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Upstate Foundation announces Friend In Deed allocations

Friend in Deed teamThe Upstate Foundation allocated nearly $125,000 as part of its 2017 Friend in Deed campaign. As the annual fund for Upstate University Hospital, Friend in Deed provides funding for patient and staff education, patient and family assistance, equipment and programs.

“Often, Friend in Deed is the only source of funding for important hospital initiatives,” noted Eileen Pezzi, vice president for development at Upstate.

More than $2.1 million has been raised in the 21 years the Foundation has been conducting Friend in Deed. Friend in Deed is supported by Upstate faculty and employees, grateful patients and their families, and members of the Central New York community. An important component of the campaign is annual contributions by donors.

“We celebrate our Friend in Deed donors with posters in the lobbies of our hospitals that recognize the number of years they have been contributing,” Pezzi said. “The amount of a gift is not as important as a donor’s consistency and loyalty.”

This year’s allocations support 35 of the 49 submitted requests for funding. Requests ranged from several hundred dollars to $25,000. Some allocations, such as the “Cope Boxes/Hope Boxes,” are small; the psychology program in the department of physical medicine and rehabilitation assists those experiencing significant emotional distress or suicidal ideations by teaching relaxation skills. The boxes contain stress balls, scented and calming oils, bubbles, a list of phone numbers, note to self, and items that serve as a reminder that life is worth living.

Some allocations are much larger, like the purchase of an Eye Gaze Edge Talker for ventilated patients who are nonverbal; patients who are unable to communicate through techniques such as mouthing, head nodding, facial expressions and first-letter spelling. The Eye Gaze Edge Talker is a communication device that utilizes an eye blink detection system to interpret phrases or words for people whose only means of communication is with their eyes.

“No matter the size of the allocation, all are making a significant difference toward improving the care and treatment of our patients,” said Pezzi.

Caption: For several years, Friend in Deed has provided funding for supplemental nutrition that is given to financially distressed pancreas and liver cancer patients. From left are members of Upstate’s hepatobiliary and pancreatic surgery program: Dilip Kittur, MD; Karen Chick, NP; Ajay Jain, MD; Olivia King, NP; and Holly Briere, RN.