Sharon Meyer Rides Off Into the Sun Health Sunset

Sharon Meyer_4webBorn on a dairy farm in Fairmount, North Dakota, Sharon Meyer decided at a young age that milking cows was for the birds.

She preferred staying in the farm house where she learned to cook, bake, sew and fix all sorts of things. Sharon brought those skills and many more when she came to work at Sun Health more than 18 years ago.

“There is nothing she couldn’t fix,” said financial analyst Suzie Wilson who worked with Sharon for almost 15 years. “Copy machine, fax machine, chairs: she fixed all of them. And there was nothing she couldn’t find. She remembers everything.”

Sharon started as a housekeeper at Boswell, and later became the department’s receptionist before transferring to a secretary position within Sun Health Foundation (SHF) where she quickly won over donors and co-workers with her friendly and helpful attitude. Her duties included answering phones, managing inventory, filing and writing thank-you notes to donors, a skill she turned into an art form with cut roses and beautiful, handwritten notes.

“I loved getting the chance to meet our donors and to be the one to acknowledge their gifts,” Sharon said.

“She is the most pleasant, caring person to work with,” Bonnie Olsen, a development director for SHF, said of Sharon. “We used to call her ‘mother’ because she watched over all of us like a mom…she did so much to make our jobs smoother.”

Sharon and her husband Allan (also retired) have been married for 53 years and they have five grown children, eight grandchildren and one great grandchild. Now that she’s called it a career, Sharon plans to spend more time with Allan, other family and friends and to crochet, knit, bake, swim, learn more about computers and occasionally visit the casino.

She also plans to keep “watching over” Sun Health. Once a mom, always a mom.

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Sharon is famous for homespun humor and wisdom, which mostly come out as clever phrases her friends call “Sharonisms.” Here’s a small sample:

  • “I may be on a diet, but that doesn’t mean I can’t look at the menu.” (On admiring handsome men)
  • “There’s one nice thing about going the extra mile; there’s not much traffic.”
  • “I’ve lost the fluffy fat, now I’m working on the hard lard.” (On dieting)
  • “Beauty is but skin deep. Homely goes clear to the bone.”
  • “If you want to see the dead come to life, stop by the time clock at 5 p.m. on Friday evening.”
  • “Well, you know if it’s got testosterone or tires, it’ll give you trouble.”

Sun Health Foundation’s Gala Raises Funds for Banner Sun Health Research Institute

2014 Sun Health Foundation GalaSURPRISE, ARIZ. – Nov. 12, 2014 – More than 300 guests celebrated Italian style at Sun Health Foundation’s signature fundraiser, the Healthy SUNsations Gala, whose theme this year was “That’s Amore! An Italian Carnevale.”

The Nov. 8 celebration, held at Wigwam Arizona in Litchfield Park, featured fire jugglers, stilt walkers and jesters, a gourmet Italian dinner, entertainment by a tenor trio called “The Three Waiters,” a live auction and a video highlighting Alzheimer’s research at the Banner Sun Health Research Institute (BSHRI), beneficiary of this year’s Gala.

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Student Nurses Make a Good Impression

Students from the Grand Canyon University nursing program on the Banner Boswell campus,   cared for Sun Health Senior Living residents this summer as part of their clinical rotations.

Students from the Grand Canyon University nursing program on the Banner Boswell campus, cared for Sun Health Senior Living residents this summer as part of their clinical rotations.

Nursing students from the Grand Canyon University program on the Banner Boswell Medical Center campus spent two months this summer honing their clinical skills at Sun Health’s three senior communities. They were assigned to work with residents who had health concerns.

The students worked up health profiles on participating residents and consulted with Sun Health nurses, other health professionals, and in some cases, the resident’s physician on how to help them.

The student nurses wrapped up their rotation with a “show and tell” class held at Sun Health earlier this month. It was attended by administrators and managers from The Colonnade, Grandview and La Loma. The students shared their experiences, findings and suggestions on how to improve health services on each of the campuses.

Teresa Brulé, director of Resident Services at The Colonnade and a nurse, admitted to being initially “reticent” about how the students would fit in but she quickly learned they had much to offer. “What you have given us is invaluable,” she said to the students. “You’ve done wonders for our residents.”

