BROMALL, Pa. — Inspired by the joy of the holiday season, a group of local Marines paid a visit to the Crozer-Keystone Regional Cancer Center at Broomall. Their mission? To spread holiday cheer to patients undergoing chemotherapy.
The Marines, five of whom recently graduated from boot camp, are home on recruiter’s assistance for holiday break. They are all local products – one is from Northeast Philadelphia and the rest hail from Delaware County. Led by Sergeant Ryan Spaeder, the enthusiastic group spent an afternoon with the patients – some of whom were veterans themselves – and walked away humbled by the experience. “My aunt works at the cancer center,” Spaeder says, “and she asked if we would come for a visit. We were more than willing to say yes. It was a very fitting and good experience for the junior Marines; I think they got just as much joy out of it as the patients did.” Spaeder adds that the group visited approximately 15 patients, and nearly half were veterans. “It was a wonderful experience for the patients to be around young service people,” he says. “It reminded them of what it was like when they served their country.”
“It was an emotional experience for all of us,” says Marie DeStefano, administrative director of Oncology for Crozer-Keystone Health System. “Sergeant Spaeder’s team brought a real sense of pride in our country. The appreciation was felt by our patients and staff alike – you could see it all over their faces. These new Marines are getting ready to go out and serve their country. For them to use some of their time at home on holiday to visit our patients meant so much. I applaud these young men and women, and thank them for sharing their time with us. I will pray for their safety as well as for all those who so selflessly serve and protect our country.”
To learn more about Crozer-Keystone’s full-range of cancer services, visit crozerkeystone.org/Cancer.
Photo Caption: Six Marines, five of whom recently graduated from boot camp, paid a holiday visit to patients at the Crozer-Keystone Regional Cancer Center at Broomall.