Annual Fund Dollars Help Improve Access to Driver Rehab Therapy


Fletcher Allen's Driver Rehabilitation Program—a service that assesses people's driving skills and provides interventions and treatments—got a boost recently with $30,000 from Fletcher Allen's Annual Fund. The money was used to purchase a new Driver Rehab car and will allow the program to bring on an additional driver rehabilitation specialist.

The busy program, based at the Fanny Allen Campus, serves a wide range of patients—from those who have suffered a stroke or illness and need to regain their driving skills, to elderly residents at risk of no longer being able to drive, to students approaching driving age who may have some limitations to their driving ability. There are often long wait times for driver assessments.

The funds will help expand the program and reduce those wait times, said Steve Eyler, director of Rehabilitation Therapies and Respiratory Care Services at Fletcher Allen. It has a profound impact on what we do," Eyler said. "It will allow us to see patients in a more timely manner."

The use of these funds is one example of the many ways Annual Fund dollars are improving care for patients.

Typically, Annual Fund dollars are not designated for specific programs. In this case, the Driver Rehab funds came from an unspecified donation from the Mervyn L. Brenner Foundation and Marc Monheimer. The need was identified and funds were made available for the program.

Monheimer, a Fletcher Allen Foundation Board member and former Fletcher Allen trustee, said it's critical to have a pool of money that is unrestricted and can be used for any number of unmet needs. "Having that flexibility is an enormous benefit."

With the Driver Rehab program, having a new car also gives patients greater confidence—not just in the car itself but in the service that's being provided, Eyler said. "For the therapist providing the service, it makes it clear that Fletcher Allen values the service and values what they do," Eyler said.

Before purchasing the new car—a charcoal gray 2012 Chevy Impala—Driver Rehab therapists were relying on an older model, which needed frequent repair. They will still use the older car as well as the new one, and now have a back-up when a car needs to go in for service.

The Driver Rehab program is staffed by occupational therapists who are also licensed driving school instructors and certified driver rehabilitation specialists. Therapists assess patient's driving skills in the clinic, where they look at complex skills needed for driving, such as reaction time, scanning, decision-making and other abilities. Patients who pass that evaluation then are assessed behind the wheel.

Depending on the assessment, the program offers a variety of interventions and follow-up care—from adding adaptations such as special mirrors or hand controls to counseling patients and recommending other transportation options if driving is no longer possible.

Delivering the bad news that no one wants to hear—that a parent or loved one is no longer able to drive—can be stressful, Eyler said. "For the therapists, knowing that Fletcher Allen is doing what it can to make sure they have the proper equipment makes it easier for them to do their jobs."

Planned giving: how you can leave a legacy

One of the most meaningful ways you can contribute to Fletcher Allen is through a planned charitable gift. This approach allows you to take into account your personal financial needs, plan for your future and leave a lasting legacy for a vital community resource. > LEARN MORE

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Grateful Patient Shares Her Story

One fall day after coming in from a run, Kara Greenblott noticed a very small lump on her right shin. She didn't think much of it; it looked like a bruise. Over the next month, however, when it didn't go away, Kara decided to have it checked out.

After a series of tests failed to show anything conclusive, surgeons at Fletcher Allen performed a bone biopsy. The results were hard to believe: Kara's bruise was a cancerous tumor known as Ewing's sarcoma.

"It was just very shocking," said Kara, who was 43 at the time. "There was no cancer in my family that we knew of, and I felt perfectly healthy."

Kara's case was extremely unusual. Ewing's sarcoma is a childhood cancer and is rarely seen in adults. The treatment protocol involved nine months of in-patient chemotherapy, as well as surgery to replace the tumor bone with healthy cadaver bone.

Kara, a Burlington resident, knew she could get the chemotherapy she needed at Fletcher Allen, but was uncertain at first about where to have the surgery, a technically complicated procedure. She had a consultation at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City but ultimately chose to stay at Fletcher Allen, in the care of orthopedic surgeon Jennifer Lisle, M.D.

