Friday, June 27, 2014

Dexterity for charity

It takes a very steady hand to remove a wrench from the ankle, a butterfly from the stomach, or a charley horse from the hip. But eight teams of highly skilled MGH employees arrived on the Bulfinch lawn ready to take on the challenge of life-size game board proportions.

The event, held during the annual Employee Summer Picnic on June 26, served as a kick off for the My Giving Helps: MGH Fund + United Way employee campaign to support Operation 5,000 – a goal to reach 5,000 employee donors. The campaign officially ramps up in September.

“It brings out the spirit of community,” said Suzanne Algeri, RN, nurse director on Lunder 7. “It’s one of the things these organizations do; they try to bring communities together.”

Based on the 1965 classic children’s board game Operation, MGH Building and Grounds staff created three oversized versions of comic-like patient “Cavity Sam,” to test the motor skills and dexterity of the teams.

“I played it as a child, but to design it and build it is a totally different set of skills,” said Jaime Waters, an MGH Building and Grounds carpenter who spearheaded the construction of the extra large board games.

Team Surgery arrived at the competition with a significant edge – the most dollars and the most donors, which gave them extra time on the clock.

"The pressure is on because we are supposed to be the specialists,” said Keith Lillemoe, MD, chief of the MGH Department of Surgery, before the start of the competition. “We will do what we can do.”

Trading forceps for salad tongs the top team from each of the three preliminary heats moved on to a last round of play. The Department of Surgery’s experience provided an upper hand and led them to victory. Second place was awarded to Team Nursing, led by Kevin Whitney, RN, associate chief of Nursing, and third place went to The Cognitives, led by John Herman, MD, associate chief of the Department of Psychiatry. Special guests Rob Gronkowski and Duron Harmon from the New England Patriots captained a special team that featured Building and Grounds staff who helped build the board games.

“It feels great,” said Lillemoe, after securing the win. “We scouted these teams, used the simulation model and the team delivered.”

For more information about the campaign, visit

Read more articles from the 06/27/14 Hotline issue.


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