Get your smile cookie at local Tim Hortons between April 29 – May 5.  Proceeds benefit WCA Foundation and other community organizations.

L-R Tammara Hodges, Director of Imaging Services at UPMC Chautauqua;  Kristin Melville, Executive Director WCA Foundation, and Cummins Employees: Marilyn Hoyt, Melissa Pollino, Brelynn Ball, and Becky Owles present to UPMC Chautauqua’s Heart Center a donation of $6,800 from the proceeds of their employee valentine campaign for February American Heart Month. Annually, Cummins employees raise funds through their rose and candy sales for local residents receiving cardiac care.

Northwest Bank presented the WCA Foundation with a check for $2,000 for scholarships for students at UPMC Chautauqua’s School of Laboratory Science. The school is located on the Jones Health Campus on Glasgow Avenue, Jamestown. Donors wishing to learn more about the program and take a tour of the school may contact the WCA Foundation.

Pictured L-R Cecil Miller, Vice President of Operations, UPMC Chautauqua; Jim Domagola, Treasurer and Finance Chair, WCA Foundation; Tim Black, Vice President, WCA Foundation; Chip Johnson, Board Member, WCA Foundation; Kelly Johnson, Esq. Secretary, WCA Foundation. Executive Director, Kristin Melville and Board President, James Pullan, Jr.

The WCA Foundation awarded UPMC Chautauqua with a grant allocation of $684,900, the largest gift in the foundation’s history outside of a capital campaign gift given to UPMC Chautauqua’s Emergency Department renovation, completed in 2012.

James Pullan, Jr., WCA Foundation Board President said, “The WCA Foundation was founded more than 42 years ago and is a private non-profit organization whose sole mission is to provide philanthropic support to UPMC Chautauqua. All funds distributed to the hospital stay in the community as donors have intended.  A gift to the WCA Foundation can be restricted to a specific need or it may be applied to the hospital’s greatest need. Most importantly the funds always support patient care. Taking care of our community is our number one goal.”

“The WCA Foundation works in partnership with UPMC Chautauqua and was founded by donors who appreciated their medical care at the hospital, grateful patients. Each any every day we are serving our community through every department of the hospital. Funds touch all lives, from newborn to end-of-life. Donors often feel giving to the foundation gives them a full range of medical care to support, and their giving supports patients from every corner of our community,” said Kristin Melville, WCA Executive Director.  

This year’s grant will purchase a van for patients receiving care from the Chemical Dependency program to assist with transportation to and from job interviews, work, and group sessions.  Transportation reduces the barriers for patients in the program that could prevent successful transitions.

Rapid Emergency Department Infuser administers blood products and fluids at a rapid rate to critically ill patients and Continuous Glucose Monitoring CD Rehab reduces the number of Emergency Department visits related to blood sugar emergencies and helps patients avoid their blood glucose from rising or falling to quickly. Remaining funds will support and enhance every department of the hospital, from equipment and program needs to scholarship funds for staff development and training, and students pursuing their medical careers.

 The WCA Foundation raises funds throughout the year through events hosted by donors, annual fund campaign, personal giving, memorial giving, endowment funds, and the generosity of estate giving. Pullan concluded the gift ceremony, “We have an incredible board of directors, committee volunteers, foundation staff, and generous donors who wholeheartedly work and volunteer their time to ensure our local hospital has everything they need to provide state of the art healthcare right here at home.”

The WCA Foundation celebrates 42 years of supporting patient care, providing $11M in grant funds to WCA Hospital, and now UPMC Chautauqua. FMI: To donate or learn more, visit or contact their office located at Jones Health, 51 Glasgow Avenue, Jamestown, New York, 14702-0840, at 716-664-8665.

Pictured in the photo: L-R Kristin Melville, Executive Director, WCA Foundation, Anne Sischo, Founder of the Shades of Pink Golf Tournament, Brooke Mareri, Mammographer at UPMC Chautauqua Mammography Department, and Tammara Hodges, Director of Imaging Services at UPMC Chautauqua. Anne Sischo presents the UPMC Chautauqua Mammography Department with the proceeds of the Shades of Pink Golf Tournament that was held on August 4, at South Hills Country Club.

