Our Resilient Auxiliary – in Support of UPMC Western Maryland
Mirjhana Buck has successfully spearheaded the Snow Ball fundraising effort by connecting with corporate donors for more than a decade.
Since 1996, beginning as the Memorial and Sacred Heart Auxiliaries, the faithful members of the Western Maryland Health System Auxiliary have provided exceptional fundraising, volunteer work, and ambassadorship to UPMC Western Maryland. Nothing keeps them from their generous commitment to our hometown healthcare.
Though Snow Ball 2021 was cancelled due to safety concerns surrounding COVID, the Auxiliary leadership found a way to continue in their commitment to the one million dollar pledge they made to the Center for Hope and Healing in 2019. In lieu of the group’s signature event and largest fundraiser of the year, they determined to host a virtual campaign and called it Hope Lives! Many sponsors and patrons of the Snow Ball were fully committed to supporting the Auxiliary’s cause in a year that made gathering impossible. President Kim Kremer and President-Elect Julie Westendorff celebrated the generous donors who made the Auxiliary’s Hope Lives! campaign a resounding success, and Past President Julie Davis narrated a virtual tour of the Center. In a year without a Snow Ball, the group raised $65,000 to bring hope to those struggling with addiction, pushing them over the halfway mark toward their $1 million dollar goal.
“The WMHS Auxiliary remains deeply committed to the patients and staff at UPMC Western Maryland,” said Kim Kremer, president. “In spite of the difficulties that COVID has brought, we are still firmly resolved to honor our pledge to the Center for Hope and Healing, and we are grateful for the support the campaign received from our faithful sponsors.”
Again, in 2022, when Snow Ball was cancelled, the resourceful leadership of the WMHS Auxiliary found a way to host a summer gala – A Shimmering Summer Night – which met with a great response across the community. This event also raised significant funds dedicated to the center. In fact, the WMHS Auxiliary has now raised a total of more than $650,000 in fulfilling their pledge and extends grateful thanks to a generous community for this investment in life-changing care.
Through the Auxiliary’s flagship donation, the Center for Hope and Healing opened its doors in August 2020, dedicated to individuals struggling with opioids and other substances. To date, the center has successfully treated more than 550 individuals. Its unique, home-like setting and familiar staff provide a safe harbor for those who are struggling, and the real-life stories on display across the center’s walls – from photographs and paintings to moving testimonials – are stories of hope and victory over substances. The average stay is five days, which allows for a breath of stability and planning for next steps. Many have taken giant step into long-term treatment, and dozens more have chosen outpatient care and counseling.
In just one recent example, the staff at the center helped locate stable housing for a young woman who had frequented the Emergency Department, often on a weekly basis. By meeting her daily needs and providing a safe, clean place to live, the staff have assisted her in focusing on her recovery and minimizing her need for critical care. Truly, your investment is saving lives!
The WMHS Auxiliary continues to be a lead partner to the Foundation and invites your participation! Since 1996, the Auxiliary has given nearly three million dollars to UPMC Western Maryland. Monthly sales at Past Perfect Bargain Boutique, revenues from the One Dream Gift Shop (in the lower lobby of the hospital), specialty sales throughout the year, and the annual Snow Ball all support clinical excellence and compassionate care here at UPMC Western Maryland. Learn more about joining the WMHS Auxiliary by clicking here.