While many consider the Christmas break an opportunity to unwind and recuperate after a year of hard work, one particularly charitable CRNA saw an opportunity to bring the Christmas spirit to children who so desperately needed it. Kenia Sosa, Chief OB CRNA at Memorial Health West (MHW), part of the Memorial Healthcare System (MHS) in Hollywood, Florida, spent her Christmas holiday distributing gifts and supplies donated by MHS anesthesia clinicians to children across the hurricane-stricken island of Puerto Rico.

Adam Blomberg, M.D., Regional Medical Director, MHS, said that the health system’s involvement in the gift-giving campaign began during a team dinner.

“I recently accepted a new role as regional medical director of Memorial and had not yet met all of the leaders across our system, so we organized a dinner and had everybody introduce themselves,” he said. “Kenia mentioned she was participating in this project and that she would love people to help. MHS leadership saw a great opportunity to get to know each other better through participating in a great cause.”

Allied Health leadership worked with Sosa across the six hospitals within the Memorial Health System to help organize collections and donations from each department for the trip. Sosa said that nearly 1,000 children in Puerto Rico received gift bags just in time for the Christmas celebration.

“The smiles on their faces as they opened their gifts filled our hearts with unbelievable joy,” Sosa said. “This was all possible because of [MHS’s] generosity and support.”

Some particularly skilled members in Sosa’s volunteer group even lent a hand building roofs for families whose houses had been destroyed during the hurricane.

Walter Diaz, M.D., Chief of Anesthesia, MHW, who has worked closely with Kenia for more than 10 years, said that her volunteer effort in Puerto Rico is a perfect representation of her compassionate, charitable spirit.

“I have worked with Kenia for a long time,” he said. “She is actually a former student of mine. I have never known Kenia to be a spotlight seeker. She’s just a truly good-hearted person who believes in giving a lot back.”

When Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico more than four months ago, it took many lives, many homes and the island’s entire power grid with it. Sosa bringing joy to the children of an island so desperate for assistance exemplifies our clinicians’ willingness to go above and beyond to make meaningful impacts in the lives of others.

Want to contribute to relief efforts? Click here for a list of active organizations and donation links.