A ROCHESTER REGIONAL HEALTH FOUNDATIONS PUBLICATION
Impact ofgratitude The IN THIS ISSUE:
Walking in gratitude: The Riesenbergers are thankful for Andrew’s medical team.
NURSE THANKS DONORS FOR LIFE-CHANGING SCHOLARSHIP
CANANDAIGUA MAN CREDITS RELATIONSHIPS FOR HELPING HIM HEAL
BATAVIA COMMUNITY SWADDLES NEW BABIES IN LOVE
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Table of Contents 4 6 8 12 A LETTER FROM THE FOUNDATIONS PRESIDENT GRATITUDE SHOUT OUTS GOLISANO RESTORATIVE NEUROLOGY & REHABILITATION CENTER HELPS PATIENTS RECOVER, TOGETHER IN THIS ISSUE
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THANKFUL FOR LEARNING TOGETHER: THE BREASTFEEDING JOURNEY
IN MY OWN WORDS, BY LANNI MASZEROWSKI
GRATEFUL FOR COMMUNITY SPIRIT AND FOR SWADDLES
CANANDAIGUA MAN CREDITS RELATIONSHIPS FOR HELPING HIM HEAL
A DREAM ACHIEVED THROUGH SCHOLARSHIP SUPPORT
THE GRATITUDE PROJECT
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A LETTER FROM THE FOUNDATIONS PRESIDENT
As we enter the season of Thanksgiving, we’d like to introduce an important new initiative at Rochester Regional Health: The Gratitude Project . We launched this program in response to the countless notes of recognition and appreciation we receive from patients and families who have received care at Rochester Regional Health. The Gratitude Project makes it easy for patients and families to express gratitude for the care received. You can share your story, honor a care provider, or you can support our clinical teams by making a gift. At the end of the day, Gratitude is at the heart of everything we do. In this special edition of Impact , we’re sharing stories of people whose lives you’ve helped change with your generous support. A new nurse who faced homelessness and couldn’t have made it through school without scholarship support. A Canandaigua man whose heart is healthier today because
of the talented medical teams in which you’ve invested. A family who is grateful their son can walk again—and a young professional who appreciated a quick diagnosis and a thorough explanation for every question asked. All of these people are grateful because of you. Thank you so much for your support. I hope you enjoy reading and hearing about these heartfelt stories.
Kelly McCormick-Sullivan MS, MA President, Rochester Regional Health Foundations
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GOLISANO RESTORATIVE NEUROLOGY & REHABILITATION CENTER HELPS PATIENTS AND THEIR FAMILIES
And those people – the doctors, the nurses, the therapists, the maintenance staff – welcomed not just Andrew, but his family. “They are used to working with families who are going through trauma,” said Andrew’s mom, Christine Riesenberger. “They did everything they could to help ease the tension and the stress. They made us feel hopeful.” They also created a family atmosphere and encouraged patients and families to meet one another. “We weren’t just isolated in our room,” she said. “We could see the progress that others were making, and it helped knowing that we were not alone in this situation.” Eventually, it was Andrew’s progress they were noticing. Now, he’s speaking and eating and walking. His personality is back. Sometime soon, the Riesenbergers hope to bring Andrew back to see all those who helped with his recovery. “They see people at their worst,” Christine said. “It would be nice for them to see Andrew recovering. It’s a testament to all of their hard work.” Jeff agreed. “My wife and I cannot begin to express the level of appreciation and respect we have for this facility,” he said. “Please tell Mr. Golisano, and all the other benefactors of this fine hospital, that our family is forever indebted to them for their generosity.”
When 18-year-old Andrew Riesenberger fell and suffered a subdural hematoma, everything changed for him and his parents. An operation relieved the pressure on his brain, but the recovery period led to advanced pneumonia, seizures, blood clots and lung failure. He spent four uncertain weeks in intensive care before being transferred to the Golisano Restorative Neurology & Rehabilitation Center at Unity Hospital. When he arrived, he couldn’t breathe on his own or eat without a feeding tube. He also couldn’t talk, but he started clapping when the elevator doors opened and he saw the facility. “He did not stop clapping until we placed him in his bed,” said his dad, Jeff Riesenberger. “Andrew is on the autism spectrum and views life through a special lens that brings out the beauty in people that others cannot perceive. He is truly in his ‘happy place’ surrounded by people whose hearts hang on their shirt sleeves.”
“They made us
Christine and Andrew Riesenberger
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I was in a particularly vulnerable state, as my husband had left to spend some time with our older daughter at home, and Jess, one of the nurses, sat with me for a few minutes while I cried and helped me process the emotions of becoming a mom of two, while validating my feelings. Thank you to all of the wonderful nurses on the postpartum floor for all you do. – — Kristina M.
I came in on a very zany and unusual Monday as it isn’t every Monday I need surgery or to seek medical attention but through the entire day, I was seen and cared for my professionals who treated me with respect and I felt that my concerns and thoughts were listened to and taken into account. I appreciate every one of them more than I can articulate and I hope that what I have written here will suffice in conveying how much I appreciate and am pleased with my experience. – — Kathryn H.
