Christ United Methodist Church Raises Funds for Patient Hardship

Posted by: admin Tags: There is no tags | Categories: Our News


Easton Masterson and his mom Caitlin Masterson contribute to the collection for the Patient Hardship Fund. Photo courtesy Christ United Methodist Church.

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 or contact Theresa Edder, Executive Director by calling 814-676-7145 or emailing

Cooling Caps Bring Comfort to Chemotherapy Patients at UPMC Northwest

Posted by: admin Tags: There is no tags | Categories: Our News


The Amma™ by Cooler Heads is a portable, FDA-cleared, patient-administered cooling cap. Photo courtesy Cooler Heads.

One of the greatest stressors for cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy is the side effect of hair loss. A new therapy available at UPMC Northwest aims to alleviate some of this anxiety by protecting hair from the effects of chemo.

Amma™ by Cooler Heads is a portable, FDA-cleared, patient-administered cooling cap which lowers scalp temperature to 65 degrees before, during, and after chemotherapy. Cooling reduces blood flow to hair follicles and minimizes the amount of chemo drugs reaching hair roots, helping preserve hair and decrease the severity of hair loss.

Amma™ cooling caps also help regulate overall body temperature and prevent overheating. Patients who use cooling caps report feeling more relaxed and less anxious during treatments. Because the caps are designed to be lightweight, patients can wear them comfortably for extended periods.

Shannon Penland, MD, specializes in oncology, hospice, and palliative medicine at UPMC Northwest. She emphasizes the psychological and emotional benefits of patients retaining their hair. “This equipment empowers patients by giving them some control over their circumstances. Preventing hair loss can help people in treatment maintain their sense of self during a difficult time in their lives,” said Dr. Penland. “We make sure all patients in our cancer center are aware this therapy is available to them.”

UPMC Hillman Cancer Center at UPMC Northwest is proud to be the only cancer center in Northwestern Pennsylvania currently offering cooling cap therapy. “This is a game-changer for patient-centered care at UPMC Northwest,” said Dr. Penland.

The cooling caps were made possible by the Northwest Hospital Foundation. To learn more, contact the Northwest Hospital Foundation at (814) 676-7145 or

RGHS Health Club Raises Funds for Patient Hardship

Posted by: admin Tags: There is no tags | Categories: Our News


Karen Baldwin, CEO Franklin-Oil Region Credit Union, Kelly Hart, Principal of Rocky Grove High School, Leann Highfield, teacher and Health Club advisor, Juliet Hilburn, Annual Giving Officer of Northwest Hospital Foundation, and Theresa Edder, Executive Director of Northwest Hospital Foundation, and students of the RGHS Oriole Health Club meet outside Rocky Grove High School.

The Rocky Grove High School Oriole Health Club and Franklin-Oil Region Credit Union raised $200 to benefit the Patient Hardship Fund of the Northwest Hospital Foundation. The RGHS Health Club hosted a Community Night Fundraiser at Hoss’s Restaurant in Seneca on April 28. The students raised $100 which was matched by Franklin-Oil Region Credit Union.

The Patient Hardship Fund is an emergency fund for patients at UPMC Northwest who are uninsured or under-insured, and without the means to pay for minor expenses related to their care. It is available to assist patients in obtaining prescriptions, durable medical equipment, supplies, or services they cannot financially afford.

For more information about the Patient Hardship Fund, please visit or contact Theresa Edder, Executive Director by calling 814-676-7145 or emailing

Gift from Local Clubs Helps Kids Prepare for Surgery

Posted by: admin Tags: There is no tags | Categories: Our News


Pictured left to right are Fryburg Sportsman’s Club members Tom Nale and Jerry Hooper, UPMC Northwest Director of Surgical Services Patricia Boland, Clarion Rod & Gun Club member Phyllis Agnello, and Northwest Hospital Foundation Executive Director Theresa Edder.

Thanks to a donation from two local clubs, children at UPMC Northwest are receiving a comfortable and personalized experience in the operating room.

The Fryburg Sportsman’s Club and Clarion Rod & Gun Club donated $1,000 to the Northwest Hospital Foundation for the purchase of stuffed animals for children in surgery.

Stuffed animals help kids overcome some of the anxiety that goes along with surgery and enables them to learn about their operations in a fun way. “A stuffed animal greets each child upon arrival and is used to demonstrate what will happen during the operation by the surgical team. The child gets to keep the stuffed animal throughout the procedure and take it home after discharge,” said UPMC Northwest Director of Surgical Services Patricia Boland.

