A program started by a volunteer has raised nearly $200,000 since its inception 20 years ago to help Brenner Children's Hospital patient families, according to a Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center press release.
Mary Alspaugh, currently a volunteer, started the Santa’s Elves program at Brenner, which is part of Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center.
“If you ever spend just five minutes at Brenner Children’s Hospital, it’s simply impossible to not want to help these young patients,” Alspaugh said in the release. “It can be sad at times, of course, but so moving at the same time.”
Alspaugh is an 85-year-old retiree who worked in administration for Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center. She created the Santa’s Elves program to help cheer up the children and families spending time at the hospital over Christmas, the release said.
The program receives donations from six states. Funds provide holiday gifts to patients and siblings not able to be at home for the holidays and support other programs during the year. This year, funds will help add a music therapy room at the hospital, complete with a recording studio, instruments and performance stage and staffed by a music therapist, according to the release.
“Each year the Santa’s Elves program has expanded and I’m so proud to help those at Brenner Children’s,” Alspaugh said in the release. “These young patients deserve the opportunity to enjoy the spirit of Christmas and it just makes me feel good and blessed to help any way that I can.”