At Craig Hospital, “holidays” take on a special significance whether it’s Christmas, Hanukah, Kwanzaa, or another tradition. We realize what it means for our patients to be away from their families when they have been suddenly faced with a catastrophic spinal cord or brain injury. It can mean weeks or months of rehabilitation. Life is disrupted, and life is altered.by Mary Bonner
Patients and their families become part of the Craig family. We cry with them, celebrate their triumphs, and applaud each small step in their quests to regain independence. We see miracles every day; we also see that anything is possible. We’ve established our own traditions here, bringing the holidays to those who can’t be home. Kosher foods and religious traditions – we do our homework in order to bring a little bit of home to the hospital. Here is a snapshot:
The Shopping Outing
The Therapeutic Recreation Department takes patients in small groups to the mall so they can shop for their families. The big surprise: a stipend for each patient so they can purchase gifts. This money in past years has come from staff donations for this very purpose. This year, an anonymous donor funded the entire shopping excursion.
This year, on December 14 the Craig cafeteria was magically transformed as hospital directors and board members dressed in red aprons waited on staff, patients and their families, serving a made-on-site, “home-cooked” holiday meal of shrimp cocktail, prime rib, all the sides and trimmings and made-from-scratch desserts. A holiday pancake breakfast was served to the night shift.
For over 40 years, the Craig Holiday Sing fills the gym to standing room only. This year’s program included staff, physicians, as well as current and former patients. Included in the program were solos, a cappella numbers, stories read aloud, and performances by the choir. For those patients unable to attend, a live feed was broadcast throughout the hospital.
A new tradition started this year was the luminary project. For every donation received in December, a luminary was lit in honor of a patient, staff member, or loved one. They were displayed after the holiday sing along the walkways and over the bridge.
Bad Sweaters. Need we say more?
Thank you to everyone in the Craig family who worked so hard this season to bring the holidays to our remarkable patients. We wish you all the best in 2013.