Stories of Gratitude

Every Gratitude Story is One-of-a-Kind

When our patients and their loved ones share their gratitude stories with us, it inspires us and reminds our clinicians and care teams of their calling to health care. We hope you are as inspired as we are by these stories.

Johnson Family Gives Back to Virtua’s NICU

Kaitlin and Wes Johnson spent 67 days visiting their son, “Little Wes,” in the NICU at Virtua Voorhees Hospital after he was born prematurely at 31 weeks.

Grateful for the excellent care and support they received, the local family was inspired to give back to Virtua in honor of their extraordinary NICU team who so lovingly cared for their baby boy. The new parents decided to use their platform through their family farm, Johnson Locust Hall Farm, to support other patients served by Virtua’s NICU. They hosted a Christmas in July event for the community that not only raised funds but also helped build awareness of premature birth. By giving back to support other babies like theirs, the Johnsons are putting their gratitude into action and creating a lasting impact.

Photo credit: Dawnpoint Studios

Watch Video

Grateful Patient Determined to Pay it Forward

After recovering from a simultaneous liver-kidney transplant, Chris set out to honor the selfless organ donor and highly skilled care team who impacted his life.

After recovering from a simultaneous liver-kidney transplant, Chris set out to honor his organ donor and care team by training for, and ultimately running, a charity 5K with his family. He also made a gift through Virtua’s Lasting Impact Project to celebrate the entire Virtua Our Lady of Lourdes transplant team.

“I wanted to honor my transplant team for the phenomenal care they gave me. I cannot thank them enough. Knowing the surgeon of one of the top transplant hospitals around is taking her time to meet with me twice a week to make sure I am healing properly is so very comforting in a time when I didn’t always feel so comfortable,” Chris said. “I have and will continue to sing the praises of Virtua and would highly recommend them to anyone who needs an organ transplant.”

WWII Veteran Creates Lasting Legacy

Carl Fravel (1919-2020) was regarded for his high intellect, dedication, and generous spirit.

A member of the Greatest Generation, Carl enlisted in the U.S. Navy in 1944 and proudly served his country in World War II. He served on the USS Eldorado during the Battle of Iwo Jima and was awarded two bronze stars for his valiant service. After his time in the military, Carl had a notable career with the U.S. Department of Defense followed by a part-time role with the New Jersey State Marine Police.

Carl was married to his beloved wife Anne for nearly 75 years when she passed away in 2017. Together, they believed in making a positive difference in the world and found fulfillment in contributing to causes that were personally meaningful to them. Carl and Anne were generous to many charitable organizations over the years, supporting various veterans’ associations, local police and emergency responders, churches, and local health care organizations.

WWII Veteran Creates Lasting Legacy

During the last few years of his life, Carl turned to the team at Virtua Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital for care on numerous occasions. He suffered from considerable vision and hearing loss but remained as sharp as ever. Being treated with dignity and compassion was of great importance to him and that is exactly what his care team provided. In particular, the kindness and support from Mary Bucci, RN, was of great comfort to him.

Carl was so grateful for the excellent care he received from Mary and the team that he decided to include Virtua Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital as a beneficiary of his estate.

“Carl was a remarkable man and friend,” says Michael McGinty, Jr., trustee of the Carl R. Fravel Memorial Trust. “He had a brilliant mind and cared deeply about his country and the wellbeing of those around him. Through his memorial trust, Carl’s contributions to the world will continue, positively impacting future generations.”

Carl passed away peacefully on May 21, 2020, at the age of 100 in his home in Audubon, NJ. Following his passing, the Carl R. Fravel Memorial Trust was established, creating a lasting legacy that will support patient care at Virtua Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital for years to come.

A Gift of Gratitude 20 Years in the Making

When a patient or their loved one receives life-saving care, the gratitude they hold in their hearts for their doctors, nurses, and care teams can last a lifetime. Shawn Abner-Purnell knows this first-hand.

Every year on her daughter’s birthday, Shawn is reminded of the Virtua nurse who saved her life following the delivery of her firstborn. When Shawn shared her gratitude story with us, it sparked a sequence of special moments that included meeting her nurse Mary’s family and friends, and making a gift in Mary’s memory to Virtua’s Nursing Scholarship Fund.

“I am forever grateful for the work of our medical community and especially those nurses and medical professionals like Mary, who often go unnoticed, but have such a huge impact on patients’ lives,” says Shawn.

