Cancer Center Fundraiser Hits the Home Stretch

December 17, 2014

Cancer Center Fundraiser Hits the Home Stretch -

More than 3,500 individuals, foundations and corporations have made contributions towards the University of Colorado Health Cancer Center. However, as all good things must come to an end; the PVH and MCR Foundation announced that the fundraising campaign will come to a close on December 31st, 2014.

“This achievement – put in terms a Coloradan can really relate to – is as thrilling as nearing the summit of a 14’er.” – Kevin Unger, President and CEO, Poudre Valley Hospital and Medical Center of the Rockies.

The campaign supported the development of the 30,000 square foot addition that opened in June and provides one-door access to all-inclusive, world-class care for cancer patients. Located on the Harmony campus, the cancer center is equipped with state-of-the-art technology, as well as services to make patients feel as comfortable and emotionally whole as possible during their cancer journey.

Coming Soon: Survivorship and Wellness Center

Additional dollars raised will fund an 8,000 square foot renovation to create the Survivorship and Wellness Center, slated for completion in 2015.

“When the cancer center opened its doors on June 9, we were still working toward phase three in our fundraising – to support the Survivorship and Wellness Center,” explained Erica Siemers, senior director, PVH and MCR Foundation. “We are nearing that goal and expect that end-of-year gifts may carry us over the finish line for this final, vital part of the project.”

“While the cancer center is now open, providing one-door access to leading-edge cancer care, our work is not quite done and we need your help. We are close; but not yet at the campaign’s goal. The Survivorship and Wellness Center, which will provide services like physical therapy, massage therapy, a nutritional counseling and more, needs our continued support. And it can’t be ignored, it’s the part that cancer survivors told us was essential and sets us apart from other care facilities.” – Kevin Unger

“Together we have traveled so far, let’s reach the summit of this 14’er.” – Kevin Unger

Please join us in this last “hurrah” to support the cancer center’s fundraising campaign. To support by making a donation, please contact the PVH and MCR Foundation at 970.237.7400.

Thank you!

Dr. Stanley Henson Honored For 50+ Years of Medical Service

December 10, 2014
Dr. Stanley Henson Honored For Over 50 Years of Medical Service

Dr. Don Beard talking with Dr. Stanley Henson

A Pioneer 

One of the first surgeons to practice in the city of Fort Collins, Stanley Henson, MD, was honored on Sunday, October 26 at a reception for retired physicians presented by the PVH and MCR Foundation and hosted by Columbine Health System. Many of the more than 60 physicians in attendance were medical pioneers, like Dr. Henson, being among the first to practice their individual specialties at Poudre Valley Hospital (PVH).

“I would like to thank Dr. Henson and all of the physicians who came to the reception for the indelible print they have made on the practice of medicine at PVH,” said Kevin Unger, president/CEO of PVH and Medical Center of the Rockies (MCR).

Wrestling Champ to Surgeon

A Fort Collins resident since 1956, Dr. Henson will turn 98 years old next month. Prior to his medical career, Dr. Henson made a name for himself as a wrestler at Oklahoma A&M (now Oklahoma State) where he won three NCAA championships. He is now the oldest living NCAA wrestling champion. After college, Dr. Henson attended medical school in Maryland and trained at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. for four years before moving to Colorado to work as a surgeon at PVH and in private practice. Before Dr. Henson moved to Fort Collins, patients needed to travel to Denver for any significant surgeries. He worked in Fort Collins as a surgeon for over 50 years.

Many Lives Saved

Dr. James Wise and Dr. Merlin Otteman, who partnered with Dr. Henson at the surgical practice of Henson, Wise and Otteman, were at the event to provide remarks about their former colleague. It was Dr. Henson, however, who captivated the audience when he shared stories from the early days of his surgical practice. He recalled a horrific car accident which claimed the lives of the father, mother and an infant who were riding in the front seat of the car. The back seat held three sisters who were injured and rushed to PVH where Dr. Henson performed a splenectomy on each girl, one right after the other. Because of his actions, all three girls survived.

