Winter Wishes is a program near and dear to nThrive colleagues. It is a time when colleagues are able to submit wishes for themselves or on behalf of another colleague, friend or family member. There are four categories that wishes may fall under – Wish for a Charity, Wish for a Child, Wish for a Dream and Wish for a Family. In 2017, colleagues submitted nearly 100 wishes for charities, families, fellow colleagues and wishes for a dream. Chief Marketing Officer, Kristen Saponaro and Chief Human Resources Officer, Robert Holmes, announced the wishes granted during the December 14 Town Hall and shared the heartwarming and emotional stories behind them. Here are some of the wishes that were granted:

Wish for a Charity

Nancy Donahue, TPL Team Lead, is a volunteer for CASA of Will County, an organization based in Joilet, Illinois. CASA is an acronym that stands for Court Appointed Special Advocates, serving children who are the victims of child abuse and under the care of the court system. With many of these kids in foster homes, Nancy's wish was for a donation to defer the cost of throwing a holiday party and ensuring they each had a gift under the tree. As Nancy volunteers her time and talents so these kids receive the gift of a brighter future, nThrive offered a monetary gift to CASA so these kids could have some fun and enjoy this truly magical time of year.

The next Winter Wish for a charity is the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. This charity was nominated by Dawn Dudra, Senior Manager, Internal Communications. Did you know that teen suicide is the second leading cause of death for children ages 10-24? Dawn is a parent of two teenage children who have each lost a friend to suicide in the last year. Dawn's Winter Wish was for a contribution to be made to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. This national not-for-profit is dedicated to raise the awareness of suicide prevention, to preventing suicide through research and education, and to support those impacted by suicide.

Wish for a Child

Christine Fuhrman, Senior Manager, ARS, nominated this Winter Wish recipient. One of her employees, Commercial PAR Joanna Bosques, has a 5 year-old son Justin. Justin was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia in 2015 and is still battling this disease today. As you can imagine, the expense of Justin's treatment is a financial drain on the family. It is with pleasure we granted Christine's wish that Joanna, her son and her family received a little something special under their Christmas tree this year.

This next wish is for Mary Anne Fisanick, Senior Manager, Clinical and Finance Solutions. She is helping raise her 3 year-old grandson. Her grandson is developmentally delayed due to a lack of care and interaction when he was very young. Mary Anne is asking for developmental aids and toys to catch him up. Congratulations, Mary Anne. Your grandson is sure going to enjoy these special gifts!

Our next Winter Wish for a child is for Margene Ward, a medical transcriptionist. Her wish is for her daughter Jasmine to have a reliable, safe car to get her to college classes and back home – over an hour drive. The car she has is in need of repairs and unfortunately, Margene and her husband are unable to afford the needed repairs.

Our fourth Wish for a Child winner goes to Leslie Nye, ODM Specialist. Her wish was to give her son the Christmas, up to this point, he could only dream of. Due to financial hardships, her family has not experienced much more than a Charlie Brown style Christmas in a very long time. With this gift, her and her son could enjoy a big holiday dinner this year – and maybe a game of football, too.

Wish for a Dream

Our first recipient was nominated by Patty Odegaard, Commercial Patient Account Rep. Patty asked for a wish made on behalf of Arlene Dao, Commercial PAR. Arlene is a hard-working individual – at nThrive and at home too. Unfortunately, they are experiencing a personal hardship, but Arlene continues to work hard every day to being strong for her family and provide for their needs. Patty's wish was for the Dao family to receive extra support during this holiday season. Patty’s wish for Arlene and her family to have a bright and blessed Christmas came true.

Tresa Boldt, Government PAR, has a dream for her family. With her father's recent passing, this will be the first year her mom, Tresa's son, and she will be without him during the holidays. Her wish was for her mom and her son, who live in Michigan, to join her in North Carolina so they could enjoy the peacefulness of a mountain retreat. They received airline tickets so they could depart Michigan to join Tresa in North Carolina!

The third Wish for a Dream reminds us all how precious life is and we should cherish every moment of it. AnnMarie Megale-Billack is an AR Denials Representative. She is the sole care giver for her mother who has been fighting lung cancer for the last two years. Sadly, once a vibrant and energetic woman, her mom is now growing increasingly weak and tired. AnnMarie's wish is to bring a smile to her mom's face by having her sister fly home from Arizona for a surprise visit. Congratulations AnnMarie on having your Wish for a Dream come true! Because we agree with you, there's nothing more important in life than family.

Wish for a Family

Our first Wish for a Family recipient came from Cynthia Perkins, a Commercial PAR rep. Cynthia nominated her co-worker Jennifer Collins for a Wish for a Family. Jennifer was recently injured in an automobile accident and required surgery. Missing work put a tremendous financial burden on her. She is a single mother of two children – ages 3 and 5 years old. Cynthia's wish for the Collins' family was for them to have a fulfilled holiday and presents to unwrap on Christmas morning. Congratulations Cynthia on your Wish for a Family coming true!

This next wish was submitted by Rachel Dailey, Director, Emerging Markets Northeast. Rachel's wish is for her sister, brother-in-law and two teenaged children, ages 16 and 12. Rachel's sister, just 35 years-old at the time, suffered a stroke, leaving her unable to speak, walk and utilize the left side of her body. During this life changing event, her family has made countless sacrifices. Rachel's wish was to give them a surprise gift at Christmas to help lift their spirits and allow them to enjoy the season. We hope the family had the chance to rest, rejuvenate and have some fun.

This is the first year that colleagues who joined nThrive from Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center participated in the Winter Wishes program. The nomination was submitted by Melissa Connell, a Patient Services Representative. This Wish for a Family is for Ashley Herrin, a colleague and nurse at Wake Forest. Ashley has had a difficult year since the loss of her husband in March while she was on maternity leave. She is now the single mom of three beautiful boys, 9 months old, 4 years, and 9 years old. Melissa's wish was to help relieve some of the financial burden Ashley feels to provide a beautiful Christmas for her boys this past year.

This Wish for a Family was submitted by the Implementation Services Team. Implementation Project Manager Deb Berney, has been with nThrive for seven years and always maintains a positive outlook, even while facing an unimaginable storm. Deb was diagnosed with cancer in 2012 and began treatment one week before her wedding. After a year of being cancer free, in 2016, she learned the cancer had spread. While Deb's family continues to support her emotionally and with nutritious meals, where she needs help is to keep her house feeling like a home. Deb received house cleaning services so she can focus on taking care of herself and have one less thing to worry about.

Julie Reineke, a Coder II, asked for this wish for her own family and it is understandable why. Julie's husband passed away April 2014 and her wish is for she and her son travel to the Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs to spread his ashes. Julie, we extend our condolences for the loss of your husband and are honored that nThrive can provide airline tickets so you and your son can travel to Colorado Springs. May you find peace and safe travels!

Our last Winter Wish recipient was Tammy Hamilton, a remote coding consultant who made a wish for Teresa Hutzler, a coding specialist, and her family. Just a few months ago, Teresa's mom was diagnosed with an aggressive cancer and it did not respond to chemotherapy. Recently, she lost her battle to it. Not only is Teresa grieving for the loss of her mother, she is also burdening the financial strain on her family. By granting this wish, Teresa, we are happy to be able to provide some financial support to help cover some household expenses during this difficult time.

As always, we thank all of the nThrive colleagues for participating in such an important program. We value every wish that comes through and although, with difficulty, only so many wishes can be granted, we hope that this makes even the smallest difference in someone’s life.

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