Bringing the ‘Hope & Joy’ of the holidays to the hospital

Since 2016, the “Give Hope. Spread Joy.” fundraising campaign has worked to bring the warm and comforting feelings of the holidays to the hospital setting. Led by members of the UF Health Advancement team, donors and friends are encouraged to make a gift in support of patient care and share a message of hope with those spending the holidays in the hospital.

This year, donors had the option to support the Pediatric Program Development fund or the UF Health Area of Greatest Need fund. Along with their gift, donors were provided with notecards where they can share messages of hope and joy to be distributed to patients and hospital staff at UF Health.

Once notecards are received, they are delivered to patients and health care workers in units throughout the Gainesville-based hospitals.

One of those who received a donor notecard was Beverly Clayton-Scott, R.N., M.S.N., NE-BC, cardiovascular/lung transplant unit nurse manager. Clayton-Scott, her nurses, and their patients spoke about how much the notes meant.

“As health care workers, we are always trying to provide excellent care to our patients,” Clayton-Scott shared.

“Whether it’s during the holiday seasons or during a pandemic, sometimes we forget the positive impact we are having on our patients and their family members. It was so awesome to receive those thank you notes! It provided positive reinforcement and brought many radiant smiles to our faces. Thank you!”

Clayton-Scott heard similar messages of thanks from patients on her unit, with one declaring, “Receiving this card was like a ray of sunshine since I had no choice but to spend Christmas in the hospital. Thank you!”

To date, this year’s campaign resulted in more than $25,000 raised and over 200 notecards delivered to patients and staff.

For many patients and health care workers who find themselves spending the holidays at the hospital, these messages and gifts were especially meaningful. However, staff members from UF Health Advancement were also touched by the experience.

“Delivering these handwritten messages to our patients and staff was very moving,” said Peyton Wesner, UF Health Advancement communications specialist.

“Witnessing the way our community rallied around those spending the holidays at UF Health made me so grateful to be part of the campaign.”

Gifts designated for the Pediatric Program Development fund provide things like critically needed pediatric equipment and other items that will help improve the care and experience for our pediatric patients and their families. Gifts designated for the Greatest Needs fund help to provide equipment, research funding and other general program needs to enhance the patient experience.