Thursday, April 10, 2014

Raising Matty Christian Inspirational Documentary Featured at Spring 2014 disABILITIES Film Festival and Speaker Series

The Museum of disABILITY History and People Inc. will host the Spring 2014 Annual disABILITIES Film Festival and Speaker Series on Friday, April 25, 2014, at 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. at Dipson Amherst Theatre, 3500 Main Street in Buffalo. The featured film is Raising Matty Christian. The purpose of the event is to educate attendees, challenge stereotypes and celebrate the contributions of people with disabilities.

The movie profiles the life of Matthew ‘Matty’ Christian (1983-2009), from the town of Canton, MA, who was born without full limbs or a tongue. The film chronicles his dally struggles and how his parents, Allie and Jerry Christian, raised him to face his challenges head on and his uplifting achievements that followed as a result. The 84-minute documentary focuses on Matty’s legacy of strength and determination.

A reception will be held 5 p.m. at the Museum of disABILITY History, 3826 Main Street in Buffalo (half mile from theatre). The film’s Director and Producer Christian de Rezendes and Associate Producer Paul Plotkin will be the keynote speakers. They will share why they created the movie and how they have been inspired.

De Rezendes was introduced to the project by his friend and the film’s associate producer Paul Plotkin of Saunderstown, RI, who the Christian family hired to edit and transfer VHS home movies to DVD. De Rezendes, along with his wife and co-producer Amanda de Rezendes, were hired by Allie and Jerry Christian in the fall of 2011. “Raising Matty Christian is a truly inspirational story,” said de Rezendes “You can’t watch a few moments of video and not be moved by how Matty’s achievements apply to your own life and how you can improve your own outlook every day.”

“From a diversity aspect, the film could have a significant effect on acceptance of others who are different,” said disABILITIES Film Festival Director and People Inc. Associate Vice President David Mack-Hardiman. “The film is so inspiring because Matty led his life like he did not have any limitations. He was an amazing athlete, friend and mentor. I think people of any age and families should strive to have an open mind after watching the movie.”

Movie tickets are available in advance at the Museum of disABILITY History and can also be purchased at the Amherst Dipson Theatre on the day of the event. Tickets are $5 per person. The speakers’ segment at the Museum is free to all film screening patrons.

To learn more, visit or call the Museum of disABILITY History at 716-629-3626. The sponsor of the Spring 2014 Annual disABILITIES Film Festival is the New York State Council on the Arts.

The Museum of disABILITY History, a project of People Inc., is dedicated to the collection, preservation, and display of artifacts relating to the history of people with disabilities. The mission is to tell the story of the lives, triumphs, and struggles of people with disabilities as well as society’s reactions. The Museum of disABILITY History, located at 3826 Main Street in Buffalo, NY, offers educational exhibits, programs and activities that expand community awareness.

People Inc. is a not-for-profit health and human services agency providing programs and services to more than 12,000 people with special needs, their families and seniors throughout Western New York. Since 1971, People Inc. has assisted individuals to achieve greater degrees of independence and productivity.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Community leaders to rock for better health

Community leaders and elected officials will join members and friends of the Memorial Medical Center Auxiliary for a “rockin’ good time” Friday when the Auxiliary holds its 13th Annual Rock-A-Thon to benefit the hospital.

Participants will rock in chairs for half-hour increments with each rocker soliciting pledges. Proceeds will be used to purchase needed equipment for the medical center. The Auxiliary has raised nearly $100,000 at previous rock-a-thon events.

Drop-ins are welcome and coverage is invited. For information, please call Mary Norton at 278-4159.

Community leaders scheduled to rock include:

8:30 a.m. Niagara Falls Community Development Director Seth Piccirillo

Niagara Falls City Council Chairman Charles Walker

Assistant Director Jill Shuey, Niagara University Office of Sponsored Program & Foundation Relations

9:00 a.m. Jocelyn Touma, rocking for Niagara Falls City Councilman Andy Touma

Director Ray Geiser, Palliative Home Care of Niagara, Inc.

9:30 a.m. Marketing & Public Relations Director Doug Mooradian, Health Systems Services.

10:30 a.m. Marjorie Gillies, Niagara Beautification Commission

11:00 a.m. Publisher Peter Mio, Niagara Gazette

Niagara County Legislator Owen Steed
Niagara Falls City Councilman Robert Anderson Jr.