Kara was extremely pleased with Dr. Lisle, who went out of her way to answer questions, explain complex details of the surgery and provided a great deal of moral support. That kind of personal treatment was something Kara witnessed throughout her care. She had to have her chemotherapy as an inpatient and spent three to five days in the hospital during treatments, which took place every other week. The nurses' upbeat attitudes helped her stay positive.

"The nurses on Shepardson 4 became part of my family," she said. "They were probably the most amazing part of the whole experience. They were just incredible." Kara's oncologist, Mark Greenblatt, M.D., was also kind and supportive, and he coordinated closely with a Ewings specialist at Sloan Kettering throughout the treatment.

Kara was also grateful for the many services available to cancer patients through the Cancer Patient Support Program and the Victoria Buffum Fund. During her treatment, she received massage and reiki treatments and took free classes in yoga, meditation and nutrition, all designed specifically for cancer patients.

After her surgery, Kara had a great deal of help and support from family and friends, and ongoing physical therapy treatments. Five months after the surgery, she was able to walk without assistance. A year after her surgery, she went for a run for the first time.

Today, Kara is fully recovered. She no longer runs on a regular basis, as the impact is too much on her leg, but she works out daily at the gym and kayaks every chance she gets. Kara is a consultant in international development, focused on HIV, food security and nutrition, and travels to Africa several times a year for her work. A hospital volunteer before her surgery, she started volunteering again—this time in the Hematology/Oncology clinic. She now spends every other Friday afternoon there with her dog Ginga a therapy dog with Therapy Dogs of Vermont.

"I feel like I can contribute a lot more now when I'm volunteering at the hospital," she said. "I'm actually sitting down with people who are getting chemo, and that's how it was for me for a whole year . . . Some people ask me why I want to go back there; doesn't it bring back bad memories? But the truth is it's kind of the opposite. It's a really good reminder about how lucky I am, how fortunate I am that my treatment worked."

Grateful Patient Program

Later this year, Fletcher Allen will be launching a Grateful Patient Program, allowing grateful patients to give directly to the people who took care of them and recognize the work of their care teams. For more information, contact the Fletcher Allen Foundation at (802) 847-2887 or

Team Fletcher Allen for the KeyBank VT City Marathon

On May 27, runners joined us to help raise funds to support our new oncology rehabilitation program, Steps to Wellness. Each runner was asked to raise a minimum of $300 to participate. To learn more about the program, visit

Community Members, Patients Honor Doctors on Doctors' Day

On Doctors' Day, March 30th, Fletcher Allen paid tribute to the women and men at our academic medical center who have dedicated their lives in service to the patient, community and medicine. We also invited grateful patients and community members to join in honoring the doctors who have touched their lives. Patients had the opportunity to send a personal thank you or make a gift in honor of a physician.

All together, 181 doctors were honored and 225 tributes were submitted by grateful patients. In addition, 35 gifts were received, totaling more than $36,000.

We would like to thank everyone who took this opportunity to recognize the doctors in their lives. Your support helps ensure that doctors at Fletcher Allen have the tools and resources they need to provide the best care possible.

For more information about paying tribute to or making a gift in honor of your doctor, contact the Fletcher Allen Foundation at (802) 847-2887 or email:

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Big Change Roundup for Kids Breaks Fundraising Record

This year's Big Change Roundup brought in a record-breaking, one-year total of $220,000—making for a grand total of more than $1 million raised over the past seven years. The event is the largest fundraiser for Vermont Children's Hospital each year. Proceeds directly support health care services and programs for young patients and their families.

The annual coin-collecting campaign is a joint effort of Fletcher Allen and 98.9 WOKO-FM, with support from hundreds of local businesses and community groups and thousands of schoolchildren from throughout the region. Key sponsors this year include Maplefields, New England Federal Credit Union, Walmart and Pete's RV Center.

"We are so grateful for the outpouring of support from schools, businesses and people of all ages throughout Vermont and northern New York who made it possible for us to reach our ambitious $220,000 goal," said Lewis First, M.D., chief of Pediatrics at Vermont Children's Hospital. "It's a wonderful reflection of the commitment this region has to providing the best possible health care for children."

