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Ray of sunshine

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Margaret Church arrived at Novant Health Forsyth Medical Center with severe shoulder pain and a high temperature. She needed emergency surgery. Margaret’s daughter, Donna Royal, described the day as “a very scary time for mom and for the entire family.”

Fears faded as soon as patient transporter Fred Harrell arrived to take Margaret for surgery. He provided “the ray of sunshine” that Margaret and her family needed at that stressful moment. Donna says Fred was so friendly that by the time they arrived at surgery “he had put a smile on all of our faces.”

Fred followed his usual approach with this family. He introduced himself, explained what he would be doing and asked his patient and the family members if they needed anything else. He provided Margaret with extra blankets and broke the tension with his genuine smile and a few jokes. He engaged Margaret in a conversation about her recent shopping trip and discovered they shared the same favorite color.

To the family’s surprise, Fred returned the next day to transport Margaret for X-rays. “How lucky could we get?” Donna asks. “My mother, who just moments before had been so worried about going for X-rays, was now laughing and talking with Fred.”

The family’s biggest surprise came when Fred visited Margaret later that day during his lunch break. “It meant so much to her and us,” Donna recalls. “Every once in a while, you come across a person who makes you feel better for having met them and Fred Harrell is one of these people.”

Fred explains that his actions came naturally. “In every situation, I do my best to treat people with kindness and respect. It’s how I was raised, and I’m glad that Novant Health lets me be myself.”