Tales of Holiday Healthcare Cheer
Holidays at the hospital can be hard. Hospital staff, like nurses and medicals assistants, can tell you that it’s often difficult for patients and healthcare providers alike.
Fortunately, the holidays also offer a bit of light in the wintry darkness. Here are three instances of hospital workers bringing joy to others during the holidays. One is a profile of generosity, one is sweetly tragic, and one is an ongoing project of compassion right here in Utah.
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Toys for All!
Last year, children at Advocate Children’s Hospital in Oak Lawn, Illinois awoke to a surprise: a hospital recreation room full of toys. It wasn’t Santa who visited them, though. The gifts were from Jessie Tendayi, one of the hospital’s cafeteria workers. Tendayi had saved around $4,500 of her own money throughout the year so that the kids could have a proper Christmas. “It’s not about being rich,” she told the Chicago Tribune. “The little we have, we can share.”
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Jacob Thompson’s Christmas in November
Just a warning: This next story might pull at your heartstrings a bit too much.
Last month, The Washington Post reported on the story of Jacob Thompson, a terminally ill boy who loved Christmas.
Jacob probably wasn’t going to live to see Christmas. He’d spent more than half of his life battling cancer, and his doctors predicted that he’d succumb to the disease before December. He’d leave before being able to see Santa, hear carols, or smell the scent of a Christmas tree one last time.
Jacob’s friends, family, and healthcare providers had a solution: They gave him an early Christmas in November. They brought a tree into his hospital room and decorated it. Well-wishers sent him cards decorated with penguins, his favorite animal. Local news picked up the story and soon Jacob was receiving holiday joy from all over. Even Santa Claus got in on it, making a November appearance in Portland, Maine.
Jacob and his family celebrated Christmas on November 12. He passed away a week later, but not before knowing the joy of the holiday.
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The Forgotten Patient
Any healthcare worker can tell you that being a patient is an ordeal. Struggling with illness and injury is hard, but hospitals also break people away from their friends, family, and home life. Being in the hospital can be lonely, and it’s even lonelier on days that are all about family and togetherness.
That’s why the Utah State Hospital sponsors the Forgotten Patient Christmas Project, which seeks to bring holiday joy to people who would otherwise be alone. For decades now, Utah volunteers have given gifts to patients who otherwise might get little or nothing on Christmas. The program doesn’t just provide toys to lonely kids. The Forgotten Patient Christmas Project serves people of any age and often connects isolated people with essential items of daily living like clothing and hygiene items.
These are only a few examples of hospital workers being a source of hope. Are you ready to be a light to patients? Visit our program pages to learn more about our nursing and RN–BSN programs, or follow us on Facebook.