Gina D’Costa

Initiated By:
Initiated by Baptist Health

Simple acts of kindness spread rapidly and remind us that we’re not alone, according to Gina D’Costa, MD. That’s especially important to remember as we grapple with COVID-19. “Every crisis reminds us that it is not about us as individuals, but rather about us as a community,” says the Baptist Health Richmond physician.

The pandemic has reinforced Dr. D’Costa’s belief in the power of gratitude: “It has strengthened my resolve to help my patients heal and cope with adversity. It has helped me further realize how important our families, both at work and home, are to us and how we have worked with each other to strengthen ourselves during this pandemic.”

Jamie Wilkerson

Jamie Wilkerson
Initiated By:
Initiated by Baptist Health

As the pandemic peaked over the winter, Jamie Wilkerson, MSN, wanted to thank his Baptist Health Hardin colleagues for their tireless efforts. The nurse and director of Critical Care teamed up with a few co-workers at the hospital to put this gratitude into action by creating “recharge rooms,” a calm place for staff to regenerate from their rigorous shifts. 

“We wanted to just give them an environment to step into and recharge,” says Jamie. “Once we shared the idea, leadership and the [Baptist Health Hardin] Foundation ran with it and made it a huge success.” 

While most of the world slowed down during the pandemic, that hasn’t been the case in healthcare settings. “Things are moving so quickly,” says Jamie, adding that cooperation between departments has never been more important. It’s been a crazy year, but “we are stronger and more grateful for each discipline.” 

At this stage in life, Jamie is most grateful for his infant daughter and wife. But he also has a renewed appreciation for all the direct caregivers who have treated patients throughout COVID-19, as well as the community members who have shown overwhelming support. 

Going forward, I hope we all prioritize the opportunity to reflect and understand where we have been and the gratitude that exists, universally. We take everything for granted when things are running so smoothly. It is important that we realize what we are grateful for and how we can show gratitude.

Kim Wilder

Kim Wilder
Initiated By:
Initiated by Baptist Health

Sincere gratitude comes in many different forms, according to Kim Wilder, MSN, but there’s one constant: the feeling is palpable.  

“It is a deep appreciation and blessing that you receive,” says the longtime nurse and Baptist Health Surgery Center administrator. Throughout her career at Baptist Health, Kim says she’s experienced overwhelming gratitude and joy.  

Being a servant to others is so gratifying in and of itself. Patients will often thank you and express their deepest gratitude for the care that you provided to them or their family member.

However, Kim is quick to add that the care she provides is “such a small thing” compared to the blessing and gratitude she feels, because the act of giving is truly a gift. 

On the flip side, she recalls her family being on the receiving end of Baptist Health care several years ago, after her mother was diagnosed with renal cancer. During that time, she realized her Baptist family did more than provide quality care — they did so with love. 

“My mom’s illness taught me so many things, but most of all it taught me to treat each moment and memory as a gift.  Be grateful for the moments and the journey — and don’t take one thing for granted.  Appreciate the little things, because after all, they really are the big things.”  

Erin Wilcox

Erin Wilcox
Initiated By:
Initiated by Baptist Health

Erin Wilcox spots gratitude in the small things we often take for granted — like a smile or a hug. “Those are ways that I show gratitude to others,” she says. “And it has been hard to have to ‘edit’ myself with the hugging [during the pandemic]!” 

Gratitude doesn’t have to be extravagant. It can be conveyed via little gestures, Erin says, like buying someone a coffee or making them a headband with buttons for their mask. The nurse manager for Labor and Delivery and Antepartum also writes thank you notes every week. 

A personal note can mean so much to someone. I write them to employees, co-workers, friends and family, I guess that is my gratitude language — I love getting handwritten cards, so I love sending them.

The pandemic has reminded Erin that gratitude can bring people together. “There are incredibly generous and kind people in our community often looking for ways to help each other and touch each other’s lives.” Early in the pandemic, she recalls the many gifts of food, donated PPE and even chalk-art words of encouragement. “It would make me cry almost every day to come to work and see how others just want to love on you.” 

When asked what she’s most grateful for, Erin says: “My incredible support system of my family, my work family, church family and dear friends. I have had to depend on a lot of them recently, and it has opened my eyes to how important each relationship we cultivate in life can be.” 

