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Cheryl Tipp, Charge Nurse in the Emergency Room at SSM Health St. Joseph Hospital ñ Lake Saint Louis, has been with SSM Health for over 20 years. She has witnessed the compassionate care SSM Health provides others, and has provided that exceptional care herself, but she never thought her family would be on the receiving end of that care.

On May 27, 2020, Cheryl's granddaughter Luella Grace was born at SSM Health St. Mary's Hospital - St. Louis. Luella was about four weeks premature and weighed 3 pounds, 11 ounces. She only spent a few brief minutes with her mom and dad before being whisked away for evaluation. She was transferred to the NICU at SSM Health Cardinal Glennon Children's Hospital that same day.

Luella was later diagnosed with a rare syndrome called Wolf-Hirschhorn and has been in the hospital her entire eight months of life. This little girl is keeping her parents on their toes, making sure they know everything they need to so they can bring her home to meet her two big brothers. She has undergone multiple surgeries and is expecting to undergo open heart surgery very soon.

With the pandemic, Cheryl has only had the chance to see Luella twice which she says has been the most difficult thing for her. However, Cheryl is very thankful for the support she has received from coworkers. As she says, ìMany of my co-workers have walked this path with me and my family during this difficult time. From letting me cry on their shoulder or just listening to me.î

Even with all the support, Cheryl could have never guessed the support our Patient Access Department had in the works. Our Access Department wanted to help provide her family a magical Christmas without having to worry about the financial strain that often comes with the holidays. Cheryl was so thankful and surprised, ìI was completely taken by surprise learning that my granddaughter and her family were adopted for Christmas.î What an incredible gift our Patient Access Department provided Luella and her family!

If you would like to learn more about Luella's story and follow her journey, you can follow her Facebook page at "Luella Grace's Journey" or visit her GoFundMe page.