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About Us > News & Media > News Releases

85-Year-Old Volunteer Raises Almost $200,000 for Brenner Children’s Patients

2017 Mary A_BCH
Mary Alspaugh

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. – Dec. 18, 2017– Everyone who meets her is almost certain to have a “Mary” Christmas, indeed. 

Twenty years ago, Mary Alspaugh created the Santa’s Elves program at Brenner Children’s Hospital, part of Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center. Since its inception, the program has raised nearly $200,000 for multiple initiatives to assist Brenner Children’s patients.

“If you ever spend just five minutes at Brenner Children’s Hospital, it’s simply impossible to not want to help these young patients,” Alspaugh said. “It can be sad at times, of course, but so moving at the same time.”

Alspaugh, 85, a retired Wake Forest Baptist administrative employee, started the Santa’s Elves program with hopes of offering holiday cheer to patients and their families who would have to spend Christmas in the hospital. In the first year of the program she contacted only close family members, friends and members of her church and bridge clubs to seek donations for the program. Today, Santa’s Elves receives donations from individuals and institutions in six states.

Over the last 19 years, proceeds from the Santa’s Elves program have gone toward providing holiday gifts for patients and their siblings who are not able to be at home over the holidays and to support various programs throughout the year. To become an “Elf” one must donate $100 or more.

This year’s contributions will be used to help fund a music therapy room at Brenner Children’s, which will include a recording studio, performance stage and instruments, and a music therapist.

“Each year the Santa’s Elves program has expanded and I’m so proud to help those at Brenner Children’s,” Alspaugh said. “These young patients deserve the opportunity to enjoy the spirit of Christmas and it just makes me feel good and blessed to help any way that I can.”

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