The Gift that Keeps on Giving

Published 8:26 pm Tuesday, December 28, 2021

Healthcare Umbrella

As we have closed out another Christmas, I hope you are like me and are filled with the joy this season of giving has brought. We have experienced a month filled with events to thank our healthcare heroes at your local hospital. So many of them have been sponsored by community organizations and businesses. Meals have been delivered, treat baskets provided, and pancakes served. Thanks to many of you, the hospital and ambulatory clinics have been filled with joy!

And it was so needed.

The past two years have been incredibly difficult for everyone in our country. But for our frontline healthcare workers since the pandemic commenced, it’s taken a toll on their resilience.

I need you to know the pleasure that you created for our team has been a real boost. Through your thoughtfulness, they know you appreciate them. You’ve inspired them to keep fighting the good fight. 

I can’t possibly thank everyone through this article for fear I would miss someone. Our community, my community, has astounded me with generosity. There were several days throughout 2021 where we were surprised with gifts for our teammates by area churches, civic organizations, and local businesses. You instinctively knew when we needed a morale boost, and your gifts came just at the right time. It’s been an incredible experience.

I’ve also been grateful that we could also bless our team. Opportunities to give have lifted my spirits and encouraged my soul. We’ve all heard that it’s more blessed to give than to receive.

So, my question is: Does “giving” instill a lasting “warm and fuzzy” feeling for more than just a momentary boost? Research says yes. The act of “giving” has been shown to help lower blood pressure and stress levels, and it’s also believed to reduce depression and anxiety. The Cleveland Clinic shared a study showing that people over the age of 55 who volunteered for two or more organizations are forty percent less likely to die over five years than their counterparts who did not volunteer. In addition, we know that “giving” promotes the secretion of serotonin, dopamine, and oxytocin, which regulate our mood, providing a feeling of wellness. 

You’ve heard it said that “money can’t buy happiness,” but we now know the act of benevolence can. In my post-holiday debrief, as I reflect on all I’ve learned in 2021, my most cherished moments occurred when I gave to others. I’ve learned giving time, a home-cooked meal, and philanthropy to those in need provide the most significant impact in the hearts of the recipient AND the giver.

As we move into 2022, I’ve committed to “intentional” giving. I seek to create opportunities to give every week through an encouraging word, a handwritten note to a friend, or meeting the need of someone in our community. Being “intentional” about giving will grow that “holiday spirit” in me throughout the year, and not just for December. I encourage you to join me in this “giving challenge.” I have seen firsthand the positive impact your giving has had on the lives of St. Luke’s teammates! So, let’s spread our bounty across Polk County and beyond…research shows it will be good for your health!

I leave you with this thought:

“Gratitude begins in our hearts and then dovetails into behavior. It almost always makes you willing to be of service, which is where the joy resides.” – Anne Lamott

If you have a healthcare topic of interest, send me a note at Michelle.Fortune@slhnc.org. Also, please follow us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or visit StLukesNC.org to learn about top-rated St. Luke’s Hospital and our new world-class services.

By Michelle Fortune, St. Luke’s Hospital CEO