Summer 2015 M E R C Y F O U N D AT I O N
Inspiring Philanthropy. Changing Lives. Grateful Patient Tom Uhrhammer: A Second Chance at Life
Tom and Trisha Uhrhammer are grateful for the immediate care Tom received through the technology of the telemedicine robot that helped to save his life.
Tom Uhrhammer watched the progress of the Alex G. Spanos Heart & Vascular Center while it was under construction on the Mercy General Hospital campus, admiring the beautiful facility. “I live right down the street, so I would pass by it nearly every day and, as an engineer and the son of a structural engineer, I was fascinated by it,” he remembers. “I had no idea that one day my own life would be saved there.”
Tom’s life-changing experience began on the evening of July 9 of last year. “It was just a regular day,” Tom says. “We had gone to an event at church and came home and I was watching TV—probably the Giants game. I felt fine. Around midnight, I went upstairs to go to bed but when I got to the bed, I dropped to my knees. I think I lost consciousness and when I came to, I couldn’t get up off my knees, no matter how hard I tried.” Says Tom’s wife Trisha,“I found him on his knees and he told me he couldn’t get up.” Trisha immediately called 911 and paramedics arrived within minutes. “They asked me which hospital I wanted him to go to,” Trisha recalls. “I said to do whatever was best for him. They said, ‘We’re taking him to Mercy.’” Tom was transported to Mercy General Hospital—just nine blocks away. Staff quickly determined that Tom had suffered a major stroke. He had lost feeling on his left side and was experiencing significant swelling in his brain. “One of the nurses came to me and said, ‘We’d like the physician to talk to you,’ and in came this robot! Then, Dr. Alex Nee, a neurologist/ neurointensivist appeared on the screen and began to explain Tom’s condition,” said Trisha. Continued on page 2
Educator and Health Care Pioneer | 4
President’s message At Mercy Foundation, we define success as having a positive impact on people’s lives through philanthropy. This success would not be possible were it not for you, our loyal friends and supporters. This edition of our newsletter provides a sampling of impactful stories made possible by your compassionate support and generosity. Regretfully, space limits us to sharing just a few of these stories, however, please know that your gifts to Mercy Foundation in support of the ministry of your choosing are appreciated by many and create so many life changing and/or life-saving stories that go far beyond the pages of this newsletter. If you ever have questions regarding the impact of your giving, I invite you to contact me directly so that I may provide you with additional stories on how your gifts are impacting numerous lives in our community. As we begin this summer season, I wish health and happiness to you and your loved ones. Thank you for your time in reading this issue of Horizons and for your continued partnership in inspiring philanthropy and changing lives. With gratitude,
President and CEO
M E R C Y F O U N D AT I O N
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The “robot” is a telemedicine device that allows a physician to remotely assess a patient and work with on-site caregivers to coordinate treatment. The physician can see the patient up close thanks to high resolution cameras and can monitor their vital signs and test results as well. Through the robot, Dr. Nee was able to care for Tom and also have a heartfelt and difficult conversation with his wife. “I said to Dr. Nee, through the robot, ‘Am I going to lose my husband tonight?’” Trisha remembers. “He said that was a real possibility, but that he was going to do everything he could to prevent that.” Later that morning, surgery was performed to repair the bleed on Tom’s brain. The procedure took four hours. When he left the operating room, the smile on the surgeon’s face told Trisha everything she needed to know. “He was so assured and so confident and kind. He walked up to me, offered his hand and said, ‘I think it went well and I got it all.’” Within two days, Tom regained consciousness and began to use his left side again. “I saw him suddenly lift his left arm to scratch an itch,” Trisha says. “I knew that was a good sign!” Tom spent six days at the Alex G. Spanos Heart & Vascular Center for intensive care in Mercy General Hospital’s Neurological ICU before being transferred to a rehabilitation program. Less than two weeks later, Tom was cleared to return home. As his doctors predicted, he walked up his front porch to his front door, unassisted. “Today, I feel 100%,” Tom says. “My speech was unaffected and whatever cognitive deficits I had are gone and my strength is fully returned. I am living life—eating well, enjoying wine, being active…I’ve gained 15 pounds but they are good pounds! I feel blessed. I feel like I have been given a gift – a second chance at life.” Tom says now when he walks past Mercy General Hospital, he admires it from a different perspective. “I consider Mercy my second birth place. I was born in Palo Alto —but my life was saved at Mercy General.”
