Like many families, M. D. Anderson has its signature holiday traditions.
The festive decorations for Christmas, Hanukkah and Kwanzaa, the community choirs in the hospital lobby and the Holiday Tree Decorating Contest remind all that the holidays are here, but it's M. D. Anderson's patient-focused programs that inspire the true spirit of the giving season.
For many M. D. Anderson staff working in departments that don't have direct involvement in patient care, the holiday programs such as Adopt-A-Family and the Annual Wreath Auction provide a way to touch patients and impact their families. For clinical staff, the season adds a new dimension to compassionate care, and for M. D. Anderson volunteers, who reach out to patients as if every day was a holiday, it's a time to put their natural cheer into overdrive.
One of M. D. Anderson's oldest holiday traditions is Adopt-A-Family, a program supervised by Social Work. This year, 352 patients and their families were adopted by employees in 130 departments and raised $93,800 with creative fundraisers. The adopted patients and families will get a cashier's check to take care of expenses that are most pressing to their household, whether it's rent, utilities, groceries or child care, or the opportunity to buy gifts without added burden.
Adopt-A-Family began formally around 1993 when 106 patients received assistance, but even in the 1980s, clinics and departments collected food donations and gifts for patients in need.
The Wreath Auction is a newer tradition that donates all proceeds to the Adopt-A-Patient/Family Program. This year, individuals and teams from clinics and departments designed and decorated 145 original wreaths, bringing in more than $8,000 in the silent online auction. With the wreaths displayed on the Mays Clinic skywalk throughout December, the themes ranged from breast cancer awareness to the hope of survivorship to the rivalry between The University of Texas and Texas A&M, and a tribute to the troops.
Local Holiday Wreaths Up for Auction