Can the needy be found in Buffalo’s ‘burbs?

Can the needy be found in Buffalo’s ‘burbs?  “Yes, unfortunately”, says Orchard Park Presbyterian Church “Blessings Box” needs frequent filling by congregation ORCHARD PARK, NY – Sitting under a tree like an oversized bird house, the shelves brimming ...

Erie County Clerk Mickey Kearns and Mercy Hospital Team Up

As part of American Heart Month in February, the Erie County Clerk’s office and Mercy Hospital of Buffalo have teamed up to offer free blood pressure screenings at auto bureaus across the county. Cardiovascular disease remains the leading cause of deat...

“We’re on the Horizon of Sustainable Food Agriculture” with Michael Zak

Mike Zak, pictured on the left, may very well be the poster child for Buffalo being a city with a heart. Born and bred in South Buffalo, he’s been involved in some way in many… More

Tips and Cautions for the Weekend Warrior

If you find that weekends are your only time to exercise, take heart, especially if you engage in longer, more intense activities on Saturdays and/or Sundays. “The good news is that a recent study showed that exercisers like you have a lower risk of mortality compared to sedentary adults,” said Bruce Naughton, M.D., Univera Healthcare chief medical officer for Medicare.  “However, the jury is still out as to whether other benefits of daily exercise, such as controlling conditions such as high blood pressure, blood lipids and diabetes, hold true.” Naughton adds that there’s likely a greater risk of injury, since most sports injuries occur when physical activity is inconsistent or infrequent.   If being a weekend warrior is the only way you can fit in physical activity, Naughton recommends these basic tips to reduce the risk of injuries:   Be realistic. Don’t attempt to run a long race or lift heavy weights if you haven’t worked out in a month. Pay attention. Form and technique are always important when you exercise, but even more so when you do an activity inconsistently. Listen to your body.  If you’re feeling fatigued, slow down or take a short break. Warm up and cool down. Begin with a 10-minute walk or jog followed by some stretching. At the end of your activity, cool down slowly with less intense movement to bring your heart rate back to normal. Include some gentle stretching.   Take your time. Start your activity slowly, working up to more intensity over time. Stay hydrated and properly fed. Split your time. Rather than spending two hours in an activity, split it into smaller workouts throughout the day.  

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Ride for Roswell Raises $4.5 Million