Fletcher Allen Receives $400,000 Gift to Support Medical Research
at the Vermont Cancer Center

A $400,000 bequest from the estate of Barbara G. Stevens, a longtime resident of Morrisville, Vt., will be directed to the Vermont Cancer Center at the University of Vermont and Fletcher Allen. Mrs. Stevens died in April 2011 at the age of 85. She asked that her donation support medical research at Fletcher Allen.

"Cancer research is a priority for our academic medical center, and we are extremely grateful for this generous gift," said John Brumsted, M.D., president and chief executive officer at Fletcher Allen. "We are committed to providing the best possible cancer care for patients and their families throughout the region we serve. A strong research program enhances those efforts. Mrs. Stevens' gift will go a long way in supporting research that will help to extend and enhance the lives of our patients."

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Joint Fletcher Allen/UVM Event Honors Work of Barbara Grant, M.D.

In April, Fletcher Allen, the University of Vermont College of Medicine and the Vermont Cancer Center collaborated to produce a special event to honor Barbara Grant, M.D., an associate professor of medicine and director of the Stem Cell Program, who is retiring. Dr. Grant's peers, patients and colleagues shared testimonials of her outstanding work and life-saving care throughout many years of service. Dr. Grant shared her thoughts about the importance of research in lymphoma and hematologic malignancies and its significance in the care of patients. The event is one of the ways the Fletcher Allen Foundation and UVM Foundation are working together and strengthening their collaboration to further support patient care, education and research at our academic medical center.

Two New York Hospitals Pursue Affiliation with Fletcher Allen Partners

Under a recently signed letter of intent, two northern New York hospitals—Champlain Valley Physicians Hospital Medical Center in Plattsburgh and Elizabethtown Community Hospital—have agreed in principle to become part of a four-hospital, cross-lake affiliation under Fletcher Allen Partners, the parent organization of Fletcher Allen and Central Vermont Medical Center in Berlin, Vermont.

The proposed affiliation will establish a coordinated, highly integrated health care system that will help improve quality, increase access and lower the costs of health care in the communities served by the four hospitals in our service region.

Fletcher Allen Partners, established in October 2011 to develop a more coordinated system of care throughout the region, has already achieved cost savings for both Fletcher Allen and CVMC.

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Fletcher Allen Participates in National Trial
of Revolutionary Heart Valve Procedure

Fletcher Allen recently performed its first two patient implants in the Medtronic CoreValve® U.S. Pivotal Trial. Fletcher Allen is one of 45 sites in the United States participating in an important clinical study evaluating the safety and effectiveness of a new technology that enables aortic valve replacement without traditional open-heart surgery. Many patients with severe aortic stenosis are unable to receive surgical valve therapy. For patients at high risk for open-heart surgery, this trial will study the efficacy of a less-invasive treatment option.

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Auxiliary Gift Supports New Cardiology Testing Suite

Members of the Fletcher Allen Auxiliary joined Cardiology staff and Fletcher Allen leaders to celebrate the opening of a new Non-Invasive Cardiology testing suite on April 17. The new space—made possible by a generous $500,000 pledge over five years from the Auxiliary—is the beginning of several phases of renovations in the Non-Invasive Cardiology Clinic. The new area includes expanded clinic space for our electrocardiogram services and designated clinical research space. Additional renovations underway this spring and summer will expand echocardiogram services.

The Auxiliary's contributions were critical in getting the project off the ground. President and CEO John Brumsted, M.D., noted that the renovations will improve patient flow and enhance our efforts to provide timely care for our patients. He also thanked the Auxiliary for their years of support for this organization. "I want to acknowledge the Auxiliary's work, not just today, but over many, many years. You continue to be the single largest Fletcher Allen donor—contributing millions of dollars for essential programs and services."

23rd Annual Fletcher Allen Golf Tournament

Burlington Country Club
Monday, July 16, 2012
Two shotgun starts: 7:00am and 1:00pm

Last year this tournament raised over $80,000 to support families, programs and services at Vermont Children's Hospital. With your support and participation we can exceed that goal this year. In addition to breakfast and lunch, your registration fee will include On-Course Contests and a 19th Hole Cocktail Party.

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