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Our Books

Open the Eyes of My Heart

open the eyes of my heart

Open the Eyes of My Heart is an inspiring book that includes stories from seventeen Upstate University Hospital spiritual care volunteers who share their special moments with patients when they most strongly felt the presence of the spirit.

"Something in these special moments either simply or profoundly changed the lives of these volunteers when they offered spiritual compassion to these patients," said the Rev. Terry Culbertson, M.D.I.V., B.C.C., C.T. "This book tells their stories in a personal, compelling way." Culbertson is Upstate's manager of Spiritual Care and supervisor of its Clinical Pastoral Education program.

Culbertson hopes that Open the Eyes of My Heart will inspire others to become spiritual care volunteers at Upstate. "Our program includes a full spectrum of faith traditions," she said. "There are so many ways our volunteers offer spiritual care, whether it is through prayer, Reiki, music, a gentle touch or merely just by spending quiet moments with patients. Offering spiritual care as a volunteer can add a fulfilling dimension to life," she said.

A Second Set of Hands

a second set of hands

A Second Set of Hands, offering practical and spiritual help for parents with hospitalized children—written by parents of hospitalized children—has been published by the Pediatric Spiritual Care Advisory Council of SUNY Upstate Medical University and University Hospital with the help of a grant from the Wilbert Foundation. The book is distributed to the families of pediatric patients at University Hospital.

The book, which takes its title from a story told by Lou Farchione, MD, a member of the Pediatric Spiritual Care Advisory Council and a retired Syracuse pediatrician who described his approach to patient care as involving both his hands and "a second set of hands" from God, includes stories from parents about how their spiritual life helped them through their ordeal.

Along with heartwarming stories, the book offers practical advice for families. Sidebars and footnotes provide helpful tips and resources for managing stress, maintaining healthy family relationships, and balancing career and financial concerns—challenges that are unique to parents with children who have medical needs.

A grant from the Wilbert Foundation provided money for the initial printing of A Second Set of Hands and generous support from the Weedsport Winter Wanderers Snowmobilers Club made In Their Own Voices possible.

Contributions are gratefully accepted so that we can reprint these books and continue to make them available to families of pediatric patients at Upstate Golisano Children's Hospital. If you would like to help, send your donation to:
Pediatric Spiritual Care Fund
c/o Center for Spiritual Care
University Hospital
750 East Adams Street
Syracuse, NY 13210
and earmark it "for reprinting of SSOH & Voices".

In Their Own Voices

in their own voices

In Their Own Voices is a collection of the children's stories of hope. These stories were told to Eric Kingson on behalf of the Center for Spiritual Care, SUNY Upstate Medical University.

"This precious book is a reminder to adults about what is important in life. Don't suffer, grab a snuggle, get goofy. Fun, love, play, art, friends don't hide the horror. They simply show that they can be bigger than the suffering. What do you do for children with cancer? When you are with them, hold the pity, and play with them, enjoy yourself. You will find yourself invigorated."

Patch Adams, M.D., is a nationally known speaker on wellness, laughter, and humor as well as on health care and health care systems. Dr. Patch Adams is the real person behind the hit movie, "Patch Adams," starring Robin Williams.

Journeys by Heart

open the eyes of my heart

Journeys by Heart includes twenty-one inspirational stories from the staff at Upstate University Hospital. The book is published with support from The Advocates for Upstate Medical University. It was designed by Susan Keeter of Marketing and University Communications. Bimenyimana Onesime, known as Kofi, who served as a Synergy Mercyworks intern in the Spiritual Care Department, interviewed staff members and brought their stories to life. Onesime tells his own heartfelt story of fleeing his homeland, the Republic of Congo, for a refugee camp in Tanzania and his life-changing immigration to Syracuse, where he flourished in high school. He attends SUNY Canton.

Peace in the Midst of the Storm

peace in the storm

Peace in the Midst of the Storm features poems, letters, songs, and stories written by psychiatric patients at Upstate University Hospital and is published by Upstate's Center for Spiritual Care through a grant from The Advocates for Upstate Medical University. Peace in the Midst of the Storm highlights themes of forgiveness, acceptance and hope, and includes workbook-style activities at the end of each section designed to encourage patients to share their own thoughts. Sequoia Kemp, a Synergy Mercyworks intern with Upstate's Department of Spiritual Care in the summer of 2014, compiled the book. Kemp worked with inpatients from the psychiatry units at Upstate's Community and Downtown campuses during her internship. "I hope the book will allow those struggling with mental illness to realize their life experiences are valued and worthy of sharing," said Kemp.