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Rather than simply accepting well-deserved praise during National Nurses Week, the outstanding nursing staff at Western Reserve Hospital chose to do something truly praiseworthy: They raised $875 for both Richardson Elementary School and Falls Cancer Club.

During National Nurses Week, an annual celebration of nurses that takes place from May 6 -12, the nurses at Western Reserve Hospital created and raffled off giant gift baskets to raise money for the community.

The fundraiser began as a friendly competition between the inpatient and outpatient nurses, who were tasked with creating an inpatient “indoor activity” basket, which included pampering spa items, and an outpatient “outdoor activity” basket.

But the generosity of the nurses and physicians resulted in the creation of four different gift baskets, with two gift bags each that contained $50 worth of gift cards. The baskets were raffled for a week outside of the hospital cafeteria.

The raffle raised enough money to donate $875 to both the Falls Cancer Club and Richardson Elementary School. Richardson Elementary will use the money to build an educational Teaching Garden, where students can learn about agriculture and biology.

Falls Cancer Club, an independent group of volunteers that helps provide financial and lifestyle assistance to Cuyahoga Falls cancer patients, will use the donation to help finance physician, treatment and pharmacy costs for residents battling cancer.

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In a widespread collaboration, the Cuyahoga Falls community has come together to launch “Not Me, I’m Drug Free,” an anti-drug campaign that unites the Mayor’s office, Cuyahoga Falls and Woodridge school districts, police department, fire department, community businesses and Western Reserve Hospital in an unprecedented effort to curb drug abuse — especially meth and heroin — in Cuyahoga Falls.

The “Not Me, I’m Drug Free” campaign is designed to educate Cuyahoga Falls area elementary school students about the dangers of using meth and heroin by connecting with them using Facebook, yard signs, posters, T-shirts, incentive cards and much more.

“Drug abuse is a growing problem in Cuyahoga Falls, and we must be proactive as a community to address and minimize this life-destroying problem,” said Mayor Don Walters. “The unique collaboration between my office, the police department, fire department, school district, hospital and local businesses will allow us to provide a consistent, pervasive message throughout Cuyahoga Falls: We are drug free.”

“The effects of these hard drugs are catastrophic to a person’s health and mental well-being,” said Dr. Robert Kent, President and CEO of Western Reserve Hospital. “Western Reserve Hospital has initiated a number of effective programs that seek to improve the overall health of the community, and these bold strides toward reducing drug use will play a huge role in helping us achieve that goal.”

The initiative was launched on May 28, 2014 at an event held at DeWitt Elementary School, where Mayor Walters, Dr. Kent, Police Chief Jack Davis, Fire Chief Paul Moledor, Cuyahoga Falls City Schools Superintendent Dr. Todd Nichols and Woodridge Schools Superintendent Walter Davis all spoke to the students, parents and community.

“It is vital to educate students about the extreme dangers of drug use as early as possible so they’re equipped with the knowledge to say no if they’re ever offered drugs,” said Nichols.

“We cannot stress this message enough, and I’m so proud of the many people and organizations in Cuyahoga Falls who are seamlessly working together for the safety of our children and the collective good of our community,” said Woodridge Superintendent Davis.

Students and families who abstain from drugs can take advantage of the ‘Free’-wards incentive card, which offers valuable perks on food and family activities in and around Cuyahoga Falls.

Some of these perks include a free set of ear buds at Western Reserve Hospital, free admission to Water Works Family Aquatic Center, free rentals at Family Video, free food and desserts at many area restaurants and much more. Additionally, Bob Earley’s Rockin’ on the River, a free concert series held every Friday night throughout the summer in downtown Cuyahoga Falls, will be featuring the “Not Me, I’m Drug Free” campaign on its jumbo stage screens and promotional materials will be handed out at every event.

To learn more about the “Not Me, I’m Drug Free” anti-drug campaign, or to learn more about the devastating effects of heroin and meth abuse, visit and like the Facebook page at

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Western Reserve Hospital is currently seeking ambitious volunteers to assist with Transport and Ambassador responsibilities within the hospital.

Those interested in volunteering for the position of Transporter would assist hospital departments by transporting materials, patients, visitors, mail and other items as assigned around the hospital. Additional duties may be assigned and include clerical assistance and providing guest relations and assistance at hospital events.

