Generosity, creativity help pediatric patients at WCA Hospital

JAMESTOWN – For several years, the radiology staff at WCA Hospital wanted to improve the comfort and safety of pediatric patients who underwent x-ray testing. It was sometimes very difficult to keep a child comfortable and from moving during the procedure. Thanks to the generosity of the patrons of The Rio restaurant, and the creativity of WCA Hospital employees, their vision was recently realized.

Last summer, John Curtiss, owner of The Rio restaurant in Frewsburg, who was well known for his long blonde ponytail, decided that he would be willing to cut and donate his hair to support pediatric cancer patients through “Locks of Love.” His idea generated momentum amongst his patrons and continued to grow in scope.

“Our patrons got really excited with the idea of benefiting sick children,” Curtiss remembers. “This was something we had never done before, but my customers really pulled together in a fantastic way.”

Ultimately, additional fundraisers were added to the cause and the decision was made for the dollars raised to stay local for the benefit of pediatric patients. Curtiss called Karl Sisson, WCA director of development, to tell him they had raised $684 for pediatric patients served by WCA Hospital, but wasn’t sure where or how to use the gift.

“I contacted the departments here at WCA who treat pediatric patients to see where there might be an appropriate need,” said Sisson. “The Radiology Department explained their desire for a pediatric x-ray chair and John immediately liked the idea.”

Radiology employees tested the only x-ray chair that could be found on the market, but it did not live up to expectations, so it was returned. From there, Mike Field and Steve Davis, members of the WCA Hospital construction team, developed a prototype chair from raw materials. Their creation (the “Field Pediatric X-Ray Chair”) features primary colors and comfortable features, and was very well received by employees and patients alike.

“Because children are calmer and not squirming,” said Tammara Hodges, director of imaging at WCA Hospital, “we can produce better x-ray images.”

Robert Storms, manager of the x-ray department, added, “The kids love the chair. I love to see the smiles on their faces, which we rarely experienced previously.”

After seeing the chair for the first time, Curtiss exclaimed, “I think it’s awesome! I couldn’t be happier because the chair was built right. I just love the design and colors!”

To learn more about The Rio, including the restaurant’s “Burgers From Around the World” menu, call (716) 569-2030 or visit

To support the care and treatment of pediatric patients at WCA Hospital, contact WCA Hospital Development Office, at 664-8423, view the Wish List at, or mail your tax-deductible gift to: WCA Office of Development, PO Box 840, Jamestown, NY 14702-0840.