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NRCA Senior Spreads Love and Cheer to Local Pediatric Patients and Nurses

Senior Mary Margaret Hodgson took NRCA’s schoolwide theme of “Fully Known” into the community in December 2023 when she coordinated an outreach project that made nurses and pediatric patients feel seen, known, and loved.  

Hodgson, who worked as a CNA during her senior year, had a passion for giving back to the community during the Christmas season.  

“I see a lot of patients who don’t have families come to see them during the holidays, and they don’t get anything other than a card. Or just a note. I also see a lot of nurses who work overtime. They don’t get to see their families on Christmas because they choose to help these patients because that’s their passion,” Hodgson said. Her experience prompted her to look for ways to serve the vulnerable and honor those who care for people in medical crisis.  

Hodgson created a GoFundMe to help raise money for the project and posted it on Facebook and Instagram. “I had a lot of family and friends repost it, and I was able to raise close to $1,500,” she said.  

To help identify needs that her project could meet, Hodgson once again got an assist from social media. “I made a post and said what I wanted to do and what I was looking for, and we were sent a lot of [names of] connections,” she said. Her mom, Leisha, teaches art at NRCA and helped her get the word out on social media. Hodgson received many replies and selected the places she thought had the greatest need.  

“I really wanted to make little gift bags for pediatric patients who are going in and out of care who don’t have a Christmas like other children do. And I wanted to make little snack bags as encouragement for nurses and staff,” Hodgson said.  

Ultimately, Hodgson donated about 150 gift bags for pediatric patients at Wake Med Pediatrics. She delivered the same number of gift bags for pediatric patients to the same-day surgical center at Duke Raleigh Hospital. The bags were designed with input from pediatric nurses.  

“There was a teddy bear. A couple of different fidgets because I know that for a lot of kids, that was a big thing. I reached out to the nurses and asked them, ‘What do you think they would like?’ I also wanted to be able for older kids to enjoy it.” Hodgson continued, “There were coloring books, crayons, playdough, little things like that—not things that get messy or anything but just little things.”  

To show appreciation for the nurses who made sacrifices to care for patients over the holidays, Hodgson asked what kind of snacks they would enjoy. She shared that they responded that they would enjoy “protein bars, chips, some candy, and a lot of energy types of things and breakfast things.” Hodgson delivered baskets of treats to the nursing staff at Wake Med, and many were able to thank her personally for reaching out to let them know they were remembered for all they do to care for their patients.  

After graduating from NRCA, Hodgson plans to attend Appalachian State and major in nursing.  


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