Helping a Family in Need Alma would have never imagined that during the last few days of her pregnancy she would be hospitalized— not for the excitement of giving birth—but to be treated for smoke inhalation as the result of a fire. Fortunately, she and her husband were able to escape safely from the fire, but lost their home and all their belongings, including all the necessities for their soon to arrive baby boy. Nurses at Methodist Hospital of Sacramento were so moved by the magnitude of loss that Alma and her husband had suffered, they reached out to Mercy Foundation to seek assistance for the couple. Through the generosity of donors, Mercy Foundation was able to provide a new stroller, car seat, diapers, wipes and clothes through donor contributions, while the nurses on Alma’s floor collected $200 of their own money, a diaper bag and toiletries for the couple.
Representatives from Methodist Hospital of Sacramento present Alma with necessities and brand new baby items gifted by caregivers and Mercy Foundation donors.
When representatives from Mercy Foundation and caregivers from Methodist Hospital of Sacramento presented brand new baby items to help replace what was lost, Alma was brought to tears. By coincidence, the exact stroller and car seat Alma and her husband had purchased for their new baby was gifted as a replacement. The week following her release, Alma was readmitted to the hospital and gave birth to a beautiful, healthy baby boy.
A Lifesaving Gift Connects Two Families When Tom Uhrhammer arrived at Mercy General grown into the Dignity Health Telemedicine Hospital in the middle of the night, he was Program. “God works in a full circle,” Trisha says suffering a life-threatening stroke. The bleeding in with wonder. “The Elliott family, through their gift, his brain was so severe that the pressure it created helped to save Tom’s life.” was causing his brain to shift to one side. He For Roxanne Elliott, who serves as Administrator needed a neurologist for the Harry C. and in hemorrhagic "Later I told her how important and Deborah L. Elliott stroke care—and he meaningful it was for me to hear the Family Foundation, and needed one quickly. as a Mercy Foundation The telemedicine role the robot played in Tom’s care board member, hearing robot provided —we were both moved to tears. It the impact their gift the connection to had was truly a special a specialist within was so touching for both of us." moment. “Later I told minutes. her how important and “I knew my husband was in very critical condition meaningful it was for me to hear the role the robot and needed expert care,” Tom’s wife Trisha says. played in Tom’s care—we were both moved to “Instead of having to wait for a physician to tears. It was so touching for both of us.” show up in person, he got that care immediately. “The Telemedicine Program has been an Through the state of the art technology, medical important project for our foundation and while I expertise was brought to Tom long before any always appreciated the impact it was making in transportation could have done so.” our community, to see it directly touch the life of In a twist of fate, Trisha later would learn of a someone so dear to me was amazing.” connection between her family and that robot—a connection that existed long before Tom would ever need its services… As a teacher at St. Francis High School in Sacramento Trisha had taught a young woman named Roxanne Elliott. Years later, as the principal at Holy Trinity School in El Dorado Hills, she would meet Roxanne again when Roxanne and her husband enrolled their daughter at the school and joined the parish. The twist? Roxanne’s family has long been supporters of Mercy Roxanne Elliott (front center) standing next to the robot "Elliott" at Mercy Hospital of Folsom and Hospital of Folsom, proudly displays the McAuley Society statue awarded in 2008, provided the gift to the Harry C. & Deborah L. Elliott Family Foundation for their generous through Mercy Foundation philanthropic contributions through Mercy Foundation. that began what has
The Sisters of Mercy
M E R C Y F O U N D AT I O N
Sister Maura Power, RSM: Educator and Health Care Pioneer For more than 50 years, Sister Maura Power has served many different communities and touched countless lives throughout Northern California, as an elementary and high school teacher and parish educator. She has also had a great impact on our community through her role in a critical decision that would change the landscape of health care in our region for generations to come.
After graduating high school, Sister Maura came to California in 1954 to join the Sisters of Mercy of Auburn.
Sister Maura grew up in Dublin, Ireland. She was drawn to religious life while in high school and after graduation came to California in 1954 to join the Sisters of Mercy of Auburn. She spent many years teaching in Catholic schools throughout the Diocese of Sacramento. Her teaching also extended into local parishes where she was able to do what she truly felt called to do - teach bible studies. “That is something I really enjoyed,” Sister Maura said. In 1982, Sister Maura began what would be eight years serving as Congregation Leader of the Sisters of Mercy of Auburn. At that time, the Sisters’ health care ministry included five hospitals in Sacramento and Northern California. Looking to the future, the Sisters recognized that health care was changing. “We began conversing with the Sisters of Mercy Burlingame,” Sister Maura remembers. “To explore the possibilities of collaboration.” At that time, Sisters of Mercy Burlingame had five hospitals located in California and Arizona. “By becoming one strong, unified system (ten hospitals) we would be better positioned to serve the people of our respective areas within California and Arizona.” In 1986, this vision was achieved and Catholic Healthcare West (CHW) was established. CHW signified the coming together of the health care ministries of the Sisters of Mercy of Auburn and Burlingame. From the beginning, the mission and values of CHW mirrored what had always been the vision behind the Sisters’ health care ministry: To provide excellent and compassionate care to those in need. Today, under the name Dignity Health, the system continues to thrive and grow. Dignity Health is comprised of more than 60,000 caregivers and staff, serving communities in 20 states. It is one of the nation’s largest health care systems dedicated to providing compassionate, high-quality and affordable patient-centered care. Looking back, Sister Maura is proud of the decision made nearly 30 years ago. “It was not an easy decision and the process at times was quite difficult,” she says. “It was the right direction for hospitals and for the communities they serve, especially given how health care has evolved. We will stay involved in raising the issues and the questions that today’s health care environment presents.” Looking to the future, Sister Maura hopes to continue working in some aspect of Adult Education which she enjoys so much. As for the congregation she joined more than 50 years ago, she recognizes that there is still the call for ministry today. “We will continue to do our best. The Sisters’ of Mercy dedication to prayer and service will always continue.” 4
Sister Nancy McInerney, RSM (left), Sister Anne Chester, RSM (center), and Sister Maura Power, RSM at Mercy General Hospital’s 90th birthday celebration in February.