21ST RIDE FOR ROSWELL RAISES $4.5 MILLION FOR CANCER RESEARCH BUFFALO, NY —The Ride For Roswell, the single largest fundraising event in Western New York and North America’s largest single-day cycling fundraiser, concluded its 21st year this weekend by raising a total of $4.5 million for cancer research and patient-care programs at Roswell Park Cancer Institute (RPCI). Ride Weekend involved more than 10,000 riders, volunteers and countless other supporters.  In 1996, the first Ride For Roswell had 1,000 riders who raised just over $100,000. Over the past 21 years, The Ride has raised $38 million for Roswell Park Cancer Institute, and more than 100,000 riders and volunteers have participated in the event. “The money raised by The Ride over the past 21 years has allowed Roswell Park to make lifesaving advances in many areas of cancer research at Roswell Park, including personalized medicine, cancer vaccines and immunotherapy. The funds that our participants raised this year will allow us to make even more progress, and will also help provide compassionate care programs for the 32,000 patients who turn to us for hope every year,” said Candace Johnson, PhD, RPCI President and CEO.  “This incredible event gives our community an opportunity to come together as one in the fight against cancer. At Roswell Park no one fights cancer alone, and we are so grateful for every dollar donated, every mile pedaled and every minute volunteered that help give hope to those fighting.” The weekend began on Friday with the Peloton, a 12-mile route from Roswell Park to University at Buffalo (UB) that is reserved for top fundraisers. The 200 Peloton riders each raised more than $1,000 and passed a qualifying ride in order to participate. Before departing, the riders stood outside of RPCI with personal notes from current patients in their hands while reaching up to the hospital windows in a salute to cancer patients who were looking out. The Peloton riders then rode in two-by-two formation from RPCI through the City of Buffalo and into Celebration Village on the UB campus as part of The Ride For Roswell’s Celebration of Hope. The Celebration of Hope, a community-wide rally against cancer, included family-friendly activities and live entertainment, opportunities to engage with RPCI doctors, faculty and staff who demonstrated how funds raised by The Ride help fuel cancer research at the Institute and an inspirational and emotional stage program featuring the arrival of the Peloton and an Olympics-style procession of cancer advocates, researchers and survivors. On Saturday, The Ride included cyclists of all ages and abilities on routes ranging from 3 to 102 miles, including two, 44-mile international routes through Canada and a new Olmsted Route, which departed from the Roswell Park start line and traveled along Frederick Law Olmsted’s famed parkways with a rest stop at the historic H.H. Richardson Center. Support of The Ride For Roswell generously provided by: PRESENTING SPONSOR: West Herr Automotive Group. REVOLUTION SPONSOR: Tops Friendly Markets. BIG WHEEL SPONSORS: CSX; Dunkin’ Donuts, Praxair; M&T Bank; New Era Cap Co.; Sahlen’s Packing Co.; University at Buffalo; WGRZ Channel 2. BREAK AWAY SPONSORS: Buffalo Bisons; Cumulus Media; Eberle + Sciandra, Flynn & Friends; Lamar; Pactimo; Subway; Townsquare Media; Coca-Cola Bottling Co. of Buffalo. TEN SPEED SPONSORS: FedEx; Ferguson Electric; First Niagara Bank Foundation; Modern Corporation; E.I. DuPont de Nemours and Company; Thermo Fisher; J.W. Danforth; Erie County ARES; RACES. FIVE SPEED SPONSORS: Hale Northeastern; SMP;  Baillie Lumber Co.;  Eisai; Bert’s Bikes and Fitness; Rich Products; Uncle Bob’s Self Storage; New York Institute of Massage; Mississippi Mudds; Steam Roller Press; Saia Communications; Mantelli Trailer Sales; Lincoln Storage; Geico; Amgen; Upstate; Labatt; Microsoft; Santora’s Pizza Pub & Grill; Bristol Myers Squibb; All Season Tent Rental.

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What You Don’t Know About Olmsted Parks and the Conservancy that...

by Shannon Traphagen We all know that active, outdoor lifestyles contribute to leading healthier lives, and the Western New York region is fortunate to have access to the beautiful Olmsted park system. Believe it or not, Olmsted was the first urban park system ever designed in the United States, as a supportive outlet for healthy living. And access to natural scenery and park activities play a role in improving physical and mental health. Stephanie Crockatt, Executive Director of the Olmsted Parks and Conservancy says, “Our parks are invaluable as they represent quality of life enhancements for all residents and visitors.” The Olmsted Parks Conservancy is a nonprofit organization tasked with operating the historic urban park system. As part of the Conservancy, Crockatt and her team, made up of a small staff and volunteers, are charged with raising 60% of their annual budget to maintain, operate, preserve and restore the parks. Crockatt says, “Many in the community don’t realize that private dollars are what keep the parks in such great shape, and that the city of Buffalo, through a special partnership, contributes the other 40%.” First designed by Frederick Law Olmsted in 1868, the venue has grown into six major parks, seven parkways, and a handful of smaller pocket parks, which comprise 850 acres of historic green space. It is also listed on the National Register of Historic Places. With over 2.5 million visits a year, the parks are free to the public, and also serve our public-school system. “It’s important to allow free access to these parks, and we have many organizations that appreciate it. The parks host over 100 charitable runs and walks annually, which are vital and important to our community members,” says Crockatt. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the average cost to acquire and build a basic urban park is roughly $1.5 million per acre. That means it could easily cost $1.2 billion to build a system of parks like Olmsted. Olmsted parks has 36 sports fields, including soccer, baseball and football, as well as 10 basketball courts, 29 tennis courts, one universal gym, and over 46 miles of park trails. It also features 12 picnic shelters, 8 playgrounds, 2 splash pads, and maintains three golf courses, and over 14,000 trees. “There is an incredible amount of work we do each day to keep the parks clean, accessible and beautiful,” says Crockatt, adding, “We are grateful to see the appreciation from the community for the work we do, including volunteer participation, and their financial support for these important efforts.” The Conservancy offers annual memberships with local park partner perks, such as consumer discounts. Their goal this year is 300 new members, and they hold two major fundraisers each year—the Spring into Summer luncheon held at Kleinhans on May 9, 2017, and the Denim & Diamonds Gala at MLK Jr. Park on September September 9. WNY Reference: For more information on how to get involved, become a member, volunteer or support the Olmsted parks, please contact Jessica Juliano, at 716-838-1249 x22, or visit the Conservancy’s website at