Shades of Pink Golf Tournament founder and philanthropist, Anne Sischo presented UPMC Chautauqua’s Mammography Department with a check for $20,982 from the proceeds of the Annual Shades of Pink Golf Tournament that was held on August 4, at South Hills Country Club. Anne, a cancer survivor was diagnosed in 2015 with breast cancer. After receiving a full recovery,  Anne wanted to pay it forward to help other breast cancer patients. While receiving care, she recognized the distinct benefits of clinical navigators.  Clinical navigators guide patients through the health care system through the maze of scheduled tests, appointments, and shared information. Anne said, “Clinical navigators are critical to patients’ support systems by building relationships that ease the anxiety of a cancer diagnosis. Their support makes a significant difference in directing the phases of care from diagnosis, treatment, and surgery by coordinating their care each step of the way.” Anne and her husband, Steve Sischo, along with good friend, Randy Grey raised the initial funds to create an endowment at the WCA Foundation through their shared love of golf. The Shades of Pink Golf Tournament was born and has expanded over the past eight years bringing together more friends, families, neighbors, and business sponsors. Today,  local patients have benefited from their philanthropy; the fund has grown to over $60,000.  Funds from the endowment continue to support clinical navigator certifications, mammography staff development, and prevention education. The goal of the annual tournament is to raise funds so that every breast cancer patient receives what they need to move forward to their next stage of survivorship.

Kristin Melville, executive director of the WCA Foundation said, “ When I think of Anne and Steve and how they have rallied their community to help others, I think of the quote made famous by Margaret Meade, American cultural anthropologist, who said, “ ‘ Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. ‘ ”

For those who would like to make a gift to support the Shades of Pink Endowment at the WCA Foundation may visit or may contact the WCA Foundation at 716-664-8665, or mail a tax deductible gift to the WCA Foundation, Jones Health, 51 Glasgow, Avenue, PO Box 840, Jamestown, NY 14702-0840.

Photo Caption: From left, Kim Carlson, who established A Fresh Start Endowment through the WCA Foundation in memory of her son, Alex, is pictured with Erika Remington, RN (right), UPMC Chautauqua Outpatient Nurse Coordinator II.  A newly established program at UPMC Chautauqua Behavioral Health Services supported by the Fresh Start endowment, covers medications for patients until their insurance coverage begins to pay.  To donate to the fund, visit

By Linda Johnson, Donor Specialist, WCA Foundation, Inc.

Kim Carlson fondly remembers Alex’s childhood, filled with laughter, dreams, and boundless potential.  Born in the transitional month of October that heralds the arrival of autumn, Alex was the youngest of two children.  Kim describes her son as a bright, compassionate, and soft-hearted young man bursting with curiosity about the world around him.  “He was a happy little child,” Kim said. “A bundle of youthful energy and curiosity, he did all the things that little people do, and held a genuine tenderness and nurturing demeanor towards people and animals.  Alex had these charming dimples and a sweet infectious smile that had a magical way of getting him out of trouble!”  The world was Alex’s playground, and Kim revealed that his heart was full of dreams and possibilities that embodied the pure joy and potential of childhood.  With a loving and supportive family, Alex had everything he needed to flourish.

The Struggle Begins

During his childhood and adolescent years, Alex embraced an athletic lifestyle that became an integral part of his daily routine and identity.  Kim describes a young boy who loved sports.  “His eyes would light up at the mere mention of hockey and his face would break into that visible expression of joy every time he stepped onto the hockey rink,” said Kim. 

While he had a passion for sports, navigating school posed more challenging for Alex.  “We discovered Alex had a learning disorder called dyslexia which hampered his ability to recognize sounds properly and inhibited his capability to read and write,” said Kim.  “When you are affected by this disorder, nothing comes easy, and he struggled throughout his entire life due to dyslexia.  As concerned parents, we swiftly put recommended measures into place that would help Alex, including prescribed medication for attention deficit disorder, a common approach within the realm of medicine at that time.  In hindsight, it turned out to be a poor choice for Alex.  At the time, I believed that giving my son medication was the right decision for the right reasons.  Regrettably, looking back, I realize it may not have been the best decision for Alex.”

As Alex entered the latter stages of adolescence into adulthood, Kim noticed subtle changes in his behavior.  Concerned, she attempted to approach him about her worries, only to be met with some resistance and denial.  Little did she know, Alex had fallen into the clutches of drug addiction.  “I was watching my son deteriorate before my very eyes,” Kim said with her eyes filled with tears. 

Kim’s worst fears were realized as Alex’s addiction worsened.  He became entangled in a dangerous web of substance abuse, leading him down a destructive path.  Shock and disbelief flooded her as she realized her child was battling addiction.  Kim’s once bright and cheery son was a shadow of his former self, trapped in the relentless grip of chemical dependency.

