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Community Connections: Mercy & Unity Foundation
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Crystal Ball raises $240,000 for Women’s & Children’s Services

On April 10, more than 450 guests attended the Mercy & Unity Hospital Foundation’s 2010 Crystal Ball at The Courtyards of Andover, where they enjoyed a cocktail reception, silent and live auctions, musical entertainment and fabulous food and drink.

The evening’s theme was Hollywood glam – complete with a red carpet entrance, paparazzi, a complimentary “Pretty in Pink” cosmopolitan bar and Oscars galore.

The popular annual event raised $240,000, which will support Women’s and Children’s services at both hospitals this year. Using funds from the ball Funds, the Family Birth Centers at Mercy and Unity will be remodeled to bring the accommodations up to date and create a more serene environment for mothers and babies.

The hospitals’ Wee Read Program, which promotes early childhood learning by reading to infants, will receive funds allowing them to give a special book to each baby born at Mercy and Unity hospitals this year. Local author and illustrator Debra Frasier appeared at the event to sign copies of her award-winning book, On the Day You Were Born.

The Foundation would like to thank the generous sponsors and tireless volunteers who made this year’s event a tremendous success.

Mark your calendars for next year’s Crystal Ball, which will take place at a new location: Saturday, April 2, 2011 at the Northland Inn in Brooklyn Park.

Mercy and Unity Hospitals Receive National Cancer Care Award

Mercy and Unity Cancer Centers have received the 2009 Outstanding Achievement Award from the Commission on Cancer of the American College of Surgeons. The prestigious award recognizes programs that strive for excellence in providing quality care to cancer patients.

“Our cancer program provides outstanding care rarely seen in a community hospital. It’s hard to believe that our cancer program can be even better, but we are always improving,” said John Stoltenberg, MD, interim president of Unity Hospital.

“It is the community that really benefits from quality cancer care close to home,” said Tom O’Connor, president of Mercy Hospital. “We are fortunate to have a comprehensive staff and dedicated physicians who work as a team to provide the best treatment options, information and support for cancer patients and their families.”

Commission on Cancer’s Outstanding Achievement Award

Cancer centers granted the Commission on Cancer’s Outstanding Achievement Award demonstrate compliance with multiple program activities and standards including cancer committee leadership, cancer data management, research, community outreach and quality improvement.

In addition, the Commission recognized additional services provided at both hospitals, such as the Neighbors Caring for Neighbors program. This program connects patients with providers who offer massage, healing touch, legal and other services.

Mercy and Unity Cancer Centers were among 82 award winners, representing only 8 percent of the 432 programs that were surveyed in 2009.
For more information about cancer care at Unity and Mercy hospitals, visit

Virginia Piper Cancer Institute Construction Continues on the Unity Campus

“It’s a dream come true,” says Connie Fiebiger, RN, patient care director at Unity Hospital of the Virginia Piper Cancer Institute (VPCI) scheduled to open in the new Fridley Medical Center in late 2010.  “We have always had great services, but in multiple locations on our campus.  Now we’ll have even better services all under one roof, which is a great benefit for patients.”

When it’s complete, patients and families will experience a welcoming and healing environment, in addition to the comprehensive care they need and deserve.  A fireplace, comfortable chairs, a library and a spa-like atmosphere will provide a healing environment for patients and families.  Doctors and other caregivers will be able to work efficiently and coordinate their efforts. 


The center will provide a full-service oncology clinic, with a variety of patient services, including genetic counseling, chemotherapy and specialized holistic therapies and support services.  Radiation therapy services will be available on the Unity Hospital campus. 

Multidisciplinary Teams

The VPCI will implement a multidisciplinary team approach to cancer care, meaning that for each type of cancer, a team that may include medical oncologists, surgeons, radiation oncologists, pathologists, radiologists and other caregivers will review cases and use their collective knowledge to create the best treatment plan for each patient. 

These teams, each specializing in a specific type of cancer, work to provide better outcomes and faster recoveries.  Patients will often be able to see several of their doctors on the same day in the same place. 

With the VPCI care model, nurse coordinators help guide patients through their diagnosis, treatment and continuing care. 
“The nurse coordinators are experienced registered nurses who educate patients about their cancer, assist them in making appointments, communicate with doctors and answer their questions,” says Timothy D. Sielaff, MD, PhD, MBA, fellow of the American College of Surgeons, president, VPCI.  “They help patients access all of the resources available to them.  These individuals are an extremely valuable component of our patients’ ongoing experience at the Virginia Piper Cancer Institute.”

In addition to the new building and expanded services, visitors will also see expanded parking lots and a new entry to the campus.  New trees and landscaping will be added to the campus later this summer to provide a serene, healing environment for hospital’s neighbors, its patients and their families.

Construction and landscaping are scheduled to be complete the end of October. An open house celebration will be held at that time to introduce the new building and services to the community.

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A Patient’s Perspective

“I’m a cardiac nurse at North Memorial Hospital. My family lives in Oak Grove. On my way to work April 3, I started experiencing upper chest and right arm pain. I drove straight to Mercy Hospital.

Within 15 minutes of entering the Emergency Department, I had an EKG, was diagnosed with an acute myocardial infarction (a.k.a. heart attack) and was in the Cath Lab for intervention soon after.

I know how difficult it can be to treat heart conditions. I feel lucky that a community hospital has excellent heart care and an excellent Emergency Department, and that I could not have received better care at any other hospital.”

Mercy and Unity Hospitals Foundation

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