Yard sale raises funds for recovery room at hospital in honor of long-time nurse

Photos by Ginny Kropf: Volunteers stand behind a sign in the yard of Kathy Vicknair during a three-day fundraiser to raise money to update the recovery room at Medina Memorial Hospital, in honor of the late Nancy Albanese, who worked there for more than 40 years. From left are Michaelene Prest, Pat Howe and Jean Weatherbee.

By Ginny Kropf, correspondent Posted 13 September 2020 at 2:37 pm

LYNDONVILLE – Plans to honor a long-time nurse at Medina Memorial Hospital may have been put on hold due to the pandemic, but they got a big boost from a fundraiser Thursday, Friday and Saturday at the home of Kathy and Vic Vicknair of Lyndonville.

Nancy Albanese was an employee of Medina Memorial Hospital for more than 40 years, where she worked in the Post Anesthesia Care Unit (Recovery Room). After her death Aug. 21, 2019, her family wanted to do something for the hospital in memory of Albanese.

Jean Weatherbee, left, sprays hand sanitizer on Susan Pawlaczyk of Middleport, before she checks out the yard sale and raffles which will benefit renovations at Medina Memorial Hospital in honor of the late Nancy Albanese. Looking on, from left, are Kathy Vicknair, who offered to host the fundraiser at her home on Lyndonville Road; Heather Smith, director of the Orleans Community Health Foundation; and Kim Gray, director of surgical services at the hospital.

Albanese’s brother David Shanley of Orchard Park contacted the hospital to see what they could do. He learned the Recovery Room where Albanese had worked for so long was in need of a lot of renovation, and the family intended to donate an amount of money to accomplish it. But after the community and hospital employees heard about it, they wanted to be involved, and a public fundraiser was planned.

Originally, the event was going to take place in April the gift shop and lobby, said Heather Smith, director of the Orleans Community Health Foundation. Then the pandemic brought an end to all events.

Dozens of baskets and gifts which had been donated for a raffle were packed up and taken to the Vicknair’s home until the Hospital Foundation could decide how they could use them. They talked about the shortage of money, and they discussed having an event in the hospital parking lot. That meant, however, they could only run it one day and that would cut down on their profit.

Then Kathy Vicknair came up with the idea to have it at her house. She was familiar with fundraising, having started a Pink Crystal Ball in 2007 to support those diagnosed with breast cancer. She ran that for five years, then took five years off and had another the following year.

“We knew we had to come up with some answer soon,” Vicknair said. “Then I went to bed one night and woke up at 4 a.m. and thought, ‘Why don’t I have it here.’ We can do it outside to make sure everything is Covid safe. We are blessed to have had good weather.”

They collected 63 baskets for the raffle and half of her garage full of large-ticket items, including Josh Allen’s No. 17 Bills jerseys donated by Vicknair’s cousin Patrick Boyle.

Then they added a yard sale, with several tables full of donated merchandise.

When guests arrived, their hands were sprayed with sanitizer and everyone was required to wear a mask.

Initial plans in the Recovery Room were to apply fresh paint, purchase a new nurse’s desk and chair, install a new privacy curtain system and install new locked storage cabinets for patient’s possessions. Now they have been expanded to include floor tiles and lighting.

The room will be refurbished from floor to ceiling, Smith said.

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