Watch Video

A Special Visit to Thank Care Team

Just a few weeks after his miraculous recovery, Sgt. Frank Talarico, Jr., returned to Virtua Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital to thank his care team.

Frank nearly died from a massive blood clot in his lung caused by COVID-19. Through a combination of swift action, advanced techniques, and caring support, the care team at Virtua Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital saved the life of this 47-year-old husband and father. Three weeks after being discharged, Frank and his wife Christine Lynch returned to the hospital to express their gratitude to those who saved and cared for him.

“People don’t realize how much of their heart and soul they put into their patients,” says Frank. “A lot of them were emotional seeing me walk in unassisted, knowing how sick I had been. Tears were shed all around.”

As a health care worker herself, Christine knows the extreme amount of loss the staff has seen recently. “It can really break them down emotionally,” she says. “I knew how much it would mean to them to see how well Frank’s doing, to see our gratitude, and to help them in any small way we could.”

Watch Video

NICU Family Gives Back to Share Thanks

Over the years, Michael and Sarah Dillon have given to Virtua to express their continued gratitude for the care their son Jimmy received.

Back in 2015, Jimmy arrived 10 weeks early, weighing just 2 pounds 12 ounces, and spent several weeks in the NICU at Virtua Voorhees Hospital. The Dillons felt so supported by the NICU nurses – particularly Maryann McClarnon – and felt confident in the care from the entire NICU team as their educators and advocates. The care team constantly kept them informed and supported during an extremely stressful and emotional time.

“Thank you to the wonderful medical staff in the Virtua Voorhees NICU,” says Michael. “Our son Jimmy spent 10 weeks there in 2015. He’s now six years old and healthy thanks to you!”  

When life-changing care is delivered, the impact lives on for years and years!

A Gift to Honor Husband’s Care Team

When a patient receives life-saving care delivered with compassion, expressing gratitude for that care is uplifting and healing for their family and loved ones.

Ivy Williams knows firsthand how care delivered during the pandemic inspired hope and gratitude. Her husband, Richard, was hospitalized with COVID-19 and cared for by the team at Virtua Voorhees Hospital. Ivy was so grateful for the care Virtua provided to Richard that she chose to pay special tribute to his care team by making a gift in their honor.

“I wanted to recognize the extraordinary people on the front lines who worked hard, so my husband was able to come home,” says Ivy. “Not only was he cared for, but no one ever seemed bothered by my countless calls. Everyone was kind, patient, and extremely helpful.”

Watch Video

Gratitude for a Unique and Comforting Service

Soon after Denise White began treatment at Virtua’s Samson Cancer Center in Moorestown, she was connected to the RCCA Hair Boutique.

At this special boutique, which is powered by philanthropy, Denise was fitted for a wig and received styling services at no cost. More importantly, she received comfort and support during an emotional time of her life. In gratitude, Denise shared these kind words with us:

“When I first learned there was a hair boutique inside the Samson Cancer Center, I was glad I chose Virtua for my cancer treatment. The location is especially convenient and the boutique is beautiful and private. I never thought I would be wearing a wig but Pietra quickly opened me up to the idea with multiple styles to choose. She helped me select a wig that looked natural and styled it to frame my face. I left with the confidence to feel comfortable enough to return to work. This is not my mother’s wig – it looks so natural. I am so thankful for this resource!”

Compassionate Cancer Care Inspires Giving

Ron DiAmore received treatment for cancer from the Penn Medicine | Virtua Radiation Oncology team in Washington Township.

Grateful for the care he received, Ron made a gift to pay tribute to those that cared for him. We are incredibly thankful for Ron’s generosity, but it was the powerful words in his letter that inspired us the most.

Ron writes, “Never did I think that I was going to face a condition called cancer. I believe my faith presented a path to assist me in a fight for my life. That path has included all the people at Penn Medicine l Virtua Radiation Oncology in Washington Township, who have devoted their lives to help a frightened man, namely me, face cancer.”

He continues, “Early on, I met Dr. Alexis Harvey, who immediately directed me to the hospital because she recognized the serious condition that I faced. I needed to be hospitalized then and there. Since my surgery, she and her staff have consistently displayed a kindness and compassion to me that I have never seen from anyone else in the medical profession. I am blessed having them involved in my treatment!”