A message to the WVU Medicine-WVU Hospitals Family

We have all heard inspiring stories about “Christmas miracles” associated with this time of the year. There’s no better feeling than witnessing or playing a role in the story of a patient successfully rebounding from a serious illness or injury, especially if the diagnosis was grim.

And while some of us work in direct patient care, and others support operations and serve as volunteers, all of us play a part in our patients’ stories. And these stories are particularly meaningful during the holiday season, when spirits are high.

What is truly wonderful about the spirit of the season is that palpable feeling of good will that lifts us up. We are doing great things on a daily basis, but our desire to bring joy to others, especially outside of our normal work environment, seems to escalate as the calendar turns from November to December.

I’m so pleased when I get to announce our annual contribution to United Way, which benefits 27 health and human services in Monongalia and Preston counties. We exceeded this year’s campaign goal of $200,000, thanks to you, and over the years, WVU Medicine and its employees have contributed more than $1.6 million to the organization.

But along with this and other institution-wide charitable efforts, there are many acts that occur on an individual, group, or departmental level to make the holidays brighter for others.

A total of 122 children were “adopted” by employees this year through Care Management’s Employee Holiday Assistance Program, which has been around for more than 20 years. There are similar programs in the area with a similar mission: to give us an opportunity to share our blessings with others and help them enjoy the holidays.

As part of this program, the Department of Radiology adopted two four-year-old girls – and the outpouring of love and care was impressive. One of the offices used to house the gifts donated to the girls resembled an aisle in Toys R Us. But along with toys, the employees also bought and donated winter clothing for the girls, including coats, boots, hats, and gloves.

The spirit of giving is contagious and not restricted to our staff and volunteers. Recently, one of our former WVU Medicine Children’s PICU patients, Eliza (pictured above, left, with Tracey Hintze, RN), reflected on her experience and decided to give back. While a patient, she enjoyed taking rides in the PICU's pink wagon. A few weeks ago, she stopped by to visit the nurses who cared for her and to present the unit with a brand new pink wagon. This thoughtful little girl and her family will brighten the days of future PICU patients.

Efforts like these are a sign that we are part of a healthy organization – one that is always looking for ways to improve our community and region, even when not directly associated with our patient care. More importantly, it’s what the holiday season is all about: joy.

I wish you and your loved ones all of the joy of the season!

Enjoying the spirit of the season at the WVU Medicine Holiday Celebration, which took place on Dec. 19, are, from left to right: Ella Rae Field, 6 West; Kaylen Albright and Betty Knorpp (hidden), Environmental Services; and Annie Giblisco, 6 West.Caption