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BlueCross BlueShield Employees Pay It Forward

BlueCross BlueShield Employees Pay It Forward — Donating $70,000 to 28 Local Charities Buffalo, NY – BlueCross BlueShield of Western New York employees donated a total of $70,000 to 28 local charities ($2,500 each) today during a presentation at the company’s corporate headquarters. BlueCross Blue Shield employees fundraise throughout the year for the organization’s Red Stocking Fund. Established in 1955, the name of the fund was derived from the literal use of red stockings to collect charitable donations around the holiday season. Today, the largest contribution comes from casual Friday donations, in addition to payroll deduction, personal contributions and a number of other year-round fundraising efforts anchored by the employee-led “BlueCrew.” This year, the total number of charities awarded increased from 20 to 28 – a record number in the health plan’s Red Stocking Fund history. In addition to the Red Stocking Fund, the health plan’s employees volunteered more than 1,000 volunteer hours in the community in 2016. “Investing in initiatives that enhance the health of the people who live here is at the core of who we are as a community-based health plan,” said Dave Anderson, President and CEO, BlueCross BlueShield of Western New York. “Our employees embrace our values by paying it forward through thousands of dollars and hundreds of volunteer hours each year.” Employees are given the opportunity to select the Red Stocking Fund’s receiving charities from a long list of worthy 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations each year. Representatives from each of the 28 selected charities were presented with a $2,500 donation at today’s ceremony. Additional from today’s event can be viewed here. The 2017 recipients: Alzheimer’s Association, Western New York Chapter: Advances research to end Alzheimer’s and dementia while enhancing care for those living with the condition. American Cancer Society of Western New York: The organization’s mission is to save lives, celebrate lives, and lead the fight for a world without cancer. American Diabetes Association of Buffalo: The organization’s mission is to prevent and cure diabetes and to improve the lives of all people affected by diabetes. American Foundation for Suicide Prevention Western New York: Dedicated to saving lives and bringing hope to those affected by suicide. Big Brothers Big Sisters of Erie County: Provides mentoring services to youth between the ages of five to 18 through key programs that positively impact the educational outcomes of their little brothers and sisters. Black Dog Second Chance Rescue: This organization’s mission is to find the right homes for the dogs in their care and match the best dog with the best family. Breast Cancer Network of Western New York: Provides education, advocacy, and support for people affected by breast cancer. City of Buffalo Animal Shelter: Promotes the health and welfare of animals in the care of the City of Buffalo Animal Shelter. Buffalo City Mission: Offers long-term recovery programs, counseling, work and life-skills training, education assistance and health-care services for homeless men, women and families committed to turning their lives around. Camp Good Days and Special Times: Camp Good Days provides services for: children with cancer, children who have a parent or sibling with cancer and/or children who have lost a parent or sibling to cancer. Carly’s Club at Roswell Park: Offers support programs to make life more manageable for children diagnosed with cancer and their families, and to raise funds for pediatric cancer research seeking cures at Roswell Park Cancer Institute. Cradle Beach Camp: Serves the needs of children with disabilities and those who come from economically disadvantaged backgrounds from Western New York. Diamonds in the Ruff Animal Rescue: Protects the welfare of animals by finding caring foster or adoptive families for each animal they rescue. Down Syndrome Parents Group of Western New York: An organization dedicated to raising awareness of Down Syndrome while enhancing the lives of people with the condition. Friends of the Night People: Provides food, clothing, medical care, counseling, and hope to those in need. Hospice Foundation of WNY: Provides medical care, emotional and spiritual support to people and their families facing life-limiting illnesses. Make-A- Wish Western New York: Grants wishes to children between the ages of 2 ½ and 18 who are coping with a life-threatening disease. Mercy Flight of Western New York: Provides airborne medical transportation and supporting services, ensuring rapid, safe, and cost-effective delivery of expert emergency response personnel, patients, organs, and supplies. Ronald McDonald House: The mission of RMHC is to create, find and support programs that directly improve the health and wellbeing of children. Roswell Park Alliance Foundation: This organizations mission is to understand, prevent and cure cancer. Skating Association for the Blind and Handicapped: Its mission is to challenge individuals with special needs and volunteer partners to experience the success, pride, freedom, and joy of therapeutic ice-skating while achieving personal growth. SPCA Serving Erie County: A charitable community resource dedicated to protecting and providing shelter and comfort to all animals in need. St. Jude Medical Center: Continuously improves the health and quality of life of people in the communities we serve by offering the highest quality care with compassion and respect. St. Luke’s Mission of Mercy: A mission supported solely by volunteers who commit themselves to serve the poor. Ten Lives Club: Committed to providing shelter to abused, stray, and surrendered family pets that would otherwise have no place to go or be euthanized. The Kevin Guest House: Provides a comfortable and supportive home away from home for patients and their families.  Western New York Heroes: Provides veterans, members of the armed services, and the widows and children of deceased veterans with access to essential services, financial assistance and resources that support their lives and sustain their dignity. Wings Flight of Hope: The mission of Wings Flights of Hope Inc. is to help people in need of free air transportation for medical and humanitarian purposes.  