Thank you, Nurse Brian, for taking such good care of me before and after my surgery! A true professional with a great bedside manner, he put me at ease every step of the way! — Richard O.
The work that was done on my hip to make me “bionic” has absolutely changed my life. I can walk without a cane, go up and down steps, ride a motorcycle, and live each day without pain medication, and without that pain which bothered me for years. My surgeon is my superhero for his expertise, patience, compassion, and kindness. — Linda Lee C.
Patients across the region shared their thanks for Rochester Regional Health caregivers.
A big thank you to all the nurses and doctors in Labor and Delivery at Unity Hospital in Greece. They took exceptional care of both baby and me. I was so impressed with how they truly tried to make a personal connection with us and help us navigate becoming new parents. — Mary Kay A.
Thank you to the nurses in the Cardio-Pulmonary Unit for caring for me when I had surgery. Your kindness and compassion meant a great deal to me. — Lacey C .
I appreciate the care I received from the team, the honesty and integrity I was presented with during a very difficult time of my life. Being diagnosed with any cancer is the scariest, most mentally damaging illness. To have a great care team and a doctor is a huge blessing! — Lisa S.
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I would like to express gratitude to Carrie A., PA, who showed me compassion and excellent care, going out of her way to accommodate me. — Terese K.
Going into a “new world” of heart technologies was made much more bearable by all in the Cardiology unit. My nurses were calm and efficient. They were lovely, kind, and their love for their work radiated! — Cheryl W.
I must commend your fabulous team member, Deborah, who was working at the welcome desk in the ER. She was polite, considerate, compassionate, and informative. She is an absolute gem of an employee. — Anita M.
I would like to thank Nurse Kerry at Labor and Delivery for making me feel comfortable. She was great and so compassionate and came in to check on me multiple times. — Alexis W.
I was a patient at your Newark-Wayne Hospital ER this morning, and want you to know how thankful I am for the excellent care I received there. My doctor and nurse were very professional as well as caring. My husband and I are from out of state, and it was a bit daunting to be in a strange place, but everyone was wonderful. — Marjory P.
SUBMIT A MESSAGE OF GRATITUDE HERE
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In 2021, Melanie Cotton, LPN , was homeless and in jeopardy of dropping out of Isabella Graham Hart School of Practical Nursing – until she was selected to receive a scholarship from the Rochester General Hospital Association. Due to the financial support, Melanie graduated from the program in June 2022. Today, she is a licensed practical nurse at Rochester Regional Health. Melanie is grateful for the scholarship, which helps make nursing education more accessible for students like her. She is even more thankful now that she is able to have a career that allows her to take care of others. Follow her story through these questions and answers.
Q: What was it that made you want to join the nursing profession? A: I joined the nursing profession after working with different people in various specialties. I love to see the excitement on their faces when I walk through the door, and I appreciate the very positive feedback I receive from both patients and families. I know nursing is my passion because taking care of others is what matters most to me.
Q: How did the Rochester General Hospital Association Scholarship help you? A: At the time, I was facing a major hardship being homeless. The scholarship helped pay my tuition and allowed me to focus on other areas of my life, like getting an apartment. It was a big weight off my shoulders knowing that I didn’t have to pick one or the other. I am very grateful to have been selected for the Rochester General Hospital Association Scholarship and to those who financially support this opportunity.
Q: How long have you worked at Rochester Regional Health?
Q: Has becoming a nurse made a difference in your life? If so, how?
A: I have worked for Rochester Regional Health for almost one year. I started as a lead tech at Unity Hospital, then a certified nursing assistant at Unity Living Center. Now, I’m a licensed practical nurse at Unity Living Center. Q: What was the biggest challenge you faced in becoming a nurse? A: Some of the biggest challenges I faced while in nursing school were battling major mental and physical health issues. I also was homeless for a short period of time and at risk of dropping out of nursing school. Q: How did you overcome that? A: I overcame these challenges by staying focused and having faculty members like Ms. Walters, Ms. Lawrence, and Ms. Layton in my corner. They helped keep me on a path to success. I also focused on the short-term goal, which was to graduate and become a nurse, so I would be able to put myself in a greater position financially to never have to be homeless again.
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A: Becoming a nurse has made a major difference in my life. I now think before I act. I’m more focused. I’m more determined. I also feel that I am a stronger leader. I can also help myself out of stressful situations by using my own thought process I learned while becoming a nurse. Q: When you think about your career, what makes you grateful? A: When I think about my career, I am thankful most that I made it here through everything I’ve been through – not just in nursing school but in life itself. And I’m grateful that I gave my mother the chance to see her daughter do great things. Q: Is there anything else you'd like to tell people? A: I would love to tell future nursing students (and students in general) that life gets tough, especially when you are doing something great and bettering your life, but never give up. There is always a great bright light at the end of a very dark road. Stay focused and succeed.