One of those students was Jeff Miller who proudly described how he and another student helped a resident learn how to manage her high blood pressure more effectively. The students evaluated the resident’s medications and consulted with her doctor, who recommended a new timetable for taking her medications. “It was a nice experience being able to go to resident’s homes and work with them to improve their health,” Miller said.

The next group of student nurses will begin on Sept. 10.

Packing it in

About 60 foster children living in Surprise received new, fully-stocked backpacks compliments of Sun Health residents and employees.

About 60 foster children living in Surprise received new, fully-stocked backpacks compliments of Sun Health residents and employees.

Nearly 400 foster kids from the Northwest Valley, ages 7 to 18, headed to school this month with new backpacks filled with school supplies, compliments of the Sun Health SHINE (Sun Health Involvement Never Ends) summer backpack drive.

The drive was done in cooperation with OCJ Kids, a Valley-based foster and adoption agency. What started last year as a SHINE drive to donate 60 stock backpacks to area foster kids took on a life of its own as Sun Health residents, volunteers and employees gave well beyond expectations. The result was 242 backpacks.

This year, the SHINE Committee set a stretch goal of 300 backpacks, and once again the community rallied for the cause. A total of 384 backpacks were distributed to local children living in foster care.

“It means the beginning of a positive school year for these kids,” said Shevaun Sullivan, project manager with OCJ Kids. “The fact that they get new backpacks and not old ones; the fact they get to go in with new supplies and not a trash bag or no supplies, means they have a better chance of success at school this year. They are already labeled, and this takes one more label away that they are in foster care.”

The Wal-Mart Super Center in Surprise worked with SHINE to order the packs and supplies in bulk. Sun Health employees volunteered over a lunch time to stuff the 384 packs. The drive culminated with a party in late July at The Colonnade for about 60 local foster children. Several employees hosted the party and provided the guests with refreshments, an art project, games and line-dancing. Each child picked out their own backpack available in seven solid colors.

Eleven-year-old Esteban (last name withheld) choose a red one, his favorite color, and he expressed appreciation for the party and the gift. “This is very nice,” the affable 6th grader said. “It shows that people care about us.”

3D Mammography Units at Banner Del E. Webb Made Possible by Donors

Sun Health Foundation donors recently enabled Banner Del E. Webb Medical Center to purchase two low-dose 3D mammography units for the hospitals breast imaging center, which is part of the Louisa Kellam Center for Women’s Health.

The Hologic 3D Tomosynthesis units provide:

  • A greater than 25 percent improvement in overall cancer detection rates – finding 40 percent more invasive cancers than conventional 2D mammography alone
  • Better visualization of masses, distortions and asymmetric densities
  • A significant reduction (up to 40 percent) in false-positive readings
  • Lower dose and faster testing, resulting in less exposure and greater comfort
Sun Health Foundation Donors Fund 3D Breast Imaging Equipment

With one of the new 3D Mammography units are (L-R) Nancy Horskey, breast cancer survivor; Barbara McGeeney, radiology technologist (mammographer); and Claudine Shelley, nurse and certified breast patient navigator in imaging and cancer care.

On a related note, the breast imaging center at Banner Del E. Webb Medical Center was recently designated as a Breast Imaging Center of Excellence by the American College of Radiology.

For all who have donated to the Sun Health Foundation through one of our many programs, THANK YOU. Together, we are making our community a better place.

Sun Health Foundation Invests $30,000 in Future Nurses

Sun Health Foundation 2014 $30,000 Scholarship Recipients

Nursing students and faculty from Grand Canyon University and employees from Sun Health celebrate the awarding of 10 nursing scholarships.

As any college student or their parents can attest, higher education costs are much higher these days. That’s why Grand Canyon University nursing students Mariah White and Christine Throckmorton are so thankful for their $3,000 nursing scholarships from Sun Health Foundation. GCU’s annual tuition, excluding room and board, costs around $8,000.

