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.
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.”
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.
“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.”
Christ United Methodist Church in Franklin held a mission collection during its Vacation Bible School to raise funds for patient hardship needs at UPMC Northwest. Seventy children ages four years through sixth grade participated in the church’s Vacation Bible School held June 19 to 23. As part of this year’s program themed “Stellar, Shine Jesus Shine,” the children joined with the church’s adult congregation to raise money for the Patient Hardship Fund at the Northwest Hospital Foundation.
Each day of Bible School, the children brought in their donations and deposited them into a doctor’s bag. The adults took up a collection during their regular church services. In all, $2,218 was raised to assist uninsured and underinsured patients at UPMC Northwest with paying for expenses related to their care, including prescriptions, clothing, transportation, and durable medical equipment.
“What better way to shine Jesus’s light than to give back to those in need at our local hospital?” said Amy Smith, Director of Children’s Ministries at Christ United Methodist Church. “The kids were so excited to go up and place their donations in a real leather doctor’s bag. Every night they said, ‘Can we take our money up to the bag?’ They understood they were helping sick people get better.”
Theresa Edder, Executive Director of the Northwest Hospital Foundation, said, “We are so touched by the wonderful efforts of the youth and adults of the Christ United Methodist Church. This gift will allow us to alleviate some of the financial burden for many who turn to UPMC Northwest for care, turning their focus toward what truly matters – healing and recovery.”
For more information about the Northwest Hospital Foundation, please visit NorthwestHospitalFoundation.org or contact Theresa Edder, Executive Director by calling 814-676-7145 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.