In the Loop

News and views from across Mayo Clinic

December 19, 2013

Holiday giving and receiving

By Elizabeth Harty

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It's become something of a holiday tradition here at In the Loop that around this time of year, people send us gifts. And we happily accept these gifts, because they come in the form of emails with stories of the wonderful things Mayo folks are doing to give back to the community around the holidays.

The only problem is there are so many good stories that we can't begin to cover them all. (So many stories, so little space.) So this year, we decided to think outside the humbug, share some of the reports we've received, and then open things up on the blog for everyone to share what you and your colleagues have been up to. It's as easy as scrolling down, hitting "reply" and adding your comment. You can even add photos.

So, let's get this thing started with a few examples to get us all in the spirit:

A group of Arizona nurses reached out with gifts to help a family after a challenging cancer diagnosis, something the MCB chemotherapy unit nursing team has done for the last three years. The patient/family they adopted this year is a husband and father of two who is currently participating in a clinical trial for metastatic colon cancer. Although it was difficult initially for the family to accept the gifts, the patient and his wife recognized this opportunity would allow them to bless their children in a way that they might not otherwise have been able to do this year, according to Elizabeth Mathew, Section of Social Work. "The nurses didn't want recognition, and chose not to be present when the gifts were given, to respect the privacy of the family,” she says. The patient and his wife were visibly touched, and with tears of gratitude, accepted the gifts.

The Sports Medicine Center in Rochester each year holds a silent auction with the proceeds going to the Salvation Army Teens. With the money raised, they buy "stuff for teenagers," with an emphasis on sports-related gifts. For the auction, they collect donations from Sports Medicine Center staff. "Everyone seems to enjoy the bidding war that ensues for the donated items (everything from homemade jams/pickles and breads to Gopher sports tickets and Vikings tickets to framed photos taken by our staff to holiday décor to gift baskets to snowshoes)," says Jolene Baker, Sports Medicine. This year, she says, they raised $1,184 and put it to good sports-related-gift use, as well as some gift cards, books, movies, games, warm winter goods, and even some bath gift and pedicure kits to go under the Salvation Army Teen Tree.

The Hospital Internal Medicine administrative office in Old Marian Hall on the Saint Marys campus fills up with toys especially purchased for tots this time of year. And the small space gets more colorful each day and eventually becomes something of a toy fort. This year's Toys-for-Tots drive netted 141 toys and more than $1,600 in cash donations, which contribute to "Christmases that might not have happened," according to Madeline Ecklund, Hospital internal medicine. "The Hospital Internal Medicine Department is a very generous group! A lot of providers would come in with their kids so they could experience giving instead of just receiving during this time of year," Ecklund says. "This is the most favorite part of my job, and not just because I got to set up a toy fort at work!"

Bonus holiday cheers: We feel it's our civic duty to mention the toys-for-tickets efforts in Arizona and Rochester, where staff get the gift of ticket forgiveness by contributing to the toy drives on each campus. The toys go to children at the Mayo Eugenio Litta Children's Hospital and the Ronald McDonald House in Rochester and Phoenix Children's Hospital. Both efforts wrap up (get it?) tomorrow, so hurry.

Now, since it's better to give than to receive, we ask for your contributions below. Just follow these three easy steps:

- Scroll to the bottom of this story and hit "Reply."

- Register or log in (if you're a member of the Health Care Social Media Network, use the same login info).

- Share what your team is doing to give back this holiday season by adding your comment. You can even add a photo by clicking on "Add" and then "Media" and then uploading your image file. (We're looking at you, Caring Canines caroling crew and the "monkey tails" beard bunch in Information Services.)

You can also simply wish your colleagues and friends, and even us, the seasonal greeting of your choice. Then get on with it and have a happy holiday yourself. Cheers from all of us here at In the Loop. (Even Cory.)


Tags: Employee Stories, Internal Medicine, Mayo Clinic Arizona, Mayo Eugenio Litta Children's Hospital, Parking tickets, Salvation Army Teens, Sports Medicine Center, Toys for Tots

The CCaTS Education Resources team wanted to combine our Holiday Party with a service project. We were particularly interested in bringing cheer to patients and patients’ families at this time of year, realizing that anyone visiting Mayo Clinic this close to the holidays is probably here because they have to, not because they choose to.

Our social committee contacted the Intensive Care Units around Mayo Clinic and obtained permission to place baskets with holiday-themed snacks in their waiting rooms. We made just about 200 “dressed up” candy bars, crackers, candy canes, and teas to place there.

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