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Preteens and Teens: Ensure a Healthy Future

Parents—Be Sure They Are Up-to-Date on Vaccinations! ERIE COUNTY, NY— Parents can do a number of things to ensure a healthy future for their child. One of the most important actions parents can take is to make sure their children are up to date on their vaccines. Following the recommended immunization schedule provides the best protection from serious, and sometimes deadly, diseases. Preteens and teens need four vaccines to protect against serious diseases: MCV4 (quadrivalent) meningococcal conjugate vaccine to protect against meningitis and blood infections (septicemia); HPV (human papilloma virus) vaccine to protect against cancers caused by HPV; Tdap vaccine to protect against tetanus, diphtheria, and whooping cough (pertussis); and a yearly flu vaccine to protect against seasonal flu. Teens and young adults may also be vaccinated with a serogroup B meningococcal vaccine. “Adolescents need vaccines because they are at increased risk for certain diseases like meningitis and cancer-causing HPV infections. It is important to get HPV vaccine before being exposed to HPV. Parents can send their preteens and teens to middle school and high school – and also off to college – protected from these vaccine-preventable diseases by ensuring their children are up to date on their vaccines,” stated Dr. Gale Burstein, Erie County Commissioner of Health. Along with helping protect preteens and teens from certain diseases like the flu, being vaccinated also helps stop the spread of these diseases to others in their family, classroom, and community. To learn more about the vaccines recommended for adolescents, visit, or speak with your child’s healthcare provider, or call the ECDOH Immunization Clinic (located at 608 William St., Buffalo) at (716) 858-7687.    

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Breast Cancer Network Grant Award