Dr. Henson has documented many of his experiences, and those of other local doctors, in his book, Touching Lives: A History of Medicine in Fort Collins. The book, published in 2004, provides a factual, detailed account of what physicians faced in the early days of health care in Fort Collins and is a source of much conversation among those who were at the reception.

The Retired Physicians Reception

Drs. Dick Codd (left), Nick Yobbagy, Roger Sobel, and Dale Kaiser (right)


The Retired Physicians Reception has quickly become a highly anticipated annual gathering among those who attend.

“The foundation is proud to be part of the reception and to honor these physicians for their service,” explained Erica Siemers, senior director, PVH and MCR Foundation. “The group shares a strong bond from their work as some of the first specialists to care for the people of Fort Collins and they enjoy reminiscing about those days.”

Former Nurse Gives the Gift of Education

December 3, 2014

Sharyn - Former Nurse Gives Gift of Education to Future UCHealth Nurses

The holiday season is marked by gift giving to people we know, but also to strangers in need. This gift from a former PVH nurse is one that will truly continue to keep on giving.

“We rise by lifting others.”Robert Ingersoll

Sharyn Salmen, a former nurse who worked at Poudre Valley Hospital (PVH) for 12 years, has made such a gift through the PVH and MCR Foundation. Her bequest will provide future scholarships for advanced education to nurses at University of Colorado Health (UCHealth) in northern Colorado. While Salmen does not know the nurses who will benefit from the scholarships she is providing, she does know the need is great.

“I would like to leave a legacy to assist nurses who desire to advance their education. It is my time to give back, and to look forward to the future by offering a resource incentive to help prepare and motivate the next generation of nurses – the heart of the hospital or healthcare system,” explained Salmen.

During her tenure at PVH, Salmen worked as the assistant administrator/director of nursing and vice president of patient care (chief nursing officer). She supported nurses’ advanced education for improved care at bedside. Specifically, with her team, she initiated and developed programs including a model of collaborative practice with physicians, a clinical ladder program to reward nurses with advanced degrees and a managerial ladder program for nursing leaders with advanced degrees to expand their leadership.

“I believe advanced education for nurses will provide transformative opportunities for them to best meet the triple goals of improved population health, reduced costs and enhanced patient experience within the UCHealth system resulting in a healthier northern Colorado,” said Salmen.

“Education provides problem solving skills which leads to excellence in patient care and improved patient outcomes in our community,” she added.

One of the ways the PVH and MCR Foundation is able to provide scholarships to employees of UCHealth is due to the generous support of people who make bequests through the foundation. Another generous gift from the estate of Richard G. Titus established the Richard G. Titus Scholarship for Nurse Leaders. So far, Titus scholarships have been awarded to 12 recipients. Nursing scholarships are also supported through UCHealth employee giving.

“There are those who give with joy, and that joy is their reward” – Kahlil Gibran

“Sharyn’s generous bequest is a perfect example of how deeply UCHealth staff – past and present – care about what they do,” said Kevin Unger, president and CEO, Poudre Valley Hospital and Medical Center of the Rockies. “We are so grateful that she made this decision to support our mission of advancing world-class health care in northern Colorado.”

Please consider making a gift to our foundation by visiting us on the PVH and MCR Foundation website. Together we improve lives!

Safe Kids Larimer County

October 21, 2014

The Safe Kids Larimer County coalition is administered out of the UCHealth Community Health Improvement Department in Fort Collins and needs 100 infant car seats and 50 convertible car seats for infants/toddlers whose parents cannot afford to purchase the safety equipment. Safe Kids has partnered with the Evenflo Company for the child passenger safety equipment.

Each car seat comes with education so it is a great benefit to the community as well as the child; 4 classes are offered per month (3 in English, 1 in Spanish). Our community health educators also monitor the best practices of community preventive services which report that distribution programs are effective when conducted in hospitals and clinics and are effective among both affluent and low income populations.


Why Car Seats?

Providing for the health care and wellness needs of a diverse and growing marketplace is important to us and helps us strive for our mission: From health care to health.

Motor vehicle injuries represent the leading cause of death among children in the U.S. (Source: NHTSA, 2008 data). Many of these deaths can be prevented. Placing children in age- and size-appropriate car seats and booster seats reduces serious and fatal injuries by more than half.  According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, the estimate of injury is reduced by 71-82%.

