More than 150 staff members and visitors to Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center recently took the pledge to "Spread the Word to End the Word," a campaign supported by the Golisano Foundation urging society to end the use of the R-word.
To millions of people worldwide who have intellectual and developmental disabilities - and to their families and friends - being called a retard or retarded is as hurtful, cruel and offensive as any other slur.
"With the upcoming May opening of the Golisano Center for Community Health, we are spreading the word to end the use of the 'R' word," Memorial Medical Center President and CEO Joseph A. Ruffolo said. "We strongly believe people with intellectual and developmental disabilities should always be treated with dignity and respect and be valued for their abilities."
The innovative Golisano Center will provide comprehensive integrated health care services to adults with special needs, including intellectual and developmental disabilities, and to their families. The center is supported by a $3.5 million gift from businessman and philanthropist Tom Golisano.
"We think it's important to encourage all people, not just the Memorial team, to think twice before using words that perpetuate stigma and negative stereotypes," Ruffolo said. "Change how you see and see how you change."