My name is Jane Brierley, and I have the great privilege of being Director of Communications & External Relations at Mary Free Bed. I‘ve spent my career – broadcast journalism that morphed into healthcare communications – working with words. In a word, I see Mary Free Bed as a gift: a gift for patients, families, staff, and volunteers.
I’ll tell you a story to show what I mean. One day I was walking down the hall and saw a gentleman in a wheelchair stopped in front of a painting. For more than three decades, the Mary Free Bed Guild has sponsored an art exhibit. In order to participate, artists must have a disability. Beside each creation is a brief biography of the artist. Talk about inspiring.
So I said to the fellow, “Isn’t it great to have this exhibit to enjoy?” He quietly nodded. I’ve tucked into my heart what came next. “I need to re-invent myself,” he told me. “I was a surgeon, and I will never be able to do that again.” He continued softly, “Each day for the next month during recreational therapy, I’m going to practice painting. At the end of that month, I want to see if I can put onto canvas the picture that I have in my mind”
I don’t know what brought this gentleman to Mary Free Bed. But, I do know that our staff and volunteers genuinely live our mission to restore hope and freedom through rehabilitation. It happens with grace and expertise every single day, with every single patient.
It’s a privilege for our department to share these stories. We come away feeling humbled, hopeful, and honored to be waving the Mary Free Bed banner. We want people near and far to know the gift that’s Mary Free Bed.