Partners in Philanthropy
M E R C Y F O U N D AT I O N
Celebrating 90 Years of Service with Mercy General Hospital
Nearly 30 years ago, Sister Maura Power, RSM played a crucial role in unifying the Sisters of Mercy health care ministries into an organization that would eventually become Dignity Health. On February 11th, she witnessed a sampling of the impact of that historical decision when Mercy General Hospital celebrated its 90th birthday. The public reception was held in the Walter C. and Agnes V. Anderson Healing Garden and was followed by a special mass in the chapel. The “birthday” event brought together several generations of people born at the hospital, as well as physicians, employees and supporters. “The celebration was so uplifting,” Sister Maura recalls. “We heard from people who have supported Mercy General through philanthropic giving for over 70 years.” Mercy Foundation joined the celebration to highlight the important role philanthropy has played throughout the history of the hospital and to express gratitude and appreciation to donors. Three very generous donors were honored for their remarkable history of contributions and for their commitment to our health care mission: Agnes Anderson, Thelma Martin and Ritz Naygrow have made gifts and commitments through Mercy Foundation to Mercy General Hospital totaling nearly $5 million!
Faith and Aime Fund In February, the Perinatal Bereavement Team at Mercy San Juan Medical Center provided extraordinary comfort and support to Jessica and Mike Vroman, who lost their twin daughters, Faith and Aime, when they were born too prematurely to survive at 21 weeks gestation. Despite being devastated by their loss, Jessica and Mike were so grateful for the care their family received that they contacted Mercy Foundation and we helped them establish the Faith and Aime Fund. This fund will allow perinatal bereavement program staff to acquire resources necessary to continue to provide comfort, care, and tangible memories to each one of the families they serve. Additional funding will provide Perinatal Bereavement Teams at Mercy San Juan Medical Center and other Sacramento Area Dignity Health Hospitals with training opportunities in this essential specialty.
Leaving a legacy You can create a legacy by making a planned gift through Mercy Foundation to support a Sisters of Mercy ministry or program of most importance to you. Some plans can increase your cash flow, offer valuable income-tax deductions, and reduce or eliminate estate taxes. Your planned gift can help provide health care, education, affordable housing and other vital services for those in need. If you have included Mercy Foundation in your estate plan, please let us know so we can thank you and recognize you with membership in the Mercy Legacy Society. For more information about making a planned gift, or to request a personal gift illustration, please call Kevin Duggan at (916) 8512703. You can also visit the planned giving section of our website at supportmercyfoundation.org. 5
Donations in Action
M E R C Y F O U N D AT I O N
Angelo K. Tsakopoulos Family Donates Nearly 33 Acres Through Mercy Foundation, Dignity Health received a gift of 32.85 acres of vacant land in Lincoln, CA from the Angelo K. and Sofia Tsakopoulos Family, valued at more than $10 million. Over the years, the family has given several gifts of land, including the land on which Mercy Hospital of Folsom is built, donated in partnership with the William C. and Claudia Cummings family. Angelo himself also has a long history with Mercy Foundation, he is now an Emeritus Board member, having spent 35 years as a Mercy Foundation trustee. This charitable land donation adds to the Tsakopoulos familyâ€™s legacy of generously giving to health care priorities supported or sponsored by Mercy Foundation, Dignity Health and the Sisters of Mercy in the Sacramento region. Dignity Health is currently evaluating the Lincoln land for development opportunities to help increase access to health care services for residents in Lincoln and the surrounding communities.
During a luncheon in May, members of the Tsakopoulos family were honored and thanked by Mercy Foundation and Dignity Health leadership, and the Sisters of Mercy, for their generous donation of land located in Lincoln, CA.