“It’s easy for children to feel overwhelmed or nervous about going to surgery. These fluffy friends offer the children a comforting sense of security, fostering emotional growth and resilience.”

The Northwest Hospital Foundation is seeking additional support to continue the program. For more information, please visit or contact Theresa Edder, Executive Director by calling 814-676-7145 or emailing

Hospital Foundation Purchases Ambulance Lift

Posted by: admin Tags: There is no tags | Categories: Our News


John Anderson (Executive Director, Community Ambulance Service), Tim Fletcher (Director of Operations, Community Ambulance Service), Jeff Hollidge (Operations Supervisor, Community Ambulance Service), Benjamin Hart (EMS Specialist, UPMC Northwest), and Theresa Edder (Executive Director, Northwest Hospital Foundation) with the Stryker MTS Power Cot-Load.

A new piece of hydraulic lifting equipment will make it easier and safer for our area’s first responders to transport larger patients to and from UPMC Northwest.

Recently the Northwest Hospital Foundation donated a Stryker MTS Power Cot-Load lifting assist device that was installed in a Community Ambulance Service ambulance. With the push of a button, the device lifts the patient into and out of the ambulance on the stretcher, with no lifting and little assistance required. The Power Cot-Load is used to lift patients weighing up to 700 pounds.

Community Ambulance Service is the primary EMS transport in Venango County. They serve a population of around 50,000 people and deliver approximately 80% of prehospital patients to UPMC Northwest. With an increasing average weight of patients and an aging EMS workforce, lift-related injuries are on the rise. The most effective way to keep patients and EMS workers safe is to reduce lifting as much as possible.

The lifting device not only reduces the risk of stretcher injuries, it also ensures larger patients are transported comfortably to and from Northwest. Previously, UPMC Northwest and Community Ambulance Service did not have the ability to quickly transport heavier patients without outside assistance. The new equipment creates better experiences for these patients and improves their ability to seek medical care.

John Anderson, Executive Director of Community Ambulance Service, said, “We would like to thank the Northwest Hospital Foundation for this equipment. It is a great asset to our EMS workers to use in the field to safely move patients to, from, and between UPMC Northwest and other facilities.”

The Northwest Hospital Foundation thoughtfully enhances the health care of our community by making financial resources available to UPMC Northwest in its mission to deliver high-quality services to the residents of the region. For information, visit or contact Theresa Edder, Executive Director by calling (814) 676-7145 or emailing


Juliet Hilburn joined the Northwest Hospital Foundation in January 2023 as the Annual Giving Officer and is responsible for coordinating annual giving programs within the Northwest Hospital Foundation, as well as all direct mail appeals, email, and social media development programs. She also assists in supporting donor relations and outreach efforts relating to fundraising.

Juliet comes to the Northwest Hospital Foundation from Allegheny Realty Settlement, an affiliate of Shafer Law Firm, where she served as a Licensed Title Agent and Communications Coordinator in the firm’s Titusville office. She previously served as a Student Success Specialist for the Northern Pennsylvania Regional College and Analyst-Educator for the Oil Region Alliance of Business, Industry & Tourism. Juliet holds an M.S. in Strategic Communications from Arkansas State University and a B.A. in History from Mercyhurst University. She resides in her hometown of Titusville, PA with her family. She volunteers as a board member with Titusville Renaissance, Inc. and is a member of FLEX Young Professionals.

She can be reached at or (814)676-7920.

Christmas Magic is in the Air at UPMC Northwest

Posted by: admin Tags: There is no tags | Categories: Our News


The holiday season is going to be just a little bit brighter this year — perhaps a lot brighter, actually — at UPMC Northwest, thanks to the glow of 24 donated red and green LED Christmas trees.

Each tree is placed in a special location for optimum viewing to help brighten Christmas for patients, staff, and visitors. Beginning in 2020, the first trees appeared –  a gift from a local couple who wishes to remain anonymous. Each year since, the couple has donated additional trees.

“These spectacular trees are beautiful and are greatly appreciated by our patients, visitors, and staff.  I have heard from staff and patients that the presence of the trees are providing them with peace and comfort during the holiday season.  On behalf of the employees and medical staff of UPMC Northwest, I would like to thank the Northwest Hospital Foundation and the donors who have made our campus so festive and special.”

 – Brian Durniok, President, UPMC Northwest

A drone video on the Northwest Hospital Foundation website proves Christmas magic is in the air. The brilliance of the 20-foot-tall trees, each topped with a blazing star, is captured in the short video.

