Ramona Santelli was sitting at the edge of her bed when Hilary Vander Weele, a representative from Home Instead Senior Care, entered her hospital room.
“Happy Holidays, Ramona!” Vander Weele smiled, handing a gift bag to Santelli. “I’ve come to bring you holiday cheer.”
Clearly surprised, Santelli clasped her hands to her chest. “Oh my! Are you saying I’ve been a good girl this year?”
In the hallway outside Santelli’s room, carolers Alison Kelly and Gerald Frantz of Chicago Folks Operetta were singing “Joy to the World,” filling the unit with festive song. Nurses paused in doorways to listen; physicians and environmental workers stopped at the nurses’ station to enjoy.
As the carolers sang, representatives from Home Instead Senior Care and Bridgeview Bank delivered gifts to 40 patients throughout the hospital. People throughout Chicago donated the gifts, fulfilling “wishes” written on paper ornaments on trees in Bridgeview Bank lobbies. This is the third year Weiss has participated in the annual event.
In her room, Santelli unwrapped a teddy bear, cocktail ring and pillow. Tears formed at the corners of her eyes. “Oh thank you!” she exclaimed. “I forgot that it was even the holiday season being in an institution, but now I have my Christmas.”