2020 has been a year we won't soon forget. In the face of the unexpected, your contributions have been more vital than ever. You are sustaining the quality of care you've come to expect from our dedicated staff at UPMC Western Maryland and holding up our HealthCare Heroes as they respond with strength and resilience to the COVID-19 pandemic.
While they fight the good fight on the front lines, the WMHS Foundation and Pastoral Care Department are providing meals across the hospital and our community-based services, clinics and medical practices . Sustaining our caregivers, who are working tirelessly in the face of this disaster, is our number one priority. While they take care of us, we want them to know that our community stands behind them. We see their courage and the endless hours they devote, and we are grateful.
Even as we address this unique challenge, please know that the ongoing needs of our patients have not been forgotten. We are shepherding your gifts, as you've directed, across the system to fulfill needs in our Cancer Center and Cardiac units, as well as addressing needs among distressed patients and those struggling with addiction and behavioral health issues. I'd like to share a couple of stories that will help to frame the uplifting ways that you have impacted the patients and caregivers at UPMC Western Maryland this year.
A Million Ways to Heal the Wounded
Long before we heard the word coronavirus, a very special group of people was embracing a cause that had reached epidemic proportions across our community. The WMHS Auxiliary, under Past President Sherry Schmitt, pledged $1 million in 2019 toward construction and operation of a short-term residential facility designed to address the opioid crisis in Western Maryland.
At the facility's ribbon cutting ceremony on August 6, 2020, UPMC Western Maryland President Barry Ronan gave special acknowledgement and appreciation to the Auxiliary and current President Julie Davis for their generous ongoing support. In recognition of such a significant commitment, the Auxiliary was given rights to name the new facility. Julie and her board appropriately chose The Center for Hope and Healing, and a permanent plaque will be installed inside the entry to commemorate their gift.
Meet Number One
One month after the Center for Hope and Healing opened, the WMHS Auxiliary had the privilege of hearing from guest speaker Justin Davis, Clinical Coordinator for the Center. He brought good news about how this one-of-a-kind resource has been received by the region, and most importantly, how it is impacting individual patients.
Justin shared a brief story about the first patient served at the Center for Hope and Healing, appropriately dubbed, "Number One." Number One was well known to the staff, having had numerous admissions to the UPMC Behavioral Health Unit and several visits to the ED in 2020, all related to opiate misuse. In each case, Number One had been referred for further treatment, but had not taken that next step. But the Center for Hope and Healing was different. With familiar staff in a more homelike atmosphere, just minutes from UPMC Western Maryland, Number One decided to take the chance. After a brief, stabilizing stay at the Center (which is the treatment model there) Number One was referred to a local inpatient rehab, and accepted that course. One week later, he called to express thanks for his stay. He felt listened to and heard, he said, and for the first time he felt supported and hopeful. His brief time at the Center for Hope and Healing had given him the strength to take the next step. For an individual battling addiction, that's a big step.
Justin closed by assuring the Auxiliary that their investment made a difference with the very first patient, and they are looking forward to helping many others the same way that they helped Number One.
When the Going Gets Tough…
Because of you, the WMHS Foundation has been able to make a difference for the HealthCare Heroes who care for our loved ones with such compassion and strength. As we look ahead, our aim is to continue to find ways to support our caregivers and the patients they serve. May the year 2020 stand out to us, not for the numbers of those affected by the virus, but for the progress we made in caring for one another.
- $215,000 worth of gift cards to our HealthCare Heroes battling COVID-19
- 80 community tributes to UPMC Western Maryland staff and 38 Facebook dedications to honor our heroes
- 106 food donations that served 5,600 meals across our system
- 20,483 masks donated to our hospital departments, patients, and volunteers
- 2,262 items of personal protective gear donated to help keep our caregivers safe
- $114,012 in in-kind donations
This fall, as the region has begun to see a resurgence in COVID cases, your Foundation is back at it, bringing meals to our urgent care centers and hospital departments to lift up those on the front line and the many who support them. Watch for an opportunity to give in our year-end mailing, out in December.
Send us your tributes when you make a donation to our heroes: www.wmhs.com/foundation/donate-now. This December, your Foundation undertook a special Luminary project as a visible reminder of our community's support: www.wmhs.com/foundation/donate-december.
Trusted Resources for our Hometown Healthcare
Our affiliation with the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) in February positioned our hometown hospital for continued growth, ensuring that our region will get the best medical treatment for decades to come. As UPMC invests in improved access to medical specialists and capital improvements, the WMHS Foundation remains committed to serving unique patient needs that enhance our quality of care. Thanks to you, we continue to focus on caring for what matters most.