Light Up Night Kick-Off at UPMC Northwest

Oil City Area High School Choir performs in the UPMC Northwest lobby

The Northwest Hospital Foundation held a Light Up Night Kick-Off event on Wednesday, November 29 in the hospital lobby to celebrate the lighting of the campus. With assistance from Barrow-Civic Theatre director Zachary Covington, choirs from Rocky Grove, Oil City, Franklin, and Cranberry High Schools performed carols in the hospital lobby for patients, visitors, and staff who were treated to free hot cocoa and cookies.

The main lobby Doves of Peace and Cardinals of Caring tree was lit for the first time, and visitors could view the decorations sponsored by local individuals and businesses in memory or honor of loved ones.

The Rocky Grove choir also performed for patients receiving treatment in the Cancer Center.

For more information about the Northwest Hospital Foundation, please visit or contact Theresa Edder, Executive Director by calling 814-676-7145 or emailing

Small Business Supports Local Cancer Patients


















Through her small business Jewelry For A Cause, Brenda Montana raises funds for local causes near and dear to her heart. This October, Brenda held a special Facebook live show of Papparazi Jewelry for Breast Cancer Awareness Month. From this sale, she donated $100 to the UPMC Hillman Cancer Center at UPMC Northwest to help local patients battling cancer. She is passionate about supporting cancer patients because she lost her mother to the disease and watched her sister-in-law go through treatment. Brenda, a resident of Leeper, started Jewelry For A Cause three years ago to help others in her community. Her donation to the Cancer Center will go a long way to helping patients in their recovery. Thank you, Brenda!

If you would like to host a fundraiser on behalf of the Northwest Hospital Foundation, please contact Executive Director Theresa Edder at or call 814-676-7145.

Pumpkins for Patients Winner

The winner of the Pumpkins for Patients contest is the SpongeBob pumpkin painted by Serria Amis and Anna Bish. Serria and Anna are both students of the UPMC Northwest School of Radiology. After graduation next year, Serria plans to continue her education into radiation therapy and medical dosimetry. Anna looks forward to becoming an x-ray tech after graduating in 2025. They each received $25 VISA gift cards courtesy of Franklin-Oil Region Credit Union. Congratulations to Serria and Anna and thank you to all the radiology students who painted pumpkins!

Because over 400 votes were cast during the contest, Franklin-Oil Region Credit Union has donated $250 to our Holiday Presents for Patients program which provides small gifts for patients at UPMC Northwest. Thank you, Franklin-Oil Region Credit Union and everyone who voted!

Pink Pumpkins for UPMC Hillman Cancer Center at UPMC Northwest

Megan Miller, Practice Manager of the UPMC Hillman Cancer Center at UPMC Northwest; Dr. Shannon Penland, MD, Hematology Oncology and Medical Oncology at UPMC Northwest; Tanya Bain, Sales Manager of Seven Mountains Media Franklin office; and Theresa Edder, Executive Director of the Northwest Hospital Foundation

Seven Mountains Media and Northwest Hospital Foundation joined together for Breast Cancer Awareness Month to raise funds for the UPMC Hillman Cancer Center at UPMC Northwest. With the help of several local businesses, nearly $900 was raised to support those locally battling cancer.

Throughout the month of October, participating businesses displayed pink pumpkins which they encouraged their customers to sign. Customers were also able to make a monetary donation to help meet patient needs.

Participating businesses included Anderson Furniture, Career Concepts, Polk Main Street Market, Oil City Warehouse Mall, All Seasons Temporaries, The Dive Bar Hydration and Wellness Lounge, Marsh Home Center, and Shambaugh Towing.

For more information about the Northwest Hospital Foundation, please contact Theresa Edder, Executive Director by calling 814-676-7145 or emailing

Pumpkins for Patients with Franklin-Oil Region Credit Union

Emily Seyler, Franklin Oil Region Credit Union and Bethany Ochs, Clinical Coordinator of UPMC Northwest School of Radiology with the juniors and seniors of the UPMC Northwest School of Radiology

Franklin-Oil Region Credit Union and the Northwest Hospital Foundation are teaming up to raise funds this October. Between now and 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday, October 31, vote for your favorite pumpkin painted by the students of the UPMC Northwest School of Radiology.

Votes can be made in person at Franklin-Oil Region Credit Union in Oil City or online on the Northwest Hospital Foundation’s Facebook and Instagram pages. In-person votes are limited to once per day per individual, and online votes are limited to once per account.

For every vote cast, Franklin-Oil Region Credit Union will donate $1 to the Presents for Patients program up to $250. Presents for Patients provides small gifts for inpatients at UPMC Northwest during holidays. The students with the winning pumpkin will each receive a $25 gift card courtesy of Franklin-Oil Region Credit Union.