Breast Cancer Network of WNY Awarded NY State Grant Buffalo, NY – March 13, 2017 – The Breast Cancer Network of WNY announced today that it has been awarded a five year grant in the amount of $133,925 from the New York State Department of Health for implementation of “Community-Based Breast Cancer Support and Wellness Services.” The Breast Cancer Network of WNY (BCN), a local non-profit organization dedicated to the support of breast cancer survivors, will use the funding to conduct wellness education programs for breast cancer survivors in the western New York area. A series of monthly wellness seminars with local guest speakers will be conducted in a variety of area venues. BCN has established collaborations with Catholic Health, Roswell Park Cancer Institute, and Windsong Radiology to host components of the planned seminar series and plans to involve additional host venues in an effort to optimize availability to as many survivors as possible. According to BCN Executive Director Rob Jones, the intent of the program is to reach out to area breast cancer survivors and offer wellness education programs that could positively impact their quality of life New York state cancer statistics show that over 1400 new cases of breast cancer are diagnosed annually in the eight counties of western New York which, compounded over years, creates a substantial population of survivors in need of support services.. Currently, BCN hosts an active schedule of support groups, restorative health classes, and education activities at its facility at 3297 Walden Avenue in Depew. The grant funding from the New York State Department of Health will give BCN the ability to expand its wellness programming to reach more breast cancer survivors throughout western New York. BCN Executive Director Rob Jones stated, “Our regular programming is extremely informative and helpful, but is currently conducted in mostly suburban locations. By hosting these new educational programs in different locations, including urban areas, we will be able to serve many more breast cancer survivors as well establish stronger relationships with area providers.” The Breast Cancer Network of WNY was founded in 1988 by a small group of breast cancer survivors committed to offering support, education, and advocacy to others afflicted with breast cancer. Since that time, thousands of area women and families have benefited from the efforts of BCN’s volunteer staff.  

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The New York State Department of Health has issued a statewide health advisory to hospitals, emergency departments and urgent care centers following severe and life-threatening...

Movement Helps Battle Parkinson’s

Moving Day® Shows How Movement Helps Battle Parkinson’s Firefighters face higher risk of diagnosis Buffalo, NY, 6 August 2016 – Coca Cola Field will come alive this weekend with the National Parkinson Foundation of Western New York’s (NPFWNY) 5th annual Moving Day®. More than 1,000 people are expected to fill the centerfield pavilion area on Sunday, September 11th. Movement, like medication, is critical in the battle against Parkinson’s disease, and Moving Day® is a celebration of movement. Tai Chi, yoga, dance and drumming will all be presented as effective approaches in fighting off the symptoms. The event is highlighted by a 3-mile walk along Buffalo’s beautiful waterfront. Teams comprised of Parkinsonians, their caregivers, family members and friends are raising money for the local Parkinson’s community. Gates will open at 8 AM, and the walk kicks off at 10 AM. The Moving Day® goal this year is $90,000. Parkinson’s is a chronic, neurodegenerative disease for which there is no cure, and NPFWNY works to improve the quality of life the for tens of thousands of local residents who have been affected by the affliction. “There are so many people who benefit so much from Moving Day® and from the efforts of NPFWNY,” Vicky Glamuzina points out. She is the president of the organization’s Board of Directors. She adds that “Just this year we’ve added new support groups, new therapeutic programming and additional educational opportunities.” Moving Day® is NPFWNY’s largest annual fundraiser, and its success contributes significantly to the organization’s ability to provide programming. Some of the money raised will also go toward research into finding a cure. Though monies raised locally will benefit the area’s Parkinson’s community, there is a nationwide theme for Moving Day® events across the country. Firefighters are 3 times more likely to receive a Parkinson’s diagnosis than the general public. All local firefighters who join the Moving Day® effort will be recognized as part of a National Firefighters team. “We have worked hard to raise awareness about this risk by contacting all of the region’s fire departments,” said NPFWNY executive Director Chris Jamele, adding that “Jim Schaefer, a fire chief from the Lancaster Fire Department, has been chosen as the Person-of-the-Year for Moving Day® Buffalo 2016.” Schaefer was just 44 when he was diagnosed, a very early age for the disease. He has battled the disease for four years, and it has already curtailed some of his firefighting duties. In support of Schaefer and the event, the Lancaster Fire Department will have their brand new, $1.3 million ladder truck on hand. Moving Day® is a great, family-friendly event, drawing participants of all ages and capabilities. More walkers and teams are welcome to join. To register, or for more information about Moving Day®, please visit

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Growing List of Diseases Linked to Physical Activity

By Annette Pinder Do you lead a sedentary lifestyle? Beware, while evidence widely suggests that lack of exercise can cause a wide variety of diseases, lack of physical activity was never recognized as a risk factor for cancer — until now. According to...