news valley floral companies carry on poinsettia tradition at sentara rmh
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Valley floral companies carry on poinsettia tradition at Sentara RMH

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Every Christmas, Milmount Greenhouses in Waynesboro, Evergrowin’ Greenhouse in Bridgewater and Riverside Plants in Dayton donate 300 poinsettias to patients at Sentara RMH.

But the tradition began 17 years ago in the hospital’s gift shop when Sharon Peale, a floral designer, had leftover Christmas arrangements and poinsettias.

“Anytime we can put a smile on somebody’s face here, that is what it’s all about,” Peale said in a press release. She and a second floral designer with Sentara RMH Gift Shop contacted nurses and asked them to share the arrangements with patients who were spending the holiday in the hospital.

“I was overwhelmed by the amount of patients who did not have flowers or cards or balloons or anything in their rooms, that was going to spend Christmas there,” Peale said.

The nurses delivered what was arranged, and more floral arrangements were made so that all patients received something that Christmas.

The smiles on the patients’ faces gave Peale an idea to contact local greenhouses and request their extra holiday poinsettias also be donated to Sentara RMH patients.

“It is very exciting that it has been around this long and so many people are getting involved,” Peale said. She added that most years, enough poinsettias are donated that cancer patients at Sentara also receive a poinsettia.

Before COVID-19, volunteers delivered the holiday cheer of flowers to patients. During the pandemic, Sentara RMH staff gladly took on the task.

“It even blesses the nurses because they are overwhelmed at being able to be a part of that too. Putting a smile on their patient’s faces,” Peale said.

 

Rebecca Barnabi

Rebecca J. Barnabi is the national editor of Augusta Free Press. A graduate of the University of Mary Washington, she began her journalism career at The Fredericksburg Free-Lance Star. In 2013, she was awarded first place for feature writing in the Maryland, Delaware, District of Columbia Awards Program, and was honored by the Virginia School Boards Association’s 2019 Media Honor Roll Program for her coverage of Waynesboro Schools. Her background in newspapers includes writing about features, local government, education and the arts.