Northwest Hospital Foundation Highlights Technology Advancements at Annual Corporation Meeting

Dr. Ibrahim Bawab presenting at the Annual Corporation Meeting

90 members of the Northwest Hospital Foundation Corporation and UPMC Northwest representatives gathered for the Foundation’s annual meeting on Wednesday, October 11, at Wanango Country Club, where they discussed Foundation activities over the last year and were introduced to several new UPMC Northwest initiatives.  Board chair Joseph Keebler, Esq., welcomed 6 new members from surrounding communities to the corporation:  Matthew Bloom, Michelle Goodwill, Laura Ordaz, John Phillips, Alexander Spaid, and Natalie Toscano.

An important benchmark was reached when the Foundation board participated 100 percent as donors for the ninth consecutive year, personally demonstrating their commitment to the organization’s mission.  Noted was their collective vision for a healthier community where everyone has access to top-notch healthcare services.  Mr. Keebler stated, “We know that when we all pitch in, when every one of us contributes, we can achieve incredible things.”

Philanthropic support was highlighted by Otolaryngologist/head and neck surgeon Dr. Ibrahim Bawab who spoke about the purchase of new surgical equipment by the Foundation totaling nearly $250,000.  Key additions included an ENT Storz Endoscope, HAVAS Laryngoscopy, Medtronic StealthStation Navigation System, and PTeye Parathyroid Detection System.

Dr. Bawab, whose office is located at Home Depot Drive in Seneca, offers expertise in the treatment of diseases and conditions affecting the ears, nose, and throat, as well as surgery and reconstruction of the face, neck, and jaw.  Dr. Bawab credits Foundation support as “having made a great positive impact on patient care by helping make UPMC Northwest a beacon of superior care in the region.”

Hospital President, Brian Durniok, emphasized the importance of the partnership between the Foundation and UPMC Northwest in providing advanced care in Venango County.  “The hospital’s goal remains to provide high-quality care with state-of-the-art equipment,” Durniok said.

Mr. Durniok reported UPMC Northwest’s annual economic impact to the region is $211 million.

He also shared that UPMC Northwest is a critical partner in serving patients with SUD (substance use disorders). Continued efforts in Venango County have significantly decreased the instances of newborns impacted by substance exposure during pregnancy.  Efforts provide for early intervention with at-risk mothers.

There were several capital equipment/construction projects for fiscal year 2023 including many projects to maintain safety and improve facilities for staff and patients.  Some of these include:  Upgrades to the HUGS security system in the Family Birthing Center; upgrades to the OR surgical lighting and painting and room repairs; and installation of patient lifts in several rooms in each department.

The U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) has given UPMC Northwest in Seneca four stars out of five in its annual comparison of the nation’s hospitals.  The star rating reflects comprehensive quality information about the care provided at our nation’s hospitals based on 64 quality measures.

Five physicians recently joined the medical staff, said Durniok, including:  Morgan Gallo, DPM, podiatrist; Kristin Romutis, MD, obstetrics & gynecology; Emily Carbaugh, MD, obstetrics & gynecology; Bethann Hamm, DO, family medicine; and Paul Hamm, DO, family medicine.

A review of the Northwest Hospital Foundation’s financial report was presented by McGill Power, Bell and Associates, LLP who declared a clean opinion of the Foundation audit for fiscal year ended June 30, 2022, with work currently under way on the 2023 audit.

Mr. Keebler concluded the meeting by sharing with the Corporation membership, that “We are fortunate to have a hospital in Venango County proving care of this caliber which attracts patients from surrounding communities, and that is worthy of our support.”

For more information about the Northwest Hospital Foundation, please visit or contact Theresa Edder, Executive Director by calling 814-676-7145 or emailing

Nursing Scholarships Awarded














Two UPMC Northwest employees were recently awarded Cenedella Nursing Scholarships.

Christopher Frye, a Patient Care Technician in the Emergency Department, is pursuing an Associate of Science in Nursing from Pennsylvania Western University-Clarion Venango. He anticipates graduating in May 2024 and taking the NCLEX examination to become a Registered Nurse.

Catherine Dinger, a Certified Nursing Assistant in the Transitional Care Unit, is currently enrolled in the Practical Nursing Program at Venango Technology Center. After completing the program and becoming a Licensed Practical Nurse, she plans to continue her education to become a Registered Nurse.

The Stephen C. and Marie F. Cenedella Nursing Scholarship was established to offset the cost of education intended to advance the recipient’s skills or qualifications as a members of the Hospital’s nursing staff.

