The Oilers Octane kicked off the holiday season by bringing plenty of spirit to the Cross Cancer Institute in Edmonton this past Tuesday. Over a dozen Octane members were on-hand, meeting and mingling with hundreds of patients and their families. The day was filled with plenty of smiles and laughter as the team spent quality time visiting a number of wards including inpatients, outpatients, radiation treatment and the medical daycare unit.
“What the Octane team has done here is truly unbelievable. As I sat back and watched them interact with the patients and families, all I could hear was laughter and all I could see was smiles,” said Jane Weller, Development Director, Cross Cancer Institute – Alberta Cancer Foundation. “It made you forget for a moment that you were on a cancer ward.
“I think one patient summed it up best when he saw the Octane coming down the hall and he said, ‘this is better than Santa!’”
The day was certainly not short on holiday spirit as the team chatted with patients about the importance of spending time with family and friends during the festive season. For one person in particular, the time she spent with the Octane was the perfect way to start her holiday celebration. Donning a lovely red toque for Christmas, Rebecca Kelln has been receiving treatment at the Cross Cancer Institute for three years and welcomed the special visitors with open arms, literally.
Overcome with emotion and joy, Rebecca struck up an impromptu assembly line of hugs with the Octane.
“It’s wonderful to see the Octane out-and-about today. I was so surprised to see them and when they rounded the corner with their big smiles, it certainly made my day a whole lot happier,” said Rebecca. “Today’s visit from the girls has been a fantastic way to start the holidays.”
For staff and family, it was a big moment as they saw first-hand how much of a difference the Octane’s presence was making at the hospital.
“All of our patients need something to look forward to; they’re here because they are very ill with not the best situations and they need a lot of care. Having something like this to brighten their day is really amazing for staff to see,” said Michelle Gardecki, Charge Nurse, Cross Cancer Institute. “It makes me tear up to be honest. Seeing our patients’ faces light up with smiles is remarkable.”
The hospital visits tradition is a special time for the Octane with both veterans and rookies experiencing the spirit of giving together.
“Being able to give back means the world to me,” said Octane Amanda. “The fact that we as an Octane team can come here and meet with all of these incredible patients and families is extremely special.”
To learn more about the Octane’s involvement in the community, please visit oilersoctane.com.