When patients check-in to the hospital, it can be a scary, unsettling time. At Magee Women's Hospital, the tough task is made a little easier, thanks to an employee's compassionate heart, infectious laugh and one sparkly idea.
Mary Ellen Kremer is the "Patient Service Representative" at Magee, but it's what she does outside her job description that makes her truly memorable. She and her trusty "bling bag" have been spreading smiles at the hospital, one bedazzled ID bracelet at a time.
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"It seems so silly doesn't it?" Mary Ellen asked Channel 11 morning news anchor Katherine Amenta. "But it just makes me so happy to see the happiness in their face."
She's been decorating patient IDs for years. It all started when a woman came to her registration window,alone and facing cancer ---and didn't seem to have a friend in the world.
"I'll just never forget her," Mary Ellen said. "I thought what do I have in my drawer that I could give her to make her feel that somebody cares."
That's when Mary Ellen reached into her drawer and found some stick-on jewels. She put a few on the woman's ID, and started a new part of her life as the woman who bedazzles bracelets, and impacts patients.
That includes Cynthia McCormick. She got her first bedazzled bracelet 3 years ago when she was diagnosed with stage 3 ovarian cancer. She says she hasn't thrown out a single decorated bracelet since.
That's why Mary Ellen makes us proud to be from Pittsburgh.
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