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In Danis Pediatric Center, the loss of a piece of paper leads to the gain of so much more.

Each $3 and $5 fee paid for reprinting immunization or school physical records goes into an account set aside to help the clinic’s patients and their families. That account grew to nearly $2,000 over the past year, allowing staff members to determine the best way to help the patient families at Danis Pediatric Center, a primary care center at SSM Cardinal Glennon Children’s Medical Center.

Over the holidays, that fund was used to make holiday magic for five families that were experiencing severe financial hardship.

The “Danis Pediatric Elves” asked families to write a Christmas letter, telling them how their holidays would be improved by an extra windfall. For many of the families, having extra funds around Christmas would mean more than having more gifts under the tree: It would mean having electricity and heat.

Staff members had initially planned to select just one family, but as the letters came in, it became impossible to choose.

“We have so many families that we serve that were really in need of some extra support during the holiday season, so we made the most of the money we collected over the year,” said Laurie Ferrer, manager of Danis Pediatric Center.

For the staff members at Danis, giving the Christmas money out made 2010 the best holiday ever. There were tears on both sides, Ferrer said, and an overwhelming sense of joy.

“This was the best holiday we’ve ever had in Danis,” Ferrer said.

That was just one way that Danis Pediatrics gave back last year. Before school started, the fund was used to purchase backpacks that were filled with school supplies raffled off for a college student, two boys and two girls.

Staff members are already looking toward ways they can help families in the coming year.

“It’s indescribable, what it meant to all of us to be able to give back to the people we care for,” Ferrer said. “We’ll keep using this fund to help families as long as we can.”     


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