If you would like to contribute to the Cenedella Nursing Scholarship Fund, please visit or contact Theresa Edder, Executive Director by calling 814-676-7145 or emailing

Mural Installed in Cancer Center at UPMC Northwest

A mural funded by the Northwest Hospital Foundation was recently installed in the waiting room of the UPMC Hillman Cancer Center at UPMC Northwest. Painted by local artist Deac Mong, the wall-size oil on canvas mural features the beauty of Venango County and gives peace and hope to patients and visitors. Animals and inspirational words are hidden among the details to make it even more interactive and engaging. Cancer Center staff celebrated the installation by posing with the new mural.

Pictured, back row from left: Robin Reisinger, Julie Snow, Kayla Swartz, Jodi Woods, Christie Whitling, Taylor Keverline, Sis McGrady. Front from left: Kali Barnes, Tamaria Flinspach, Janie Vlassich, Michele Lander, Dr. Shannon Penland, Megan Miller.

Marge Hajduk Gives to Remember

Mary “Marge” Hajduk is grateful for many things. Her four children and four grandchildren, her Oil City home, and two decades as principal of St. Stephens School immediately come to mind, as do the fifty years of marriage she shared with Michael J. Hajduk, DMD.

Photo courtesy Marge Hajduk

Marge and Mike met as juniors in high school, attended college in Erie, and married in 1969 at St. Joseph Church. After both graduating with advanced degrees from the University of Pittsburgh, Marge’s in education and Mike’s in dentistry, they returned to Oil City to establish Dr. Hajduk’s dental practice and start their family. When the kids entered high school, Marge left being a stay-at-home mom to become an assistant in the dental practice. She returned to teaching in 1993 at St. Stephens. In 1996, she became the principal, a position she held for twenty-three years.

The Hajduks shared a passion for supporting local healthcare. They were both members of the Corporation Board of the Northwest Hospital Foundation, and Dr. Hajduk was a member of the Foundation’s Board of Directors for several terms. Through their involvement, they learned of the many ways the Foundation assists in meeting technology, education, patient hardship, and quality-of-life needs at UPMC Northwest.

The importance of a local hospital hit home when Dr. Hajduk was diagnosed with Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia, cancer of the blood and bone marrow. For thirteen years, Dr. Hajduk and Marge were frequent visitors of UPMC hospitals in Seneca and Pittsburgh. At UPMC Northwest, they saw firsthand how the staff training and equipment provided by the Foundation benefits patients here in Venango County. They were grateful to have access to quality, compassionate cancer treatment right in their community.

Dr. Hajduk passed away in 2019 after over forty years of practicing dentistry in Oil City. Marge carries on his legacy of supporting local healthcare by donating to the Northwest Hospital Foundation in his memory. She knows her gifts will directly benefit others seeking hope and healing at UPMC Northwest.

“We are so fortunate to have a hospital like UPMC Northwest here,” said Marge. “When people help each other, it improves the quality of life in our area. No gift is too large or too small when you are helping others.”

Woods & River Coffee Serves a Cup of Caring

Photo courtesy Woods & River Coffee

Erin Wanninger and Marcy Hall know what it means to run a coffee shop in a small town. They also know what it means for a small-town coffee shop to give back.

Woods & River Coffee is a trail-friendly coffee shop offering locally-sourced coffee, tea, and food in downtown Oil City. In the first year of its operation, the café has become a community staple, providing a space for people to connect and socialize while bringing outdoor recreation and tourism to the area.

With Woods & River being just a few minutes down the road from UPMC Northwest, owners Erin and Marcy are accustomed to filling orders for healthcare workers and patients. When the pair learned of the Northwest Hospital Foundation’s work in improving healthcare and patient access at UPMC Northwest, they knew they had to get involved.

Photo courtesy Marcy Hall

“The hospital saves so many lives here. Anything we can do to support the patients and staff we will do,” Erin said.

During National Hospital Week, May 7 to 13, Woods & River Coffee partnered with the Foundation to host a “Coffee for a Cause” fundraiser. Customers who ordered a drink from the café during the week and mentioned Northwest Hospital Foundation had 20% of their purchase donated.

Erin and Marcy were passionate about holding the fundraiser because they strongly believe in equal access to medical care. “No one should go without healthcare because they can’t afford it or it’s too far away,” Marcy said. “We are fortunate enough to have the resources to help. We knew the money raised would directly impact our friends, neighbors, and customers who need care.”

“The coffee shop is the spark in any community because it’s one of the only businesses people visit every day,” Erin added. “As that spark, we are the perfect place to bring awareness of local needs and the organizations working hard to meet them.”

Erin and Marcy believe the future is bright for both Woods & River Coffee and the region. “Health and growth go hand-in-hand,” they said. “We will continue supporting the Northwest Hospital Foundation because we want to see our community grow and thrive.”

Archives by Month:

Archives by Subject:

Archives by Year:

  • 2024
  • 2023
  • 2022
  • 2021
  • 2020
  • 2019
  • 2018
  • 2017
  • 2016
  • 2015