Larimer County was among ten counties with six or more unrestrained passenger vehicle occupant fatalities (all seat positions) in 2011.

The safety of Infants and toddlers in our community is up to us. Their parents may be aware of the requirements and benefits of placing their child in a car seat, but they cannot afford to purchase a new, safe child passenger restraint. Providing a car seat along with installation training is based on evidence that when the parents receive this instruction, they are more compliant about using the equipment for their child.

 Why Now?

Our inventory needs to be replenished frequently. The recommended time a car seat is safe to use is generally six years after the date of manufacturer. This is because clasps, release buttons, and clips wear with use. Safe Kids Larimer County does not encourage that parents use a previously used car seat.

Safe Kids Larimer County and the programming of the Community Health Improvement Department at PVH is a victim of its success. Until this year we were able to purchase the car seats with funding from the state of Colorado’s Department of Transportation. Fortunately, in Larimer County, occupant protection rates for 0-4 year-olds is at 100%; for booster seats it is 96.5 percent. As such, the high rate of compliance in our community reduced our position for receiving funding for car seats in 2013-2014.

This doesn’t mean the need is absent from our community… Every child in our community deserves to be safe with a car seat that fits them and is new, free from damage, and installed properly. On average, Safe Kids Larimer County gives $25,000 in car seats to families each year. The need is great and persistent, $11,400 will sustain the program through the end of 2014 when additional support will be necessary to continue to keep our community’s kids safe.

Help us save lives by donating today at

Northern Colorado Community Invited to Free Concert “The Flavor of Folk Music” to be Performed by UCHealth Health and Wellness Orchestra

October 14, 2014

RibbonCutting_ (71 of 94)

The PVH and MCR Foundation is pleased to invite the public to attend a free concert given by the University of Colorado Health’s (UCHealth’s) Health and Wellness Community Orchestra at 2:00 PM on Saturday, October 18. The concert will be held in Griffin Concert Hall at the Colorado State University Center for the Arts.

Entitled “The Flavor of Folk Music,” the program will include Vaughan Williams English Folk Song Suite, Rimsky-Korsakov’s Capriccio Espagnole, and a rare performance of the Malta Suite by Charles Camilleri. Chris Jusell, Concertmaster of the Greeley Philharmonic, will perform Sarasate’s Ziguenerweisen (“Gypsy Airs”). The orchestra is conducted by Leslie Stewart.

Attendees will be admitted free of charge, but donations will be accepted on behalf of the PVH and MCR Foundation in support of Phase 3 of the new UCHealth Cancer Center.

“The orchestra performed in June at the ribbon cutting for the cancer center and we appreciate that they continue to bring attention to the cancer center,” said Senior Director of the PVH and MCR Foundation, Erica Siemers. “Music lovers in our community should not miss the opportunity to see this group of talented musicians perform.”

For more information about the event, please contact

High School Friends Share Legacy of Giving at UCHealth Cancer Center

October 3, 2014

Kevin + Robersons

Kevin Unger, President and CEO of PVH and MCR with Daren and Ronna Roberson at the June 4th Cancer Center Ribbon Cutting

Since its inception, the UCHealth Cancer Center has united the Fort Collins community in support of the much-needed facility. Some of those involved developed new friendships through their activities in support of the cause; others were already friends and found an opportunity to create a shared legacy.   For the Rice and Roberson families, that began with a donation from Hydro-Construction to the PVH and MCR Foundation.

“We are very grateful that both families, and Hydro-Construction came forward to support the healing gardens at the cancer center,” said Gail Cumming, philanthropic giving officer at the PVH and MCR Foundation. “When we learned more about the personal history they share, their gifts became even more meaningful in terms of the journey of friendship they represent.”

Rod Rice and Daren Roberson first became friends when they met at Poudre High School in the 80s. Rod, and his now wife, Jamie, also knew Daren’s father, who was a business teacher at the school. Since high school, more than three decades later, Rod and Daren have maintained a friendship and supported each other in business and in life; in successes and losses.