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THANKFUL FOR LEARNING
Even moms who work in health care can use a little help at times – and that’s exactly what Kayla found from her colleagues at the August Family Birth Place at Unity Hospital. Breastfeeding was going well while Kayla recovered in the hospital, but she started to struggle when she returned home. A lactation specialist worked with Kayla and her son, and Kayla couldn’t be more grateful. “She helped me trust myself and then reminded me that just because my journey changed from exclusively breastfeeding to exclusively pumping, that I’m still giving my son my breast milk,” Kayla said. “And just because it looks different doesn’t mean that it’s wrong.”
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BY LANNI MASZEROWSKI Inmy Own Words
When my neurologist called me at my summer school program and told me I needed to go to the emergency department, I was in disbelief. But I’m not one to ignore a doctor, so I drove on over to Rochester General Hospital after work was over. “A hospital can be a scary place. But I never felt that.” I checked into the emergency department assuming they’d look me over, tell me I was fine, and I’d be home by dinner. Twelve hours and four MRIs later, I had two RGHneurologists telling me that they found a lesion on my spine and I was being admitted. Before that day, I didn’t know what a “lesion” even was. But they explained everything to me
with understanding, empathy, and intelligence. They helped me understand that, while my condition was extremely serious, the hospital staff members would do everything they could to help me. The standard of care demonstrated by those two neurologists set a fantastic precedent for the care that I continued to receive during my two-week stay. Every treatment, every procedure, every test, every medication was explained to me kindly and clearly by staff that didn’t mind me constantly asking questions about the science behind whatever they were doing. I am extremely grateful for the staff I worked with during my stay for helping me stay positive and optimistic. In my school, where I teach fifth grade, we often talk about the impact of gratitude on our lives. Gratitude and positive thinking have been linked with increased happiness, decreased stress and anxiety, and have been shown to help those dealing with adversity.
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FOR COMMUNITY SPIRIT AND FOR
One of our tiniest grateful patients, Baby Irwin, born September 2022. Photo courtesy of the Irwin Family.
Thanks to more than a dozen fundraising lemonade stands and hundreds of generous community members, babies born at United Memorial Medical Center can take home a free swaddle. The lemonade stand fundraising event raised almost $5,500 for the maternity department in just one day. More than 500 babies are born at UMMC each year, and parents are taught how to swaddle their babies for comfort and safe sleeping. Staff members and community members wanted to make sure every baby had a swaddle to take home, and now everyone can rest more peacefully.
500 BORN BABIES more than
12 STANDS + Lemonade
Lemonade stands throughout our community
PURCHASED THANKS TO THE FUNDRAISER
A YEAR AT UMMC
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HELP CANANDAIGUA MAN Relationships
for some tests. Later, Dr. Malins hand-picked a surgeon for Tom’s open-heart surgery. Afterward, he wanted Tom to get a carotid artery unblocked, so he sent him to a vascular surgeon in Newark. Now, Tom is rebuilding his strength and healing. “I’m very grateful,” Tom said. “I don’t know how I would have gotten through it. I don’t listen to everybody, but when I find somebody I really trust, then I’m very loyal to him.” Plus, Tom appreciates Dr. Malins’ entire team. “He’s got great people working for him,” Tom said. “I’m not the most cooperative guy in the world – not because I’m trying to be difficult but because I just forget things. They talk to me. They make me feel like I’m important to them. And Dr. Malins is right on top of things. It’s a very comforting thing for me. If he says it’s going to rain, I’m going to go get an umbrella. I take his word for everything.” “I’m very grateful”
Not only is Tom Zumbo grateful for the care he received through Rochester Regional Health, he’s thankful he has a cardiologist who’s always in his corner. “I’m not the world’s most trusting soul,” said Tom, who has developed a friendship over the years with Timothy J. Malins, MD, the director of Eastern Region Cardiac Services, Sands-Constellation Heart Institute. “I trust him completely. It’s certainly paid off for me.” The two met when Tom was referred to Dr. Malins’ office in Geneva, and they just hit it off. “He’s a big baseball fan and so am I,” Tom said. Plus, Dr. Malins had a different approach when talking to Tom about the lifestyle changes he needed to make. For years, doctors had told Tom to stop smoking or risk dying. “But Dr. Malins said if I quit smoking I could live to be 100… That was encouraging news to me. I quit right then. It took his approach to get me to that point. That kind of endeared me to him.” Last December, when Tom found himself unable to breathe or get answers at a nearby emergency room, he called Dr. Malins, who sent Tom to Clifton Springs Hospital & Clinic
Timothy J. Malins, MD
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The Gratitude Project
Gratitude is at the heart of everything we do. The generous support of individuals and families helps Rochester Regional Health achieve its mission to enhance the lives of the community through access to the best health care. The Gratitude Project provides ways for patients, families, and the broader community to express gratitude for the care received. Share your story.
We would love to hear about your experience highlighting the high quality, compassionate work our employees do every day.
Honor a caregiver. Is there someone you would like to thank for taking great care of you or a loved one? We will deliver your note of appreciation to the staff member or volunteer you would like to honor. Make a gift. By making a gift in honor of a loved one or care provider, you are supporting the great work our care teams do every day.
To learn more, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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