Inspiring Stories

When Tragedy Strikes, Methodist is There

Christmas is for Caring

At Methodist Health System, “The Meaning of Care” is more than a tag line or motto. Every employee, from doctors and nurses to account specialists and food technicians, embodies a special kind of spirit that truly exemplifies these simple words. It’s in the friendly smiles, warm touches and cheerful embraces of each new day.

 Our special series “Christmas is for Caring” hopes to inspire and illustrate how this spirit comes to life in what can seem like the most unlikely of ways.

The loss

In a hospital room on 6 North at Methodist Hospital, nurse Analisa Jenkins walked in a patient’s room to find her crying in her bed. Asking what was wrong, the patient revealed a devastating loss. That while she was being treated for her illness, her home had caught fire. She and her husband and their young children lost everything they owned.

That’s when Analisa and the entire care team kicked The Meaning of Care into overdrive.

Acting fast

Analisa explained the situation to the others on duty, and the team started a collection. The family needed everything – from clothing and food to basic household goods. Their children, a 3rd grader, a 4-year-old and a 1 ½ year-old, needed toys and supplies for school.

The nurses knew they had to act fast, as the patient wouldn’t be in the hospital long. 

“They did an ad hoc drive, asking if anyone wanted to donate,” said Heather Rolling MSN, NE-BC, PCCN, Service Leader for Methodist Hospital Progressive Care. “We had staff from other departments donate and even the patient’s rheumatologists.”

In just 12 hours, the staff pooled more than $800 in donations, along with mountains of other gifts.

Going shopping

Like a merry band of Santa’s elves, nurses Erin McCarthy and Lora Berentschot worked to put it all together. 

“We went to Target and bought all three kids just a couple of different clothing items, even new winter coats and shoes,” said Erin. “We got some stuff for the mom and dad, diapers and a gift card.”

Besides the newly purchased items, some nurses brought in donated clothing as well as toys for the kids. They gave the family a $25 gift card to Target as well as a $225 Visa Card to use for whatever they may need.

“I don't know if the family was even able to fit everything in their car,” said Heather.

The reaction

When the patient discovered what her Methodist caregivers had done, she was understandably grateful.

“Four or five of us brought the items back up the next morning after we bought them, and the husband was there with his wife,” said Erin. “More totes were still rolling in and I think they were just really in shock.”

And as for the nurses, they were also a little overwhelmed by the ability of their Methodist family to respond quickly in times of need.

“I actually couldn't believe it,” said Erin. “I expected maybe a couple of donations or a couple hundred dollars just to help out. This was amazing.”