Ambassador positions are also available. In this capacity, the volunteer would serve primarily as a greeter to escort patients and/or guests to their destinations. Some phone usage may be required in this role. Ambassadors may also be called upon to push guests in wheelchair when ushering them to their appointments or destinations.

Positions are limited and all day/time availability of applicants will be considered.

For more information or to request an application, please contact Julia Drinkard, Benefits & Volunteer Administrator, Western Reserve Hospital – (330) 971.7091,

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Seventeen-year-old Abbey Calderone loves to sing and dance. So, when she was diagnosed with Osteosarcoma, or bone cancer, in her leg two years ago, it was a difficult diagnosis.

Abbey shared her story at a Western Reserve Hospital luncheon on Tuesday afternoon. During a dance class in 2012, Abbey’s knee looked swollen and started to hurt. The next day, she received the life-changing diagnosis.

Soon, she became involved with Make-A-Wish, a non-profit organization that grants the wish of a child diagnosed with a life-threatening medical condition. Abbey’s wish: to sing in front of the judges of a popular reality competition TV show.

Abbey got her chance in April, when she took the stage in front of her favorite judges and sang “Only Hope,” a song from the movie, “A Walk to Remember.” She said the judges were very kind to her and gave her singing rave reviews. Abbey also sang at the 2014 BIG Wish Gala just a day after returning from her wish.

“Abbey’s story is only one of many great wishes that have come to life thanks to Make-A-Wish, and we’re excited to play a small part of that organization’s success,” said Pam Banchy, Chief Information Officer, Western Reserve Hospital. Banchy will lead the hospital’s fundraising efforts at the third annual “Walk for Wishes,” a 1- or 3-mile fundraising walk, at Lock 3 Park in Akron on June 28, 2014. Proceeds raised by the hospital will impact children like Abbey. Make-A-Wish is hoping to raise more than $100,000 at the event.

Abbey has gone through chemotherapy, a full knee replacement and extensive radiation treatment. She is currently in physical therapy trying to regain the full function of her leg.


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From January to March, The staff at Western Reserve Hospital competed with other companies and with each other to see who could shed the most weight.

Across 13 different companies, more than 380 teams participated in the national competition. Western Reserve Hospital came in second, with 71 hospital employees shedding a collective 828 pounds.

“It’s all about will power,” said Robert Speer, RN, BSN, CCRN-CSC, who lost 17 percent of his body weight to become Western Reserve’s winner.

“Our staff has shown it’s working to provide more than just a healthier life for our patients — it’s leading by example that truly fortifies the culture of care and commitment at Western Reserve,” said Johanna Tanno, Wellness Coordinator at Western Reserve Hospital. “We couldn’t be more proud of the benchmarks we are setting every day by inspiring our employees to lead healthier lifestyles through the many on-site wellness resources we provide.”

Speer’s five-person team, Operation: Waist Management, was made up of surgical staff members at Western Reserve Hospital. Together, they lost a combined 167 pounds, finishing first at the hospital and 16th out of all the competing teams in the nation.

The competition was hosted by the hospital’s FITone wellness program, in partnership with HealthyWage, an online organization that strives to make weight loss more fun and successful by motivating weight loss with cash rewards.

Obesity is one of the leading causes of preventable death in America. Nearly a third of all Americans are obese, which dramatically increases the risk of heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and certain types of cancer.

If you’d like to read more about the Western Reserve weight loss team Operation: Waist Management, visit

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Pam Banchy, RN-BC, PMP, Chief Information Officer at Western Reserve Hospital was recently featured in the Becker’s Hospital Review story, “My Best Investment”: 5 CIO Reflect. The article features Banchy’s expertise of the business side of Information Technology as one of the premiere CIOs in the country who are sharing their experiences, best practices and challenges to educate and inform on a national and global level. The article discusses Banchy’s stance on the vital investments Western Reserve Hospital has made in its staff, processes and technology to achieve better service outcomes at all points of care, especially across the technological landscape.

Pam Banchy helms Western Reserve Hospital’s highly advanced Electronic Medical Records (EMR) system and her team’s continued work is helping Western Reserve Hospital lead health care services in the region. 

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Kathy Romito, Community Outreach Coordinator at Western Reserve Hospital, received the 2014 “Business Person of the Year” award from the Cuyahoga Falls Chamber of Commerce.

“These awards are the highest honor a person in Cuyahoga Falls can receive from the Chamber of Commerce,” said Chamber CEO Laura Petrella.

