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May. 5, 2022 | St. Mary's Foundation, Stories of Changed Lives
by Beth Sparks

Giving Back through the Medallion Society: The Saunders Family

A Surprise Christmas Arrival

The week before Christmas is always a time of excitement and activity.  But for Ashley and Randy Saunders, Christmas 2012 proved to be unforgettable for a very different reason. Anticipating the arrival of their first child, the Saunders’ lives were upended when Ashley’s OB-GYN insisted she pay a visit to the Cabell Huntington Hospital for some special tests.  Those tests resulted in an emergency C-section and the arrival of baby Carson eight weeks early!  At just three pounds, ten ounces, the little girl spent the next four weeks in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit  (NICU) at the Hoops Family Children’s Hospital — and Randy and Ashley spent the holidays getting to know the NICU staff as they were constantly there to help care for their baby.

As a sales rep for a medical device company, Ashley had been a frequent visitor to the hospital and knew her way around. But this was a very different experience, as she was both a recovering patient AND the brand-new mother of a “preemie” in the NICU.

“Randy and I were so blessed by the extraordinary care of the nurses for our child,” she said.  “I knew a number of the staff professionally, but this was different, being on the receiving end of their care and concern.”

World-Class Care, Right Here at Home

“We realized what a wonderful asset the hospital is to our community,” added Randy.  “We didn’t have to put my wife and baby girl on a helicopter to Cincinnati to get emergency care.  There’s a world-class facility right here in Huntington that met our needs and continues to serve the community well.”

Taking baby Carson home after a month in the hospital was a delayed Christmas gift, but still a precious time of celebration for the young family. They’ve continued to benefit from the Hospital’s staff, services and facilities with the subsequent births of three more children, two of whom also required  stays in the NICU.

The Saunders have nothing but good things to say about the care they have received from Cabell Huntington Hospital and Hoops Family Children’s Hospital.  “We’ve gotten to know some of the doctors and nurses very well, and they are truly wonderful,” noted Ashley.  “That’s why, when we were asked to join the Medallion Society, we didn’t hesitate at all.”

Giving Back to Build a Stronger Healthcare Community

Randy smiled and added, “I know many folks are interested in helping others in the community, but they really don’t know how — and they simply need to be asked.  Kristi Arrowood, who works at the Cabell Huntington Hospital Foundation, really allowed us to see how our involvement would make a difference for others.  Like us, she also had a child who needed — and received — extraordinary medical care.  So she truly understands the tremendous benefit the hospitals are to the community.”

When asked to summarize how membership in the Medallion Society benefits Ashley and him, Randy paused a moment to gather his thoughts.  “I believe we were created to serve and help each other.  Being members of The Medallion Society gives us a chance to do that for others who may be less fortunate than we are.”

“They may never know that we were part of the help they receive.  But Ashley and I have the satisfaction of knowing that we helped them have the same kind of care and treatment we’ve received.  And that’s a real blessing!”

For more information how you might help others in the tri-state region as a member of The Medallion Society, please contact Kristi Arrowood at Kristi.Arrowood@chhi.org or 304.526.2009.