Overwhelmed with a mix of emotions ranging from fear to concern, Kim knew that immediate action was crucial.  Fueled by unconditional love, Kim embarked on a relentless quest to save her son from the clutches of addiction.  “He had a very difficult time shaking off the addiction of drugs and I was determined to be his advocate,” Kim said with a determination in her voice that only a parent recognizes.  She sought out treatment programs, counseling, education, and a strong network of support to navigate the difficult path ahead.  Each glimmer of hope was often dashed by heartbreaking setbacks as Alex’s addiction seemed insurmountable.  “I felt somewhat safe because Alex was petrified of needles, and I found some comfort in believing that he wasn’t putting a needle in his arm,” said Kim.  “Little did I know at the time that he could actually smoke the stuff.”  As days turned into weeks and then months, Kim’s dedication never wavered.  She became a pillar of strength for her only son.  “I talked to Alex every day,” Kim said.  “His condition wasn’t without its setbacks, but I was determined to become a driving force in his progress.  Through Alex’s struggles, we discovered a closeness, a bond between us that emerged stronger in the face of this dreadful disease.”  Alex was resiliently managing his addiction while remaining dedicated to a job he loved passionately during his recovery years.  “He loved his job,” said Kim.  “He loved those kids.”

The Devastating Loss

After years of battling drug addiction, tragedy struck Kim’s family.  At 26 years of age, Alex lost his life to a drug overdose on February 26, 2016.  With a somber, heart-wrenching tone in her voice, Kim shared, “I remember his last words to me, ‘I love you mama’ and I quickly conveyed I love you too Alex.  That was the very last time I ever talked to him.”  The news shattered Kim’s world, leaving her with a void that could never be filled.  Her pain was palpable.  Grief consumed her, but through the pain, Kim found the strength to share her story, hoping to prevent others from experiencing a similar fate.  

A Fresh Start

In the wake of her son’s passing, Kim became an advocate for addiction awareness, recovery, and prevention.  She channeled her pain into action, tirelessly working to fund A Fresh Start Endowment through the WCA Foundation.  The fund was established to provide encouragement and support through personal experiences for those with chemical dependency in loving memory of her son, Alex.  The establishment of the endowment serves as an inspiration to others who may be facing similar challenges.  It’s a reminder that even in the darkest moments, love, hope, and support can guide us through the toughest of trials.

The Legacy of Love

Kim’s love for her son and her determination to bring about change has had a profound impact.  Through her efforts, she has touched the lives of countless individuals battling addiction and their families at UPMC Chautauqua, providing a glimmer of hope amidst the darkness.  Kim’s story serves as a reminder that behind every devastating loss, are real lives, real families, and real pain.  Kim Carlson’s journey through her son’s addiction and subsequent loss is an agonizing reminder of the devastating consequences of addiction.  Her unwavering love, resilience, and giving back stand as a beacon of hope in the fight against this relentless epidemic.  May her story inspire compassion, understanding, and support for those affected by dependency, and may it serve as a catalyst for change in our society.  

His Ever-Present Memory

Amid the vibrant blooms and fragrant petals at Pea Pod & Juniper, Kim’s floral and gift shop, there rests a pair of well-worn, once shiny hockey skates that tell a story of a young life lived and symbolizes the enduring bond between a mother and her son that transcends time and space.  “I keep Alex’s hockey skates within sight of my floral display table—close enough to be seen at all times,” says Kim with tears welling up in her eyes.  “Each glance at the skates is a moment of connection, a way for me to keep Alex’s memory alive and honor the love that only we shared.”  

Donate To Save a Life from Addiction

Everyone deserves a fresh start and patients recovering from addiction who are reclaiming their lives, no longer need to be concerned that their treatment will be disrupted through a brand-new program at UPMC Chautauqua Outpatient Mental Health and Chemical Dependency Program that will cover medications until their insurance coverage begins to pay.  Please consider donating to support addiction recovery efforts at UPMC Chautauqua.  The WCA Foundation celebrates 42 years of supporting patient care, providing $12M in grant funds to UPMC Chautauqua.  For more information or to learn about the WCA Foundation, visit or contact Kristin Melville, executive director, at 716-664-8665 or email

Linda Johnson, Donor Specialist at the WCA Foundation (center) accepts a donation for UPMC Chautauqua for breast cancer care. Cummins Engine employees participate with UPMC Chautauqua’s mammography staff in October in observance of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month providing education and prevention tools. Pictured with Linda:  Pam Exley, Stacy Kramer, Dori Harshaw Back row. Ryan Dernar, Heather Jensen, Michael Hagadorn, Tim Hill. Cummins Engine employees raised $8,500 for local patients. Linda Johnson said, “We are honored to receive these generous funds. Funds stay local and help both women and men receiving breast cancer care at UPMC Chautauqua. Having been involved with the program many years ago, I am pleased Cummins employees continue to engage and value the support they provide to their community. This makes this gift even more special.”

Kristin Melville, Executive Director, at the WCA Foundation received a donation from Kicking for the Cure, an annual fundraising event led by Southwestern Central School Soccer teams, Girls Modified and Varsity, and the Boys Modified and Varsity.

