“MGH rocks.” “I ‘heart’ nurses.” “I love you.” These are just some of the messages the Mass General for Children Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) staff have received in cards from their families since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
As the holiday season rolls around each year, many shoppers look forward to getting the best deals on gifts for loved ones on Black Friday. The Worrell family is no exception – they begin their annual shopping trip around 1 am and purchase nearly 75 toys and games. These gifts, however, are not wrapped and put under their family’s Christmas tree. They are delivered to pediatric oncology patients at the Mass General for Children Cancer Center.
This tradition started in 2004 when Cindy Worrell, then 47 of Wareham, was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma and began receiving treatment at the MGH. Here, Cindy met several children with the same diagnosis and she chose to focus on finding ways to make their experiences at the hospital more uplifting. She found that having something to look forward to at the end of their treatments – such as receiving a new toy – made all the difference.
“Cindy said, ‘I've got to focus on the kids. If I focus on myself, I’m just going to feel sorry for myself,’” her husband Geoff recalls.
Although Cindy died in 2016, her kindness and generosity continue to have a significant impact on children in the MGfC Cancer Center – not only during the holidays, but throughout the entire year.
Before the pandemic, the Worrells would head out to area stores to fill their shopping carts. This year, they gathered in Geoff’s kitchen to browse and purchase online. Geoff says his young grandchildren were especially helpful in knowing what would be popular and well-received.
“We really enjoy trying to make a difference,” Geoff says. “It’s not a new building or surgical center or endowment, but it’s a way to show people how important and easy it is to give back. We hope that this can help take the kids’ minds off cancer, even if it’s just for a morning.”
Related News and Articles
- Dec | 22 | 2021
In March 2020, the Horvath family’s world was flipped upside down. Only 10 days after the first statewide COVID-19 emergency closures were instated, then-8-year-old Colby was diagnosed with B lymphoblastic lymphoma.
- Oct | 6 | 2021
Fourth year internal medicine and pediatrics resident Dr. Mike Kelly shaves his head after reaching his fundraising goal for the Boston Marathon.
- May | 28 | 2021
The COVID-19 pandemic has been stressful for children, teens and young adults as they deal with change, uncertainty, anxiety and loss.
- May | 28 | 2021
It is very important to be aware of what your child is seeing and hearing in the media. Often, children are aware of much more than we know and seeing and hearing more than we realize.
- Staff Story
- Feb | 4 | 2021
For 25 years, Patriot Pediatrics has provided top-notch, compassionate and comprehensive care to infants, children, adolescents and young adults seven days a week, 365 days a year. This past year was no exception.