Ron Anderluh, Niagara Street Business & Professional Association

12 noon Niagara Falls Mayor Paul Dyster

Memorial Park Block Club President John Cooper

1:30 p.m. Niagara Falls Fire Chief Thomas Colangelo

State Assemblyman John Ceretto

2:30 p.m. Executive Director Greg Larson, Niagara Falls Family YMCA

Applications available for Sass nursing scholarship

Applications are now being accepted for the Ruth and William O. Sass Scholarship to encourage excellence in the field of nursing.

Named in honor of Dr. and Mrs. William O. Sass, the scholarship is awarded annually to one or more qualified applicants pursuing a course of study for a baccalaureate degree in nursing. It is funded from interest income assigned to an endowment fund in their name at the Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center Foundation.

Scholarship recipients must be a graduate of Niagara Falls High School, Niagara Catholic High School or Lewiston-Porter High School.

Other criteria for consideration include academic achievement, community involvement and commitment, nursing career goals, personal and professional references and the availability of other resources.

Upon graduation, awardees are expected to apply for appropriate employment vacancies at Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center and to accept a position if offered.

Applications must be submitted to the Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center Foundation no later than May 15. To obtain an application, please call 278-4604.


Amherst, NY – The Amherst Center for Senior Services is partnering with Hearts & Hands to reach more seniors in Western New York. Hearts and Hands connects older, frail or vulnerable individuals in under-served communities with care receivers for door through door transportation, companion visits/caregiver respite, wellness checks/phone pals, and minor home repairs and maintenance. By linking those in need with a dedicated volunteer, Hearts and Hands hopes to enable the elderly and those with long term health concerns to remain safely in their homes. Services are delivered free of charge through the best efforts of dedicated volunteers.

Senior Outreach Services (SOS) at the Amherst Senior Center has partnered with Hearts & Hands in Akron and Clarence and will now service Amherst. SOS is a government funded program providing assistance to persons age 60 and older. Some SOS services have cost shares/contributions, but case management is always free and available to all seniors residing in the Towns of Amherst, Clarence and Newstead.

SOS provides free of charge, case management services with staff trained to identify and coordinate all available community and government services, thus eliminating much of the red tape that can cause frustration to seniors and their caregivers.

Hearts and Hands is a not-for-profit, neighbor-helping-neighbor organization which pairs volunteers with care receivers for needed services. The organization, founded in 2003, provides services to underserved areas in Western New York.

Senior Outreach Services can be reached at (716) 636-3070 and Hearts and Hands can be reached at (716) 406-8311.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Cultural attractions collaborate to create seven-stop ‘passport’ event in Erie and Niagara counties

History in Your Backyard

Seven Erie and Niagara County cultural attractions are teaming up to present a collaborative weekend, May 8-10, enabling guests to visit all seven locations for one low price. “History in Your Backyard” participants will receive a commemorative “passport” that will be stamped at each attraction. The passport will also contain discounts for numerous local restaurants.

Additionally, participants who visit and receive a stamp at each site will be entered into a drawing to win a helicopter ride over Niagara Falls courtesy of Rainbow Air Helicopter Rides! Participants will also be entered to win a gift basket from each participating attraction. Details will be available at each location.

Cultural attractions taking part in History in Your Backyard include:

Buffalo Niagara Heritage Village: 3755 Tonawanda Creek Road, Amherst, 689-1440,

Col. William Bond/Jesse Hawley House: 143 Ontario St., Lockport, 434-7433,

Erie Canal Discovery Center: 24 Church St., Lockport, 439-0431,

Herschell Carrousel Factory Museum: 180 Thompson St., North Tonawanda, 693-1885,

Museum of disABILITY History: 3826 Main St., Buffalo, 629-3626,

Niagara Aerospace Museum: 9900 Porter Road, Niagara Falls, 297-1323,

Niagara County Historical Society: 215 Niagara St., Lockport, 434-7433,

Passports can be purchased at any of the participating cultural attractions (with the exception of the Col. William Bond/Jesse Hawley House) and can be used throughout the entire weekend. The cost is $25 for adults in advance and $30 on the event weekend. The ticket price for children and students is $10 in advance and $15 on the event weekend. Children 2 and under will be admitted free. A family ticket is also available for $50 in advance and $60 during the event.

Please contact any of the participating attractions for more information. Each attraction will be operating under its usual weekend hours.