Unfortunately, one of the biggest losses they have faced together was caused by cancer. Daren and his wife, Ronna Roberson lost Daren’s mother and father to cancer within months of each other; and Ronna’s mother died of lung cancer around the same time. Also touched by cancer through the death of family members, the Rices had already committed to a named space in the healing garden, a natural fit not only for the business, Hydro-Construction, in which Rod is a majority owner, but also to provide “peace and comfort” to patients facing cancer. What happened next underscores how one gift often creates a ripple effect, influencing others.

“Rodney and Daren discussed the new cancer center being built and Rod mentioned the opportunity to donate a section of the cancer center in memory of our parents,” remembers Ronna. “Our parents loved to be outside working in the yard, planting and nurturing their gardens. We liked the idea of an outdoor space with plants and a sitting area to relax.”

And so it came to be that the Robersons and the Rices have named spaces next to each other in the healing gardens. The friends who shared childhood dreams more than 30 years ago now share their desire to help others with their gifts at the UCHealth cancer center.

“Rod and Daren have shared many a fun time since high school,” said Jamie Rice, Rod’s wife. “To have spaces close to each other at the cancer center just felt right!”

Generosity Comes Full Circle

September 10, 2014

The PVH and MCR Foundation has formed a legacy society, the Circle of Caring, to honor those who have made provisions for our local hospitals in their estate plans, such as a will, trust, life insurance policy, retirement plan, or through a life income plan, such as a charitable remainder trust or a charitable lead trust.

Circle of Caring donors leave their imprint on health care at Medical Center of the Rockies and Poudre Valley Hospital through thoughtful, planned gifts from their estate. Their giving ensures that financial resources are available to continue to advance world-class health care for future generations in our community.

“Circle of Caring provides a powerful way for donors to strengthen our community’s resources and ensure that financial resources will be available to sustain the standards we provide the community,” explained Philanthropic Giving Officer at PVH and MCR Foundation, Gail Cumming, CFRE. “A planned gift can be applied to a specific program or project, such as a scholarship program or a wing of the hospital. Unless the specific cause has been identified, we use the gift in an area of most urgent need.”

Circle of Caring Spotlight – The Titus Scholarship for Nurse Leaders

For Richard G. Titus, the kindness and care he received from nurses at PVH and MCR left a long-lasting impression. So much so that he left a bequest totaling more than $520,000 to the PVH and MCR Foundation for employee scholarships. A portion of the gift is held in an endowment to support scholarships in perpetuity. The remainder established the Richard G. Titus Scholarship for Nurse Leaders. Scholarships are awarded on a competitive basis to nursing staff employed at UCHealth in the system’s northern region that are seeking degree bachelor’s of science in nursing (BSN). The scholarship fund is directed to honor and assist those engaged in the nursing profession, and to further his lifelong passionate commitment to education.

To date, 12 nurse leader scholarships in the amount of $5,500 and six regular scholarships totaling $4,000 have been awarded. Erin Baer, a registered nurse at Cancer Care and Hematology in Fort Collins is one of the lucky and very deserving recipients. Erin had started an online program through the University of Colorado College of Nursing RN to BSN program. However, due to outstanding school loans she had to put off continuing her education. When she saw the opportunity from the Richard G. Titus Scholarship for the Nurse Leaders Scholarship she hoped the time had come to finish her degree. Her hopes came true, and she will complete her BSN program in May 2015.

Erin Bauer

Just as this nurse sees her dreams becoming reality in her long-term impact on her patients’ well being, patients who receive exceptional levels of care can make a long-term impact on the health care for the next generation. Planned gifts such as the Titus Scholarship allow the PVH and MCR Foundation to continue the circle of caring and provide ongoing support for our hospitals’ most essential resource: our people.

Upcoming PVH and MCR Foundation Events

September 5, 2014

Mark your calendars for our upcoming events and get ready for a fun-filled fall!


*Colorado Moves to End Cancer is now September 14-20.

