Compassionate Act Has Multiplier Effect
Sometimes it takes just a few words to tell the story of an act of great kindness: Person A sees Person B in difficulty and takes action, so Person B gets help during a troubling situation.
And sometimes an act of simple kindness can spread, its narrative spinning out over many years in an ongoing chronicle of caring people taking steps to alleviate the troubles of others.
At Wake Forest Baptist, one act of kindness for a struggling patient was part of a long habit of thoughtfulness by a medical “family” of staff and volunteers. The gesture made an important difference for that patient, and later resulted in a gift of $20,000 in support of Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center’s culture of kindness.
On a friend’s recommendation, Andy and his family sought an opinion from “Bowman Gray,” as the friend called it. He did so, and physicians admitted him to intensive care, where he spent 60 days. His wife stayed with him in his room for most of the time. The couple’s personal resources were so slim that Andy would eat half his hospital meal and give his wife the other half because the family was “too poor to eat in the cafeteria.”
Officials at Wake Forest Baptist learned years later from Andy’s daughter that during that difficult time, a doctor heard of the family’s dire financial situation and gave the order for Andy to receive two food trays at every meal so that he and his wife each could each have enough to eat.
His family never forgot that moment of kindness and many others they were shown during his illness. In fact, his daughter has found a way to support such kindness for other patients and families.
While working at SlideRocket at VMware, a Bay Area online presentation software company with around 35 employees, she presented her father’s story to fellow employees and asked them to contribute to Wake Forest Baptist’s Cancer Patient Support Program, which assists patients and their families in need.
Her presentation resulted in an initial contribution of $10,000. Funds from the original and subsequent gifts, now amounting to some $20,000, are supporting several initiatives that help families through difficult times.
In the weekly survivor sessions for groups and individuals, nurses, nutritionists, physicians, counselors and other medical professionals help patients and their families cope with, and make the most of, their survivorship. Program themes include symptom management, emotional well-being, eating well during and after treatment, caring for the caregiver, sexuality and cancer treatment, and other pertinent topics.
Orientations, nourishment, entertainment, counseling—all continuing Wake Forest Baptist’s tradition of thoughtful care, with help from a daughter whose struggling parents received a simple act of kindness when they needed it most.
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