Alzheimer’s Association Dementia Care Symposium

WHAT: Day-long educational conference for family and professional dementia caregivers (still time to register: or 1.800.272.3900)

WHEN: Friday, April 11, 2014

8am-4pm – speakers begin at 9am; breakout-sessions start at 1:45pm

WHERE: Millennium Hotel

2040 Walden Ave., Cheektowaga

WHO: Speakers:
Dean Hartley, PhD, Dir. Science Initiatives- Alzheimer’s Association (National)
G. Allen Power, MD/FACP, Clinical Associate Professor of Medicine, University
of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry
David Hoffman, Bureau Director at NYS Department of Health

About the Alzheimer’s Association: The Alzheimer’s Association is the leading voluntary health organization in Alzheimer’s research, care and support. Our mission is to eliminate Alzheimer's disease through the advancement of research; to provide and enhance care and support for all affected; and to reduce the risk of dementia through the promotion of brain health. Our vision is a world without Alzheimer’s. For more information, visit or call 1.800.272.3900.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Lack of Insurance Coverage a Barrier to Lung Cancer Screening

Vast majority of current, former smokers willing to undergo spiral CT, Roswell Park/MUSC study finds

BUFFALO, N.Y. — The majority of current and former smokers would welcome screenings for lung cancer if their insurance covered the spiral computed tomography (CT) scans, according to research from Roswell Park Cancer Institute (RPCI) and the Medical University of South Carolina and published online ahead of print in the journal Lung Cancer.

More than 1,200 adult current smokers and former smokers were surveyed about their attitudes toward lung cancer screening using spiral CT scans. Current smokers (78.5%) and former smokers (81.4%) said they would be willing to be tested, if advised to do so by their physician. Reasons why smokers are not willing to be screened included: a lack of insurance coverage (smokers: 33%; former smokers: 25%) and a fear of being diagnosed with lung cancer (smokers: 33%; former smokers: 12.5%). Among former smokers, the most commonly cited reason for not having the screening was a belief that they did not have lung cancer.

“This study provides valuable information regarding the barriers to lung cancer screening, including a lack of insurance coverage,” said Andrew Hyland, PhD, Chair of the Department of Health Behavior at Roswell Park Cancer Institute. “These data speak to the need of insurance companies to pay for this life-saving test.”

The recent National Lung Cancer Screen Trial, a major study involving 53,454 current or former heavy smokers, reported a 20% reduction in mortality rate when lung cancer was diagnosed using spiral CT, compared to annual chest x-rays. Currently, only 17% of patients treated for lung cancer survive beyond five years.

A number of professional organizations have recommended lung cancer screening with spiral CT, including the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, American Association of Thoracic Surgery and American Cancer Society. These recommendations can influence health insurance coverage for the procedure.

K. Michael Cummings, PhD, of the Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences at the Medical University of South Carolina, added: “The results are consistent with previous studies which have shown high enthusiasm from patients to undergo cancer screening if the procedure is recommended by their doctors and covered by their insurance.”

The study, “Patient willingness and barriers to receiving a CT scan for lung cancer screening,” was funded by RPCI.

About MUSC

Founded in 1824 in Charleston, The Medical University of South Carolina is the oldest medical school in the South. Today, MUSC continues the tradition of excellence in education, research, and patient care. MUSC educates and trains more than 3,000 students and residents, and has nearly 13,000 employees, including approximately 1,500 faculty members. As the largest non-federal employer in Charleston, the university and its affiliates have collective annual budgets in excess of $1.7 billion. MUSC operates a 750-bed medical center, which includes a nationally recognized Children's Hospital, the Ashley River Tower (cardiovascular, digestive disease, and surgical oncology), Hollings Cancer Center (one of 66 National Cancer Institute designated centers) Level I Trauma Center and Institute of Psychiatry. For more information on academic information or clinical services, visit For more information on hospital patient services,

About RPCI

The mission of Roswell Park Cancer Institute (RPCI) is to understand, prevent and cure cancer. Founded in 1898, RPCI is one of the first cancer centers in the country to be named a National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer center and remains the only facility with this designation in Upstate New York. The Institute is a member of the prestigious National Comprehensive Cancer Network, an alliance of the nation’s leading cancer centers; maintains affiliate sites; and is a partner in national and international collaborative programs. For more information, visit, call 1-877-ASK-RPCI (1-877-275-7724) or email Follow Roswell Park on Facebook and Twitter.

