December 20, 2018
Story & photo by Vanessa Gomez
EDMONTON — Students from McLeod Elementary School spread some Christmas cheer at the Royal Alexandra Hospital (RAH) with handmade Christmas cards for dialysis patients this holiday season.
As part of the “Leader in Me” program, each grade level was asked to choose a project to participate in to give back to the community. Teacher Stacy Morgan’s Grade 5 class excitedly pitched the idea of Christmas cards and bookmarks.
“They were really excited about this,” says Morgan. “They’ve been looking forward to this day since the project began.”
Each handmade card included an inspirational quote to inspire dialysis patients to keep pushing on through tough times. As the students handed out their special cards, the unit was buzzing with their sweet gesture.
“The patients were very excited,” says Adam Wilson, Manager of the Dialysis Unit at the RAH. “The moment I mentioned the kids were coming today, faces were just lighting up right away.”
Dialysis patients can spend up to 20 hours a week in treatments and attending medical appointments, which can take a toll on them, especially around the holidays.
“When patients are coming in, that’s time that gets taken away from their personal, family and social life,” says Wilson. “The opportunity to have someone come in and spend additional time with our patients is fantastic. Just having that interaction is great, especially when patients are spending so much time away from their families.”
Jen L’Heureux, a dialysis patient at the RAH, says she felt joy in seeing her handcrafted card and chatting with the young students.
“It was cute and it cheered me up, for sure,” says L’Heureux. “It’s a good gesture and it teaches them.”
In addition to spreading some holiday cheer, students also learned some valuable lessons about dialysis and what patients go through on a daily basis.
“For them, it’s a good opportunity to look past themselves,” says Morgan. “To sit down and have those conversations with patients and see what’s out there is a really good thing.”