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Local Boys Serve McLeod Hospice House Patients in a Unique Way

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(1/18/11) - Aesop, the famous Greek slave and writer of fables, once said, "No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted." Michael Worthy and Mac and Lee Gandy, volunteers at the McLeod Hospice House, have made that idea their motto.

For a year, Michael, Mac, and Lee have served the patients at the McLeod Hospice House in their own unique way — by baking cookies. (The boys are connected to the Hospice House through their mothers, who work there.)

Michael, son of Ray and Pam Worthy, is a seventh-grader at Sneed Middle School. He began volunteering at the McLeod Hospice House a year ago, baking and distributing warm cookies to the patients and their families.

"My favorite part about volunteering at the Hospice House is making the cookies for the patients," he said. "It's a comfort to them. It soothes their hearts. The warm cookies make the patients feel at home."

Mac and Lee, sons of Tag and Michelle Gandy, admired Michael's work at the Hospice House and decided to help make cookies for the patients.

Mac is an eighth-grader at Southside Middle School. He loves bringing joy to patients. "When I pass out the cookies, I feel like I am really making a difference in the patients' lives," he said.

Lee, a sixth-grader at Briggs Elementary School, finds fulfillment in the happiness the cookies bring to the patients. "My favorite part about volunteering here is making each patient happy," he said.

These boys have seen how a simple act can transform lives, leaving lasting impressions on McLeod Hospice House patients and family members.

Last summer, Ellen Hearne, Associate Vice President of Medical Services at McLeod, witnessed the service of these boys first-hand. Her father, Joe Abbott, was admitted to the McLeod Hospice House in mid-July after enduring nearly four years of bladder cancer and three surgeries.

Before he arrived at the Hospice House, Mr. Abbott's nausea prevented him from eating at regular intervals, and he had little or no appetite. A few days after Mr. Abbott's arrival, Lee came into his room with a plate of warm chocolate-chip cookies.

Mr. Abbott called him over to the bed and asked, "Are you being good?" When Lee told him "Yes," Mr. Abbott said, "That's good, because God is watching you."

He then took two cookies and a glass of milk and enjoyed them with Ellen. A week later, on July 26, Mr. Abbott passed away. Lee's act of kindness not only gave Mr. Abbott such pleasure in his final days but also gave Ellen a precious memory of sharing cookies and milk with her father.

Serving others, in great or small ways, should be our top priority because, as Aesop said, all acts of service and kindness are cherished.

At McLeod, our vision is to be "The Choice for Medical Excellence." That vision begins with service excellence, in which a friendly smile, a kind word in the hallway, or a warm greeting all reflect a servant's attitude.

Each day, we have the opportunity to fulfill our vision by demonstrating acts of service to patients, their family members, and visitors. Therefore, like Michael, Mac, and Lee, we should each find our own unique ways to serve.

Thank you, Michael, Mac, and Lee, for being exemplary stewards of service to our McLeod Hospice House patients and family members.

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