To learn about giving opportunities, contact Theresa Edder, Northwest Hospital Foundation Executive Director.

Northwest Hospital Foundation Renovates Hospital Courtyard

Posted by: admin Tags: There is no tags | Categories: Our News


The waiting room, by the very virtue of the name, has a negative connotation for many of us.  At UPMC Northwest, the courtyard is an alternative, offering a functional design with space for privacy and exposure to the outdoors.

For the healthcare professional feeling burned-out, and outdoor break can help mitigate emotional exhaustion and increase positive health benefits.

For 20 years, the courtyard area just off the cafeteria at UPMC Northwest has been an outdoor escape for visitors and healthcare professionals.   With lead gifts from the Dr. and Mrs. Arthur William Phillips Charitable Trust, the Elisabeth S. Black Charitable Trust, and the UPMC Health Plan, the renovated courtyard officially opened on July 28.

“There are so many new features in the courtyard. Everywhere you look, there is something special,” said Theresa Edder, executive director of the Northwest Hospital Foundation.

“Important to the healing process, the gentle sounds of waterfalls and outdoor lights create a welcoming environment during the warmer months,” Edder said. “Patients, visitors, and staff alike enjoy this area to grab lunch, reflect, read, visit, or just enjoy a little quiet time,” she said.   With new lighting and additional seating, the space is open around the clock for everyone to enjoy.

Twenty years of overgrown trees and landscaping coupled with deteriorating walkways and a leaking pond were the driving force behind the renovation.

“Without a doubt, this project has generated the most positive feedback from staff and visitors of any project throughout my tenure at UPMC Northwest.  At a time when staff were physically and mentally fatigued from the challenges of the pandemic, this beautiful space has provided comfort and peace to all that use it.  We truly appreciate this wonderful gift to our organization.” – Brian Durniok, President UPMC Northwest

Dick and Tish Way of Franklin donated the original courtyard setting, located just outside the hospital cafeteria. The original plaque from the Ways in the new courtyard reminds those who enter:

“In honor of the hospital staff and administration, and for the enjoyment of all who enter.  It is our hope that you will find peace in your day here in this garden.”

In 2002, Dick Way submitted the plans for the courtyard that, with his company GrowWay Inc., he completed with a pond, waterfall, and landscaping.

Kathy Way recalls how her father designed every area of the original courtyard, from the waterfall to the small pond and the surrounding flower beds.

“My dad had a giving heart, and so did my mom. My mom was a retired nurse. They just cared. They wanted to give back to the community, to the new facility, and to the people that took care of others. They gave with their heart, their time, and just shared with others,” Kathy Way said.

As long as he was able, Dick Way continued to check on the courtyard to ensure the plants were watered and cared for. Tish Way died in 2021.

The space might look different now, but the purpose remains the same.

See time-lapse video of courtyard construction at



UPMC Northwest patient Gloria Hoover, of Franklin, receives flowers from Theresa Edder, executive director of the Northwest Hospital Foundation on Easter Sunday.  Hoover was one of many patients to whom the Foundation delivered flowers to help make their holiday brighter.  The Foundation works to secure and allocate resources for funding projects exclusively in support of UPMC Northwest.


The Northwest Hospital Foundation and the United Way of Venango County have partnered to ensure all babies born at UPMC Northwest have the opportunity to register for Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library if they live in Venango, Clarion, and Forest counties. Every baby will receive Dolly Parton’s first Imagination Library book, The Little Engine That Could.

Babies and children who are enrolled in the Imagination Library program from eligible counties receive one new book in the mail each month from birth until their fifth birthday.  The program helps families create a personal library of up to 60 books at no cost to them, with a goal of establishing a child’s early reading experience and habits.

The first family to receive the book and be registered at UPMC Northwest was baby Joyce, daughter of Devon Johnson and Rachel Wagonseller of Cooperstown, Venango County.  She was the first baby born at UPMC Northwest in 2022 at 2:35am on New Year’s Day.

Nurses in the Family Birthing Center at UPMC Northwest educate parents of eligible children about the program and assist with the brief registration form.  Approximately 600 babies are born annually at Northwest.

Books are selected by a national panel of early childhood literacy experts who review hundreds of children’s books each year and choose those that best fit the needs of children as they learn and grow.

“This kind of partnership, especially now, is much needed to be able to continue offering this program in Venango County. United Way is committed to helping children in our community to be successful in school and life. This program guarantees access to books and inspires parents to read to their children. As little as fifteen minutes a day has a giant impact on a child,” said Will Price, Executive Director, United Way of Venango County.