Congratulations Healthy Hearts for Healthy Families Graduates

August 27, 2014

Among the graduates in northern Colorado that received diplomas this past spring were children and their parents who completed the first series of classes through the Healthy Hearts for Healthy Families program. Their participation and commencement toward better health was made possible by a grant of $154,320 awarded to the PVH and MCR Foundation (given through the name of Poudre Valley Health System Foundation) from the AstraZeneca HealthCare Foundation’s Connections for Cardiovascular Health℠ program. The program’s goal is to improve cardiovascular health in local communities by awarding grants to U.S.-based nonprofit organizations with matching goals.

Healthy Hearts seeks to interrupt the patterns of cardiovascular disease in families through increased comprehension of risk factors; heart-healthy lifestyle behaviors; physical activity; and improved clinical measures such as body mass index, blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Children and their parents attend class together in this intergenerational initiative to reduce risks and improve heart health.

“Educating our children about healthy lifestyles and heart health is essential but ineffective unless we are able to effectively achieve family support and involvement in the process,” according to Gary Luckasen, M.D., medical director of research at the Medical Center of the Rockies and for the Healthy Hearts for Healthy Families program.

HH 1

The project was one of 19 selected out of 500 proposals submitted nationally in 2013. An important requirement was innovation. One of the key innovative components that Healthy Hearts for Healthy Families offers is making the participants agents of change. The curriculum is designed with the knowledge that parents are more motivated to modify behaviors if they know their child is at risk for heart disease. Once the children are screened and families decide to participate the families are given tools to improve their health status.

HH 2

One youth graduate reported that every year she has been taught to eat healthy and exercise, but the Healthy Hearts for Healthy Families program educated her about her own cholesterol and opened her eyes to why she should listen. A parent graduate reported that he has increased his exercise through friendly competitions with his children and he is determined to be heart healthy for his family. Healthy Hearts for Healthy Families is yet another example of a program that facilitates long-lasting positive changes to health and well-being of members of our community.




PVH and MCR Foundation’s Annual Employee Campaign Shows Increase in Gifts

August 19, 2014

we work give here

The PVH and MCR Foundation wrapped up its annual employee giving campaign with a significant increase in employee participation. The campaign, which took place during the month of June, secured 160 new or increased gifts. This will result in donations of $873.00 per pay period in new and increased gifts and $870.00 one-time cash gifts. These totals build on the already robust employee donations from 2013, when 1,487 employees in the region gave to the employee campaign, raising more than $263,118. 

“Employee giving in general has grown significantly in the past decade and become part of our culture,” explained Senior Director of the PVH and MCR Foundation, Erica Siemers. “In the first years of the campaign, we raised less than $100,000 cumulatively; now we give more than double that amount annually.”

During the campaign, employees are asked to make new or increased gifts to the foundation via paid time off (PTO), payroll deduction or one-time gifts. Prizes and weekly drawings are offered to those who participate. Employees who contribute are also recognized publicly for their generosity.  

“The spirit behind their gifts showcases how philanthropy is a really big part of who we are,” explained Anna Smoot, Annual Giving Officer at PVH and MCR Foundation. “For example, this year employees donated 587 PTO hours which has a dramatic impact on the success of our campaign.”

For many employees, knowing that each dollar is matched by 50 cents from the health system influences their decision to contribute. Last year’s donations were matched by $131,559 from the hospitals, resulting in a total employee giving impact of $394,678.

“The match just shows me how personal and caring the system continues to be by giving back to employees and giving them a voice,” said Diane Gustafson, Radiology Support Manager at MCR, who participates in the program. It’s proof that the system reinvests in its employees,”

 There are more than 150 funds supporting the programs, departments, patients, and employees of UCHealth in northern Colorado to which employees can direct their contributions. While the cancer center provided great inspiration for gifts this year, other employee-directed initiatives also receive great support. For instance, the employee assistance fund (EEAF) which provides grants to employees when they need it most, and the employee scholarship program which started a new nursing scholarship this year, are programs that saw a lot of employee interest.

 “I know personally of good workers, good people, who have been discreetly and respectfully helped in a big way by EEAF,” explained Gustafson who gives to the fund. “It’s so us. It’s all about helping each other and if we can’t do that, we’re not doing the right thing.”

While June is focused on the employee campaign as a way to end the fiscal year, employees may sign up for employee giving at any time year round. For more information about employee giving to the PVH and MCR Foundation, employees can go to


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