Donor Spotlight: Pat and Sheryl Thomason
“Just knowing how a facility dog can brighten the day and bring joy for everybody it comes into contact with is a very exciting opportunity. We know Patrick would love this and would support this 100 percent.”
Honoring a life while touching countless others
How the Thomason family is memorializing their son through a special donation
In early 2022, Sheryl and Pat Thomason suffered the sudden and unexpected loss of their son, Patrick. Through their grief and healing, the Thomasons started to look for ways to memorialize him. Because of his spirit and love for dogs, the Thomasons were drawn to honoring Patrick’s life through the Canines for Coping facility dog program.
Now, thanks to their generous gift, patient lives will be touched every day at their hometown hospital. Their donation has made it possible for Huntsville Hospital Foundation to fund the purchase of a new dog, expanding this much-loved program to serve Madison Hospital patients, families and caregivers.
The Thomasons hope the comfort that the dog provides will help many recover or deal with their sickness in a more positive way.
“After looking into many different charitable organizations, when the opportunity to provide the dog for Madison Hospital and knowing Patrick’s love of dogs, this was an easy decision for us,” Pat said. “Just knowing how a facility dog can brighten the day and bring joy for everybody it comes into contact with is a very exciting opportunity. We know Patrick would love this and would support this 100 percent.”
Because of its extensive training at the service dog institution, the dog will be able to deliver services based on medical goals, be present during procedures and assist with bereavement. Results include increased healing, decreased anxiety, improved mood and reduced blood pressure.
“Adding a facility dog to the Madison Hospital team is a huge benefit for everyone who walks through our hospital doors,” said Mary Lynne Wright, president of Madison Hospital. “This dog will not only bring joy and comfort to our patients, but also to our health care heroes. I am extremely thankful to the Thomasons and the other generous Foundation donors who are funding this program for our hospital and community.”
That is what it is all about for the Thomasons – bringing joy and supporting their community. Sheryl, who has been a long-time member of Madison Hospital’s Women Council, now known as Emerald Society, has witnessed how essential the hospital is for the growing city of Madison and surrounding areas. That only reinforced their decision to give in this special way.
“All our interactions with Madison Hospital have been positive,” Pat shared. “We’ve had visits to the Emergency Room through the years with both our children and our parents; we’ve had outpatient procedures performed there; we’ve had extended family members stay for days. In each event, we were well taken care of.”
Now, the emotional and physical needs of patients will be taken care of in a new, unique way thanks to their philanthropic decision. And through it all, Patrick’s spirit will live on and touch lives for years to come.
This article was published March 2023. The new four-legged team member is expected to join Madison Hospital in May 2023!
Other ongoing expenses will rely on community donations to sustain the program. These will be covered in part by Madison Hospital employees through the Lifesaver Club employee giving program. Other generous contributors are Window World of Huntsville, which signed on as the Founding Sponsor of the program launch campaign, and also the Madison City Council through an approved appropriation. Individuals can contribute to the program’s growth and needs by becoming a Pet Pal! Click here to learn more or donate.