Gratitude Stories

Gratitude is expressed all across MedStar Health-from our friends,families, caregivers, community, and patients. Thank you for sharing your experience.


Pictured (left to right): Jeffrey A. Toretsky, MD, professor, Department of Oncology and Pediatrics and division chief, Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Georgetown University; Danielle Cook, Happily Hungry Program; Jefferi Lee, CEO Brandon Carrington Lee Foundation; Michael C. Sachtleben, president, MedStar Georgetown University Hospital and senior vice president, MedStar Health, and Michael J. Donnelly, MD, professor of Medicine and Pediatrics and acting chair, Department of Pediatrics MedStar Georgetown University Hospital.

Young Life Supports Pediatric Palliative Care

The brave soul and unique life of young Brandon Carrington Lee is nothing short of inspiring. Diagnosed with osteosarcoma, a rare bone cancer, at the age of 12, Brandon’s spirit, faith, and gusto for life persevered through two years of treatment until he passed away in 2003.

Brandon’s parents had no idea what their family would soon face when they brought their son into MedStar Washington Hospital Center for a hurt knee. X-rays led to bone biopsies which revealed Brandon’s underlying health issue.

Brandon was referred to Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital, where he received tremendous support from his family, pediatric physicians, and caregivers. Throughout his cancer treatment, he remained an honor student, athlete, and devout Christian.

He was never left alone during his treatments. Brandon’s parents were always there to talk with him in the middle of the night, or provide him back rubs and encouragement. During their time at MedStar Georgetown they noticed not all of the children received the same familial support.

In celebration and gratitude of their son’s life, Jefferi and Tina Lee established the Brandon Carrington Lee Foundation, which focuses on providing an extra level of comfort for pediatric patients. This investment created the Brandon Carrington Lee Pediatric Palliative Care Grand Rounds Lectureship and supported the Happily Hungry nutrition program.

A Game Changer

James Wentworth, peer recovery coach at MedStar Franklin Square Medical Center, shares his story from addiction to recovery, and how grateful he is to MedStar Health for giving him a chance to help others.

Care Experience Comes Full Circle

When Cheryl George began coughing and feeling chest pains, she knew something was wrong. She went to the emergency department when she found it hard to breathe. Even her career as a nurse manager could not prepare her for the diagnosis of stage 4 metastatic lung cancer.

Her husband, Noble, was amazed that during this crisis that turned their whole family’s world upside down, the medical professionals at MedStar Southern Maryland Hospital Center exuded kindness and compassion.

“We have been married for 35 years and have been through a lot together,” said Noble. “I have never experienced so much love and compassion in my entire life. Every person expressed love and consideration in every bit of care they gave to my wife.”

They were encouraged by doctors who set out to treat her cancer until it went away. Cheryl underwent radiation and chemotherapy to eliminate her tumor, and she is now getting immunotherapy to make sure the cancer does not come back. She continues to work as a nurse during her treatment to give others the compassionate care she herself is receiving.

The couple lives in Southern Maryland, and despite some of these experts working out of hospitals in other regions, Cheryl has been able to receive treatment in her community. Noble expressed his gratitude, “I feel so blessed and overwhelmed. I wish I could give every person who cared for her a basket of fruit.” Noble has inspired his Shriners chapter to make a financial investment, and he is also referring his friends to MedStar Health for oncology care.

Celebrating the Victories

Mike and Amy Griffith share how the caregivers at MedStar Health helped guide and support them through their son’s diagnosis with autism.

A Tiny Start to Big Things

When Nick Cortina was born three and a half months prematurely, he weighed one pound, 11 ounces and fit in the palm of his father’s hand.

He spent the first 100 days of his life in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital–one of the best NICUs in the country. The care he received in those early days of his life, combined with multiple surgeries and quality medical care during childhood helped him avoid the most serious complications of his premature birth.

“I am here today because of the lifesaving efforts of the extremely dedicated, selfless doctors, nurses, practitioners, and staff who cared for me and helped me leave the hospital as healthy as possible,” Nick said. Not only is he grateful for his life and his health, but “those same caregivers gave vital moral support to my parents as they rode an emotional roller coaster that hinged on every ounce I gained or lost.” The combination of exceptional medical care and compassionate caregiving made all the difference for the entire Cortina family.

Nick’s entire life has Georgetown woven through it. He was born at MedStar Georgetown and survived because of the care he received there. He attended Georgetown University and graduated in 2016. He now works as a program manager for marketing and communications at the Georgetown University School of Continuing Studies.

Nick’s gratitude is profound, and he continues to visit the NICU at MedStar Georgetown to support and inspire families–some of whose babies are even smaller than he was at birth. He wants them to know that even the tiniest newborns can lead lives as successful as his.

Inspiring Hope for a Healthy Life

Living with sickle cell disease, Jessica Ceja shares how participating in a clinical trial participant at MedStar Health has made a positive impact on her life.

We invite you to participate in our culture of gratitude. Share your story>