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MOVE TO INCLUDE is a partnership between WXXI and the Golisano Foundation designed to promote inclusion for people with intellectual and physical disabilities. Through programming and special events, WXXI and the Golisano Foundation look to build a more inclusive community by inspiring and motivating people to embrace different abilities and include all people in every aspect of community life.

Legacy from former Lifetime Assistance manager is a greeting card company

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Lifetime Assistance, the local organization that helps people with developmental disabilities live with the highest possible level of independence, has another way to provide those services.

It involves a donation from  longtime employee, Bob Hickey, who died after a battle with cancer earlier this year.

Hickey had a side business. He founded Patent Press Greeting Cards, which is a boutique line of greeting cards featuring artwork that originally accompanied actual patent applications filed with the United States Patent & Trademark Office.

Hickey arranged to leave that greeting card operation to Lifetime Assistance, to provide an in-house business in which the agency’s clients could work.

Hickey’s wife, Annette Hickey, said that after her husband got a diagnoses of pancreatic cancer earlier this year, they talked about his wish to donate the greeting card company, and how he felt it would add to the work experience for clients of Lifetime Assistance.

A greeting card from Patent Press Greeting Cards with the image of the patent for a camera from 1887 on the front.

“He just thought that this was a perfect fit because they could get the greeting card orders and then they could wrap up the orders and get the cards pulled and get them all wrapped up and then ship the orders out,” said Hickey. “So it was really a good fit for a lot of the skills that people at lifetime had.”

Katie Gillespie is Director of Community Services for Lifetime. She said this donation by Bob Hickey fits in well with how he viewed the mission of the organization.

“He was very passionate about helping people with disabilities find employment and be successful in employment,” said Gillespie. “So this wasn't just a legacy to continue his card business, but to continue to have employment opportunities for people with disabilities.”

There are currently 3 people working for the card company at Lifetime Assistance.  Gillespie said that the Lifetime Assistance clients being employed for work on the greeting card company uses some different skills from other work they may have been doing. 

A greeting card from Patent Press Greeting Cards with the image of the patent for a Lego figure on the front.

“It’s a different experience currently in our Work Center. We do light production shredding and scanning. So this is different from what we’ve been traditionally teaching people skills on, it goes a little bit more to the creative side,” said Gilliespie.

Officials said the team at the organization spent several months working to relocate the business to Lifetime’s Work Center on Paul Road.

The cards are printed by Image Printers, the same Rochester-based company who had worked with Hickey, and pricing remains the same.

This story was produced by WXXI’s Inclusion Desk, focusing on disabilities and inclusion. 

Randy Gorbman is WXXI's director of news and public affairs. Randy manages the day-to-day operations of WXXI News on radio, television, and online.