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Meet May, A Ray of Sunshine | Altru

February 16, 2023

Employees at Altru truly care for one another, care for patients and care for the community. In 2023, we will be spotlighting employees who have been nominated by their peers for caring for one another.

Mary ‘May’ Thompson is a ray of sunshine in Altru’s central sterile department. Her team describes her as positive, caring, energetic and thoughtful.

“May is the ‘ringleader’ to a lot of our team, willing to learn new things, goes the extra mile to care for each other. A smile is worth a thousand words, and she never stops smiling. She is referred to as the ‘Energizer bunny of central sterile’ because May goes a hundred miles a minute, thorough and detailed to the end.”

-Casey Wenstad, central sterile department

“Every day, May is asking what she can do to help. Even when not told, she sees one part of the department that could use some help and then jumps into action to help out her co-workers.”

-Scott Wasilewski, central sterile department

“Her positivity and upbeat attitude are very contagious. She's extremely helpful and a very hard worker.”

-Selena, purchasing department

“Whenever May walks into the room, the mood immediately changes to positivity and jokes. She brings out the best in everyone and executes her job flawlessly.”

-Jessica Gedde, central sterile department

May was truly humbled and overjoyed by the Caring for One Another nomination. Her whole team pulled together to nominate her and celebrate her.

“I just always think having respect for your coworkers and being respected back is a great way to show caring,” says May. “In our area, we have a great dynamic. Everybody works well together.”

Caring for the Community

When COVID-19 first started and everything was uncertain, May took some time off to take care of her immune system. She was diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer and she and her supervisor made the decision to put her health first, but that didn’t mean that May wasn’t making a difference for her team.

During her time off, May took to making masks for her family and friends. When that was finished, she began making them for the community.

“I started making masks for people in the community,” explains May. “I would just tell people to stop by and I'll leave them on my front porch, and they were free of charge. We just had people coming and going.”

“I absolutely loved that I could do something,” says May. “People started donating and dropping off fabric because I couldn't go out to get it. Then other people would pick up the masks and distribute them. It made me feel good. It made me feel like I was making a difference in some way. It's contagious when you do one kind act.”

Teamwork Makes the Dream Work

The central sterile team knows that teamwork and caring go hand in hand when doing their job. They have a part in every surgery that happens at Altru hospital.

“Because we’re a team and to keep the flow going and people happy, you let everybody know they're doing a great job and how important they are, how special they are,” says May. “That's how you keep awesome, awesome.”

When asked how patients have impacted May’s life, she reflected back on the time she worked at Altru Cancer Center.

“Every day our lives are impacted by everything we do for our patients, but I have worked for Altru for about 20 years and a few of those years were at the Cancer Center,” explains May. “Every day I got to work with such amazing people fighting a battle that we couldn't possibly understand. They had a major impact on my life.”

“It's been years since I've worked there but since then I've been diagnosed myself,” says May. “I'm a stage four breast cancer survivor and, if I've learned anything, you just have to stay positive and have faith. No matter what life throws at you, make the best of it and you will get through.”

May believes that kindness makes the biggest difference for patients and coworkers alike.

“No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted,” says May. “Everyone makes a difference no matter what they contribute. I don't know if that was the lesson I was supposed to learn in life or what, but I got it.”

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