Patients who are in the hospital during the holidays miss out on time with friends and family gathered around for a wonderful meal. This year, Alex and Tommy Gift are bringing the taste of Thanksgiving to patients on the Bone Marrow Transplant (BMT) Unit at UofL Health – UofL Hospital. The Gift brothers, who have given turkeys to patients with cancer and their families for the past six years, will this year provide a catered Thanksgiving meal to BMT patients.
“My Mom loved Thanksgiving – the food and spending time with those she loved. She made the best corn pudding, and now I make it every year,” said Alex Gift.
Mary Jane Gift lost her life to cancer in 2010. In honor of her life, sons Alex and Tommy Gift established the Mary Jane Gift Quality of Life Fund at the UofL Health – Brown Cancer Center as a way to help patients and their families enjoy life while facing a cancer diagnosis.
“We want patients and their families to know they are not alone and that people care. We also want them to know that cancer doesn’t have to define them,” Alex said.
Each year, the Gift brothers host an annual volleyball tournament, Spike it to Cancer, to raise money for the fund. The event includes both a pro and amateur division.
Money from the fund also supports short-term housing for BMT patients and their families who require lengthy treatment plans. The fund is administered through the cancer center’s M. Krista Loyd Resource Center.
The catered meal, complete with turkey, gravy, stuffing and other traditional fare, will serve about 80 people this Thanksgiving.