The fundraising event began as a means to support the late Janet Lindell, a fellow Southwestern Central School graduate, parent, and school employee who was an integral part of the school’s soccer community. She passed away in August of 2021 from a courageous battle with breast cancer. The team has continued to fundraise in her memory with proceeds to benefit local patients receiving breast cancer care at UPMC Chautauqua and to the Janet Lindell Scholarship Fund established at the Chautauqua Region Community Foundation.

Melville, a breast cancer patient herself, thanked the team and coaches for their compassionate fundraising campaign. She remarked, “If there is one take away from this, have a mammogram and encourage others who may be unsure if they need one to have one. Prevention saves lives.”

The WCA Foundation celebrates 41 years of supporting patient care, providing $12M in grant funds to WCA Hospital, and now UPMC Chautauqua. FMI: To donate or learn more, visit or contact their office located at Jones Health, 51 Glasgow Avenue, Jamestown, New York, 14702-0840, at 716-664-8665.

Photo: Marcia Derby, Co- Chairperson; Patti Reed; Brooke Mareri; Corin Derby; Julie Abramson, Co-Chairperson; Joann Murray, Slone Melhuish Insurance; Toni Wirsen, All for Amy; Theresa Jackson, All for Amy; Megan Ludwiczak; Jim Mee, owner Jamestown Bowling Company; and Max Eimiller, Slone Melhuish Insurance. Absent from the photo: Kristy Moore

The committee and major sponsors for the annual Framed in Pink Bowling Over Breast Cancer have finalized plans for the October 22 fundraising event, to be held at the Jamestown Bowling Company, with a 12:00 registration and 1:00 event kick-off.

The fundraising event began in 2014 and has since grown in popularity; nearly 150 bowlers participate each year. The event was founded by the late Sue Lamb and has raised more than $55,000 for local women and men undergoing treatment for breast cancer.

An endowed fund at the WCA Foundation invests the funds and distributes for patient care at UPMC Chautauqua. The committee hopes to raise more funds than last year, with a goal of $15,000. Proceeds help purchase state of the art breast cancer technology that aid in the early detection of breast cancer, and oncology treatment specific to breast cancer care. Event committee members have planned a 50/50 and raffle ticket drawings, as well as a Chinese auction that will include guest resort packages to area attractions, a local golf package extravaganza, and much more.

Sue Lamb passed away in 2021, from health issues unrelated to breast cancer. Her daughters, family members and friends continue to raise funds and awareness in Lamb’s honor. Marcia Derby, Lamb’s daughter and committee co-chair for the event, said, “My mother took great pride in making a difference for patients to live beyond their diagnosis of breast cancer and to enjoy life to the fullest.”

The event welcomes major sponsors, “All for Amy”, a fund at the Chautauqua Region Community Foundation, Slone Melhuish Insurance, Jamestown Bowling Company, and many more local businesses, individuals, and other in-kind donation contributors.

While family and friends gear up for another successful event, all those who are interested in participating and making a financial contribution or in-kind donation may contact or by calling 716-708-0249. Follow the event on Facebook at “2023 Framed in Pink Bowling Over Breast Cancer”.

 The WCA Foundation celebrates 41 years of supporting patient care, providing $12M in grant funds to WCA Hospital, and now UPMC Chautauqua. FMI: To donate or learn more, visit or contact their office located at Jones Health, 51 Glasgow Avenue, Jamestown, New York, 14702-0840, at 716-664-8665.

The WCA Foundation is pleased to announce Joesph Bellitto has joined the WCA Foundation board of directors. Bellitto served as the Comptroller for the City of Jamestown for 30 years, retiring in 2020. A seasoned community volunteer, he has served on various non-profit boards. Currently, he is the vice-president on the Chautauqua Region Community Foundation board and is a member of their executive, investment and audit committees. In addition, he is a member of the finance committee of the United Way of Southern Chautauqua County, where he served on their board of directors as the treasurer.  “A strong local hospital with vital services and wonderful care is essential to our region.  I am honored to serve on the WCA Foundation board of directors to continue its growth and long-term support of UPMC Chautauqua,” said Bellitto.

Bellitto is a life-long resident of Jamestown, and a graduate of Jamestown Community College and Rochester Institute of Technology.  He resides in the Jamestown with his wife Leigh Ann, two grown children and two granddaughters.

The WCA Foundation celebrates 41 years of supporting patient care, providing $12M in grant funds to WCA Hospital, and now UPMC Chautauqua. FMI: To donate or learn more, visit or contact their office located at Jones Health, 51 Glasgow Avenue, Jamestown, New York, 14702-0840, at 716-664-8665.