Child Advocacy Center of Niagara to host Clothesline Project at Niagara Falls Memorial

The Child Advocacy Center of Niagara and YWCA of Niagara will bring the Clothesline Project to Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center from April 14-18.

A visual display of shirts with graphic messages and illustrations designed by women survivors of violence or someone who loves them, the Clothesline Project celebrates survivors and provides an avenue for women to courageously break the silence that often surrounds their experiences.

The concept is simple: Women tell their stories in their own way, using words and artwork to decorate a shirt. Once finished, they hang their shirt on the Clothesline. This action serves as an educational tool for those who view the Clothesline and can promote healing for those who create a shirt.

Different colored shirts represent different kinds of violence. Posters describing the meaning of each color will be posted around the Clothesline. Sponsoring organizations hope the display will raise awareness during Child Abuse Awareness Month and Sexual Assault Awareness Month, both of which are observed in April.

The Child Advocacy Center of Niagara, a service of Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center, is a countywide resource providing a place for a multi-disciplinary team of law enforcement, social services, prosecution, and medical and mental health personnel to investigate allegations of child abuse in a child-friendly environment. For more information, visit

The Resource Training Center and S.E.R.V. Niagara plan scholarship program for veterans

History in Our Backyard

The Resource Training Center of Amherst and S.E.R.V. Niagara are teaming up to offer a unique scholarship for veterans of the United States armed forces. Through the Gary L. Valeri Scholarship Program, veterans will be trained to work as Credentialed Alcohol and Substance Abuse Counselors (CASAC). The scholarship is named after the former husband of S.E.R.V. Niagara’s Founder, who lost his long battle with addiction.

The training program, offered two nights per week over an 11-month period, will qualify veterans to work with other veterans in a wide variety of settings such as clinics, hospitals, veterans facilities, halfway houses and the court system.

Veterans interested in the scholarship program are asked to send a letter of interest to S.E.R.V. Niagara, 80 Park Ave., 2nd Floor, Lockport, N.Y. 14094, by May 1. Within that letter, applicants should answer the following questions: What are your reasons for wanting to become a counselor, what are three positive qualities/characteristics that you possess that will benefit you as a counselor, and what do you see yourself doing once you have completed the program? Veterans of all ages and backgrounds are encouraged to apply.

“There are not enough veterans in these types of counseling roles,” said Jennifer D’Andrea-Terreri, founder of S.E.R.V Niagara. “Veterans in treatment have a greater chance of successful recovery when receiving therapy and treatment from another veteran. This is especially so when dealing with combat veterans. War and other related events are main causes of post-traumatic stress disorder and substance abuse, so it only makes sense for our veterans to receive help from other veterans who can better relate to their issues.”

The mission of S.E.R.V. Niagara (Supporting, Empowering, Respecting Veterans) is to promote healing and support and encourage every human being to reach their full potential while helping to restore hope and respect in our youth, families and communities. The organization’s long-term goal is to provide permanent housing and support to veterans and their families.

“There is a strong need for professionally trained counselors in today's society,” said Monica Farrar, director of The Resource Training Center. “There will always be a need for counselors as a growing number of people struggle with addiction.”

For more information on the scholarship program, please call The Resource Training Center at 983-2258 or email

The Resource Training Center is conveniently located in the Harlem Road Community Center at 4255 Harlem Road, Amherst. For more information regarding their services, please visit

In addition to the scholarship program, S.E.R.V. Niagara has a “wish” program, provides fun therapeutic activities for children and families, and is working on a housing project exclusively for veterans. You can visit or call 438-5437 for more information.

Veterans Information Event in Southtowns

Veterans can learn about VA health care and other Veterans benefits at an event being held Saturday, April 5 at the Cattaraugus Community Center, 12767 Route 438 in Irving from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

A presentation will take place about VA health care eligibility at 10 a.m. and noon. In addition, a presentation about VA pension will be provided at 11 a.m.

Representatives from agencies such as VA Western New York Healthcare System, Veterans Benefits Administration, County Veterans Service Office, Veterans OneStop, Small Business Development Center, Seneca Nation of Indians and Buffalo Vet Center will be on hand to provide information and answer questions about services they provide for Veterans about health care, business development, and more. The county will provide Veterans ID cards for area discounts too.

Bring a copy of your discharge papers, (DD-214) and 2013 financial information for proper benefits counseling. For more information, call 716-862-8753. The event is being offered by VA Western New York Healthcare System Minority Veterans Committee and Seneca Nation of Indians.