbasak adds. “What’s really significant is the impact their patronage and participation makes for our patients.”
One noteworthy allocation this year included funding for our Emergency Department to purchase brand new Level 1 fluid warmers used to provide life-saving infusion of fluids for emergency treatment of critically ill or actively bleeding trauma patients.
“Warmed fluids are necessary in the treatment of these patients to prevent hypothermia and other complications when time and precision is of the utmost essence,” says Mike Kamali, M.D., Chair and Professor of the Emergency Medicine Department. “Rest assured, these new fluid warmers will lead to better outcomes and many lives being saved—this funding is a truly appreciated gift.”
Steven E. Feldon, M.D., director of the Flaum Eye Institute, shares in Kamali’s praise for what he sees as a generous gift to that will provide two new auto refractors. “Friends of Strong has been a highly valued supporter over many years,” he says in extending his personal thanks for all that the organization does to facilitate the Department of Ophthalmology in providing the best in eye services to our patients.
Meanwhile, some gifts are more altruistic in nature. Robin Franklin, director of Chaplaincy Services paints a picture of patients and families who value having religious texts available in what may be a time of reflection and peace seeking. “Many patients are very appreciative to receive material that is important to their spiritual and religious life while hospitalized,” she says. “This is particularly true for patients who were unexpectedly admitted or don’t have someone who can bring in their Bible, Koran, Torah or other texts. In the past, we have had to seek out resources that were helpful but not always consistent. This gift makes it possible to have these important texts readily available.”
These examples represent just a small sample of the dozens of areas in which our collective support helps Friends of Strong advance the mission of UR Medicine’s Strong Memorial Hospital through providing life-saving, healing and ever more comfortable support and services to patients, families and visitors.
How It Works
Friends of Strong is led by a council of community volunteers, from both within and outside of our organization, who help research each and every capital request that is forwarded for review, from hospital administration. Often part of a department’s original capital request for the upcoming year, initiatives which have PFCC values at their core are then passed along to the council to determine which have the most promise to impact the patient experience in a positive way, and great care is placed on ensuring equitable distribution of funds.
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For more information on how you can support the Friends of Strong, visit fos.urmc.edu or call (585) 275-2420.