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“Thank You Thursday” Recognition Goes to Season For Sharing

A deep and heartfelt THANK YOU to Season For Sharing – the $10,000 grant they gifted to our Sun Health Memory Care Navigator program will help us continue to provide free healthcare services to patients, families and caregivers dealing with Alzheimer’s disease, dementia and other memory loss conditions.

Season For Sharing grant recipient

Season For Sharing funds are raised through an Arizona Republic, azcentral.com and 12 News annual holiday fundraiser.

Today is “Thank You Thursday” – a day to celebrate donors and beneficiaries alike who have benefited from this incredible fundraiser. As a beneficiary, we are grateful to the media and community who made this possible. From the bottom of our hearts…. THANK YOU. We are honored by your generosity.

The grant will be used towards the following services:

  • Free access to Marty Finley, M.Ed., a Sun Health geriatric care manager with 15 years experience in memory loss conditions
  • In-home assessments
  • The creation of customized memory loss care plans with each patient and their family
  • Connecting patients and family to relevant community resources
  • Being a resource for families/caregivers as patients goes through different stages of dementia
  • Educating patients and family about local clinical trials
  • Collaborating with each patient’s physicians
  • And more!

The Memory Care Navigator program is funded 100 percent by the Sun Health Foundation through charitable giving and grants, such as the Season For Sharing program. Learn more about it here: http://www.sunhealth.org/memorycare/.

 

Sun Health Foundation Golf Tournament an ‘Ace In The Hole’

Sharon G foursome_4web

Many thanks to the players, sponsors and volunteers who participated in the 2014 Swinging in the Sun for Aces Golf Tournament, held March 10 on the Patriot Course at Wigwam Arizona.

The tournament raised money for the Sun Health Memory Care Navigator program, providing free personalized support for patients and caregivers affected by memory loss.

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‘Cardiac Kids’ Put Heart into Raising Funds for Cardiac Research at BSHRI

Tournament Director Ken Skinner, Foundation Gift Officer Bonnie Olsen, Dewi Gaballa (wife of Dr. Gaballa) and researcher Dr. Mohamed Gaballa.

Tournament Director Ken Skinner, Foundation Gift Officer Bonnie Olsen, Dewi Gaballa (wife of Dr. Gaballa) and researcher Dr. Mohamed Gaballa at softball fundraiser.

The weather was chilly with overcast skies, but that didn’t dampen the spirits of the 50 senior men who played in the Bill Bromley Memorial Cardiac Kids Softball Tournament on Saturday, Feb. 1 at Liberty Buick Field in Sun City West. Players ribbed each other mercilessly and hot-dogged it on the field, but there was a higher purpose.

The players share a history of heart problems and this was their 9th annual tournament to raise funds for cardiac research. This year’s event raised nearly $2,000 for cardiac stem-cell research being conducted by Mohamed Gaballa, PhD, at the Banner Sun Health Research Institute. Dr. Gaballa was on hand to report on his research, thank the crowd for their support and to throw out the first pitch. Despite the players’ health issues, the atmosphere was markedly light-hearted.   Continue reading

Neuro Wellness West Offers New Hope for People with Parkinson’s

Donor Sara Dean with Sun Health Foundation (SHF) Gift Officer Bonnie Olsen and SHF Board Member Lew Lancaster at Neuro Wellness West Open House, Jan. 31, at BSHRI.

Donor Sara Dean with Sun Health Foundation (SHF) Gift Officer Bonnie Olsen and SHF Board Member Lew Lancaster.

Like the Parkinson’s patients who fill its classes, the Neuro Wellness West program at Banner Sun Health Research Institute (BSHRI) is “on the move.” The fitness, wellness and support program for Parkinson’s patients and their loved ones began offering classes in late October. In the ensuing three months, 54 people have registered, 80 classes have been held and more than 450 people have attended one or more of the classes.

A Jan. 31st open house for the Neuro Wellness West program attracted more than 100 people, offering further proof of the program’s popularity.

Holly Shill, MD, head of BSHRI’s Thomas H. Christopher Center for Parkinson’s Research, played a key role in breathing life into the program and she’s pleasantly surprised by its rapid rise. “To go from an idea, to funding, to enrolling people in the program, all in one year’s time, is truly amazing.”  Continue reading