While blankets are certainly a necessity, to be given one symbolizes caring, compassion and comfort. On Christmas Day, we want to give a blanket to each of our patients here on the Medical Surgical Unit. Our goal is to collect at least 32 warm fuzzy blankets and throws by Christmas Eve.

 

Little did Mendy Dendy know how a simple note she posted in her unit in the days leading up to Christmas would end up touching so many lives. This story, which took place at Elkhart General Hospital, perfectly illustrates how a selfless act of kindness can inspire others and make a big difference to everyone around you.

Earlier this month, Mendy decided to ask her colleagues in the Medical Surgical Unit to donate blankets for patients who have to be in the hospital on Christmas. The RN, CMSRN and shift coordinator thought the gesture might brighten the spirits of patients who have to be hospitalized.

EGH associates from left to right: Karen Yoder, Jeanne Bosse, Oksana Jumanov, Sybil Diehl, Lauren Pineda, Christine Hayes, Lisa Phillips, Laura Nichols and Susan Pierce.

“Mendy is very kind and caring and is always looking to make someone else’s day better,” explains Deanna Roberts, RN, Director of the Medical Surgical Unit, Total Joint Unit, and Nursing Support Services. “She’s also always trying to build our team and knew this would make everyone feel good about doing something for others. It’s just her nature.”

At the beginning of every shift, Mendy would check the cart she had placed in the break room for blankets. The number quickly grew and so did the excitement surrounding the idea.

Before long the cart held more than 40 blankets and throws, several more than the Medical Surgical Unit needed. It turned out that Mendy wasn’t the only associate who wanted to show patients how much the staff working on Christmas Day cared for them.

The response gave Deanna had an idea.

“I wanted to share the idea with other departments so they would all have something special for all our patients if they wanted to,” Deanna says.

Associates who worked across Elkhart General loved it, and the response was overwhelming.

Nurses, doctors, administrative assistants, nursing supervisors and other hospital leaders donated blankets and throws of all sizes, patterns and colors. Deanna came in to work on Christmas Eve and again on Christmas Day to help organize all the blankets and disperse them to units and departments across Elkhart General.

Sylvia Strick, a patient at Elkhart General Hospital on Christmas Day, receives a blanket from Lisa Phillips and Susan Pierce.

At about 7 a.m. Monday morning, during bedside report, the day shift and night shift nurses personally handed every patient at the hospital their very own blanket.

One hundred and twenty five blankets, in all.

The Center for Behavioral Medicine gave its patients hats and gloves that were also donated by associates, Deanna said.

“I’m so very proud to work with associates who not only provide the best medical care,” Deanna adds, “but also show an abundance of compassion to our patients every day.”

Susan Miller, RN, MS, CENP, Executive Director of Nursing, says Mendy and Deanna reminded an entire hospital about the true meaning of Christmas.

“I think the patients were so touched that the nursing staff did this for them. They couldn’t believe they were receiving a present on Christmas morning at the hospital,” Miller says.

And there was no shortage of generosity from associates across Elkhart General.

“We knew by the outpouring of blankets we received within hours of Mendy’s first note that we would be able to do something kind for everyone we saw on Christmas Day,” Miller says. 

Do you know a Beacon associate whose random act of kindness made a difference to a patient or another associate? Please email Heidi Prescott at Beacon Communications at hprescott@beaconhealthsystem.org or 574.647.3001.