Acknowledging that there really is no way to understand the tragedy of Newtown, Connecticut, the leadership and staff at Mount Nittany Health decided to do an accounting of the past year to offer some perspective and some comfort to those in our community who are suffering, which surely involves the entire nation.
Offered here is a list of the "top five" meaningful moments of 2012. Steve Brown, FACHE, president and CEO, Mount Nittany Health, said, "I'm not sharing these to boast about our accomplishments, and this is by no means an exhaustive list. I simply want to remind our friends and neighbors that wonderful moments - and people - still happen everyday, all around us."
December 16: In the wake of the Connecticut massacre, emergency department (ED) employees and their children came together to make and distribute holiday cards to 150 Mount Nittany Medical Center patients. Kasandra Botti, DO, medical director, EMS, started with the idea of making holiday cards with her daughter to give to patients. Within two weeks, that idea grew to become a holiday celebration that brought nearly 75 employees their children to share in the simple lesson of giving back to others in need.
March 6: Four Mount Nittany Health providers - Judy Pleskonko, RN, BSN; Kristie Kaufman, MD; Lester Griel, CRNP; and Brian Newcomb, MD - provided free medical care to more than 600 people in Nicaragua while on an eight-day mission trip sponsored by Grace Lutheran Church, State College.
March 22: Cancer patient Warren Thomas married his sweetheart Rhoda Mae Wilson in room 417 on the medical/oncology floor at Mount Nittany Medical Center. Local businesses donated food, balloons, photography and flowers to the wedding, which was organized by our fourth floor floor staff.
July 11: Ten-year-old Alex Marshall sold his hand-made bracelets and key chains at the Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts. He then donated $400 to Mount Nittany Medical Center in honor of his great-grandmother, Eileen Leibowitz.
August 27: A five-year commitment to fund the new Lance and Ellen Shaner Cancer Pavilion at Mount Nittany Medical Center culminated when proceeds totaling $139,899 from this year's annual Golf Classic event was added to the five-year total of $600,000. Among the individuals driving the fundraiser is new Golf Classic committee member Jason Dambach. Jason, who lost his 24-year-old fiancée within 90 days of her shocking stage IV cancer diagnosis, found a way to channel grief into giving.