Every chamber member is eligible to win this award, but the winner is selected based on personal and professional achievements and contributions to Cuyahoga Falls, including volunteer work, efforts in the community and contributions to the chamber.

Cuyahoga Falls Mayor Don Walters will introduce and present the chamber awards, which also include Business of the Year and Citizen of the Year, at the Chamber Award Luncheon on Wednesday, May 21, from 11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. at the Sheraton Suites in Cuyahoga Falls.

Although still early in the year, Romito has already earned several awards and honors in 2014. In February, she won the Distinguished Sales and Marketing Award from the Sales & Marketing Executives International association. She was also appointed to the board of directors in both the Stow/Munroe Falls and Cuyahoga Falls Chambers of Commerce. Romito has served and continues to serve in numerous community organizations.

At Western Reserve Hospital, Romito is responsible for all charitable events. She establishes and maintains strong community partnerships by working closely with schools, businesses, churches, local government organizations and more.

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Fire safety education saves lives, and through a partnership between the Hudson Fire Department and Western Reserve Hospital, community children are finding fun new ways to learn about fire safety.

The hospital will be providing the Hudson Fire Department with supplies for their fire safety education program. This annual program helps introduce basic fire safety procedures to children in daycares, pre-schools and in bother private and public schools grades K-3. These supplies include a variety of child-specific education tools, such as pencils, crayons, coloring books and other hands-on items designed to engage children in fun activities while educating them.

“For children and adults, knowing how to respond to and prepare for an unexpected fire is paramount to living in safety,” said Dr. Robert Kent, President and CEO of Western Reserve Hospital. “It is crucial to begin teaching fire safety at a young age, and we appreciate the opportunity to partner with the Hudson Fire Department to help educate children about this necessary, life-saving information.”

The Hudson Fire Department preserves and protects the lives and property of the community by providing emergency services. These services include fire suppression, the rescue of victims, hazardous material management, rescue from vehicle entrapment, building collapse or water rescue, and public education on fire safety. The department also enforces safety codes during the construction and lifecycle of a new building.

“The supplies provided by Western Reserve Hospital will help immensely in expanding the type of items we can offer to the children during our fire safety classes,” said Hudson Fire Chief Jerry Varnes. “We greatly appreciate the support from the hospital.”

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Margaret Deacon, an 87-year-old volunteer at Western Reserve Hospital, was recently honored with the United Way of Summit County’s “Outstanding Volunteer” award at the 13th Annual Volunteer Celebration event at the hospital on April 10, 2014.

During the 1950’s-themed event, the hospital also recognized Margaret as the “Prom Queen,” along with Prom King and fellow volunteer Harvey Huebner.

“We strive to cultivate strong, healthy relationships with the community, and nowhere is that relationship more apparent than in our wonderful, dedicated volunteers,” said Dr. Robert Kent, President and CEO of Western Reserve Hospital. “They play an integral role in shaping the patient experience at Western Reserve.”

Serving more than 800 hours annually, Margaret has volunteered over 10,000 hours at Western Reserve throughout her many years of service. As a volunteer department assistant, she helps maintain more than 100 active volunteer files and hundreds of inactive files. She also keeps the department neat and efficient by reporting call offs, scheduling issues and the supply inventory status.

Western Reserve Hospital volunteers assist in a variety of roles, ranging from clerical support in areas such as medical records, human resources, administration and patient transportation and guest services to helping usher patients to appointment locations. Volunteers also provide assistance on nursing floors, surgical wings and outpatient departments.

During the volunteer celebration, guests were treated to a special dinner presentation that included profile videos chronicling volunteer service stories of individuals or groups. Volunteers also received special accolades commemorating each honoree’s commitment and steadfast efforts to serve others in their area.

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Pam Banchy, RN-BC, PMP, Chief Information Officer at Western Reserve Hospital was recently featured in the Becker’s Hospital Review story, “Top Advice from Top CIOs”. The article features Banchy’s expertise of the business side of Information Technology as one of the premiere CIOs in the country who are sharing their experiences, best practices and challenges to educate and inform on a national and global level. The article showcases Banchy’s applicable skill sets from nurse to CIO and Western Reserve Hospital’s latest measures with regard to improving services at all points of care, especially across the technological landscape. Banchy has recently helmed the implementation of a highly advanced Electronic Medical Records (EMR) system  and her team’s continued work is helping Western Reserve Hospital lead health care services in the region. 

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