“Ricky the Elf” has become a lasting tribute to Rick Steenbruggen, thanks to the generosity of his daughter, Ashley Staab.
Rick loved Christmas a great deal, and in his honor, Ashley provides holiday gifts to patients and families at the Mass General Cancer Center. Knowing that the holidays are an especially tough time for a parent to be sick, she finds out in advance the interests and ages of certain patients’ children, and chooses thoughtful gifts that they might like. She then brings them in to the clinic where the recipient families can pick them up.
The hospital staff has been able to select recipient families who were financially strained and with young children. Quite often, these are families in which a parent has passed away right before the holidays, or was holding on to try to make it through the holidays. They’re under so much stress that they often don’t have the time or resources to provide presents for their kids.
Ashley Staab—and Ricky the Elf–have made all the difference. In the words of one oncology social worker, “Ashley truly exemplifies the Christmas spirit. She gives from the heart and truly knows both the joys and sorrows that can be present during this often emotional holiday season.”