Make a difference today To learn more about the many ways you can support the projects highlighted in this newsletter, as well as the other projects and programs, please call Mercy Foundation at (916) 851-2700 or visit supportmercyfoundation.org 6
Partners in Philanthropy
M E R C Y F O U N D AT I O N
Philanthropy in Action: Donors Provide Much Needed Support to Cancer Patients Thanks to the generosity of Mercy Foundation donors who direct their gifts to the Area of Greatest Need, Mercy Foundation was able to fund an Oncology Transportation Grant through the Mercy Ministries Grant Program. Awarded in May of last year, the grant provides aid to Dignity Health patients undergoing cancer treatment and who are in need of transportation assistance, either due to limited income or lack of familial support. In the first ten months, the grant provided assistance to 354 patients. That number represents more than just a statistic: It represents 354 individuals facing the challenges of cancer and requiring help with the most ordinary task— simply getting to the treatments they so desperately need.
to take the patient to doctor’s appointments so far away, the patient made the decision to go against the doctor’s advice and simply not get treatment.
simply too much. “I have one patient who lives quite a distance away and was taking three buses each-way to get to appointments, chemotherapy and to do lab work” says Nurse Navigator Marie Froelich, RN, “Eventually the process of changing buses and waiting at bus stops became too much. We were then able to establish Paratransit rides. My patient was so appreciative. We couldn’t have done that without the grant!”
Nurse Navigator Jennifer Thietz, RN, persuaded the patient to try utilizing public transportation and offered a bus pass provided by the Oncology Transportation Grant. “On the patient’s very first day of riding the bus, by coincidence, another person was also traveling for a similar The Oncology Transportation Grant treatment,” Jennifer recounts. “They provides a stark reminder that while both connected and became friends. the latest technology and medical They also looked forward to meeting advances can save lives, it is all with one another during bus rides for naught if a patient is unable to and supported each other through overcome the simple hurdle of getting their entire treatments. Thanks to the to their appointments. Thanks to the transportation grant, not only was generosity of many Mercy Foundation the patient able to start and finish donors, this obstacle has been Through this grant, Mercy Cancer the entire treatment, but also found removed for hundreds of patients, Institute of Greater Sacramento nurse someone who could understand their allowing them to focus their energy navigators are connecting patients journey with cancer. Without help on their health and healing. with necessary transportation from the grant, services, enabling them to receive I don’t think the vital care. The transportation patient would assistance is provided in the form of have been able gas cards, bus passes, and sometimes, to complete all vouchers for taxi services. their treatments. It changed this To understand the impact a simple patient’s entire bus pass can provide, you need only experience.” know the story of an elderly patient diagnosed with cancer, living alone For other patients, in a nearby county. When the patient the transportation received a cancer diagnosis, this was grant provides Mercy nurse navigators like Ann Chrisler (left) and understandably upsetting. However, support when Rachel McConachie (right) provide compassionate much of the patient’s concern came their illness care to help guide patients through their journey not from the diagnosis itself, but from leaves them weak with cancer. This often includes assisting patients in the anxiety of trying to figure out and the usual securing transportation to and from appointments the logistics of receiving treatment. transportation so they may receive the vital care they need. Without a family member or friend hurdles become 7
Non Profit US Postage Paid Sacramento, CA Permit #296 3400 Data Drive Rancho Cordova, CA 95670 SupportMercyFoundation.org
2014â€“15 Mercy Foundation Board of Trustees Officers
Mark Read Chair
Jose Abad, MD Gene Bassett Brenda W. Davis Costanzo DiPerna, MD Roxanne Elliott Sr. Eileen Enright, RSM Michael T. Genovese Laurie Harting Brian Ivie Garry P. Maisel Janak Mehtani, MD Careyann Morris Tim Rogers Inder Singh, MD John Stevenson, MD Merrily Wong William W. Yee
Linda Van Rees Vice Chair Terry Street Secretary Alan Shatzel, DO Treasurer Sr. Katherine Doyle, RSM Sisters of Mercy West Midwest President Designee Kevin B. Duggan Mercy Foundation President and CEO
Questions or comments about this newsletter? We welcome your feedback. Contact us at MercyFoundationSac@dignityhealth.org or (916) 851â€“2700 to share your comments or sign up for an electronic version of Horizons.
A New Truck for Sacramento Loaves & Fishes
When Steve Beneto recently learned of the vital need for a new refrigeration truck for Sacramento Loaves & Fishes, he arranged to have one delivered. The new truck was generously funded in partnership by the Beneto Foundation and the George and Lena Valente Foundation. Thanks to this act of kindness, the new truck is in service, enabling the staff to continue to provide 800-1000 hot meals each day to homeless guests in a welcoming environment of hospitality, safety and cleanliness.