Edie Wells

Edie Wells
Initiated By:
Initiated by Baptist Health

The pandemic has taught Edie Wells “to be thankful for the past and present and to be grateful that we have a future to look forward to.” She makes it a point to act on gratitude by paying it forward — which she did by sending meals to Baptist Health Louisville’s frontline workers at the peak of the COVID-19 crisis. 

“I’m grateful for getting through this and for how people responded to each other,” Edie said. “It brought us out of ourselves. It forced you to slow down and think about what you have in life.” The result, she added, is a shared sense of “wellness and peace.” 

Juanita Votaw

Juanita Votaw
Initiated By:
Initiated by Baptist Health

Ms. Juanita Votaw is a remarkable woman. As a young adult, she would spend weeks at a time horseback riding out West, exploring the rugged wilderness and rough terrain of our National Parks. 

This year, the 92-year-old beat COVID-19. 

“I’ll tell you what, I’m grateful for everyone at Baptist Health Lexington who treated me so kindly and took great care of me,” says Juanita. In particular, she’s thankful for the many conversations she had with caring staff during her hospital stay, which included a stint in the ICU. “Everyone was just so kind and would share stories with me and just talk. That helped a lot, being alone in the hospital during this scary virus.” 

Her only complaint was the food — and not for the reason you might think: It was delicious, but the portions were just “too big for a little old lady like me,” she jokes.  

In recounting her experience with COVID-19, Juanita says it was a tough battle and she was at the hospital “a long time.” When asked to describe herself in one word, she says “hardworking,” then follows up with these words to live by:

I would rather wear out than rust out!

 

Yuri Villaran

Yuri Villaran
Initiated By:
Initiated by Baptist Health

Dr. Yuri Villaran has spent 20 years at Baptist Health Lexington and is passionate about his patients and the care they receive. Our physicians often provide incredible knowledge about how to improve our overall health. Occasionally, they can offer something even more profound. A simple, insightful perspective on how we impact our hearts.   

Through discussions with Dr. Villaran, one thing was clear, the importance of togetherness: “Together, we can accomplish wonderful things.” Staying together, acting together and serving together often comes down to the level of gratitude we have for one another. This is a powerful lesson as we navigate the road ahead… together.  

Gloria Tarver

Gloria Tarver
Initiated By:
Initiated by Baptist Health

Gloria Tarver can spot someone’s gratitude by the joy in their eyes. That was especially true on the day the Baptist Health Paducah charge nurse was present to see a grateful patient head home after battling COVID-19. “I could only see the patient’s eyes, but they spoke with such humility and gratitude. There was clapping and tears of joy as the patient passed by. All I could think about was how blessed this patient is and how happy I was to get to see them beat COVID and go home.” 

Gratitude uplifts Gloria emotionally and helps her maintain a positive attitude.  

“I am motivated physically to keep going and improve myself. Feeling appreciated heals my soul, allowing me to have a strong connection with me family, friends, patients and fellow staff.”

Nick Spoonmore

Nick Spoonmore
Initiated By:
Initiated by Baptist Health

Nick Spoonmore believes gratitude is all around us, and during the pandemic, that was evident in the outpouring of support for health care workers. “This community loves this hospital, and the support they have shown during this time has been absolutely beautiful,” said the vice president of operations, medical group.

We owe our community everything, and each day we are here to give back in an effort to match the support they have shown us.

It’s been a challenging time, but according to Spoonmore, it’s also been inspiring to see so much care and compassion.

“The constant displays of gratitude I witnessed over the past year have kept me and so many others going. Knowing others just want to help makes me want to work even harder for this organization.”

Libby Spencer

Libby Spencer
Initiated By:
Initiated by Baptist Health

Libby Spencer says it’s not joy that makes us grateful, it’s gratitude that makes us joyful. She also believes that gratitude manifests as good deeds: “And in our community, these good deeds are plentiful.” 

When asked what she’s most grateful for, the Hopkins County Chamber of Commerce president says: “Today, as we prepare to present Business of the Year to Baptist Health Madisonville, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention my gratitude towards all healthcare workers and those who selflessly support our healthcare system. All those who, despite their own fears and challenges, never faltered in their commitment to care for the people of our community. I’m also grateful that we live in a community with a myriad of advanced healthcare services. There are communities twice and three times our size that don’t have our level of healthcare service.”