When Curtis Exum, 62 of Torrington, was admitted to the Oncology Unit at UConn John Dempsey Hospital, his diagnosis was not good and his spirits were worse.
“As soon as I came here, I wanted to go home,” says Exum. “I was really low and my sanity was in a bad place.”
Sammy Myers, a medical assistant who has been employed at UConn Health for the past 17 years could feel when he entered Exum’s room that something was not right. “He was sitting in the dark and he was not in a good place.”
He knew Curtis was feeling low and started a conversation to lift his spirit, learning that Exum was a guitar player and missed being home and playing his guitars.
Myers remembered an old guitar his daughter had at home that was no longer being used and brought it as well as an amplifier for Exum the next day.
“It was the nicest thing anyone has ever done for me,” says Exum through tears.
The guitar was missing a knob and some strings, however, Exum had his sister, Carla, bring him all his tools and materials from home. He was able to fix the guitar, adding new strings, and made it better than new.
“This saved my sanity,” says Exum, “It was just so nice. I’ve had to fight for everything I had my whole life and to have a stranger give me such a gift, it saved my sanity.”
“This is an amazing and touching act of kindness that epitomizes how caring and patient-centric our staff at UConn Health are,” says Dr. Scott Allen, Chief Medical Officer at UConn John Dempsey Hospital.
Exum was due to leave the hospital after a ten-day stay, Myers came back to hear him play the guitar he gifted him. There was not a dry eye in the room as Exum shared how much this gift meant to him.
“I gave it from the heart, and I’m so glad he enjoys it, he deserves it,” says Myers “Now he has something to look forward to when he goes home.”
He was excited to go home with his guitar and now had something to look forward to. He was going to get a case to keep the guitar safe and make a demo tape to share his music with Myers.
“This spontaneous act of kindness by Sammy has touched many of us,” says Susan Bongiorni, Nurse Manager Procedural Services, UConn John Dempsey Hospital. “We are all reminded that the smallest act can make the biggest difference!”
“In a world that is so cold and a bit crazy, if we can all just be a bit kinder maybe things would change and the world would be a better place to live,” shares Exum. “People like Sammy exemplify this.”