During an overnight shift, Mass General nurses Laura White, RN, Christine Weiand, RN, and Molly Higgins, RN, decided to order burritos from a favorite local spot and treat one of their patients to dinner. As they talked over dinner that evening, they realized how often they and their colleagues picked up small treats for their patients. Whether it was delivering a favorite snack, a Dunkin’ Donuts coffee or decorating a patient’s room, the nurses on Lunder 10 and Cox 1 were always doing something thoughtful to make their patients feel at home.
Inspired by these small acts of kindness, the three friends and several of their nursing colleagues started Caring for a Cure. Their first fundraiser, “Reach the Beach,” a two-day, 200 mile relay race, raised more than $5,000, far surpassing their $500 goal. Since 2011, they have raised more than $100,000 to purchase little things that bring a smile to patients and their families. These comforts have included welcome baskets for newly diagnosed patients; “bling” earrings for new patients; gifts to celebrate the end of long treatment courses; funds to pay for otherwise unaffordable dental work required pre-transplant; airfare for the brother of a patient to be a bone marrow donor; and much more.
Caring for a Cure is done on the nurses’ own time, but has impact far beyond what the group had dreamed. After one patient witnessed a fellow patient’s distress in the waiting room, she took it upon herself to purchase Caring for a Cure “blings” for the woman. Writes the patient’s husband: “My wife was gifted with a pair of your bling/Caring for a Cure earrings through a random act of kindness as she was being admitted to the Mass General Cancer Center. While we look forward to the pain of cancer treatment to subside once she conquers this disease, this generous act will be one that we will always remember.”