Mildred Bronstein (pictured left) leaves behind a rich legacy of kindness and generosity at Swedish Covenant Hospital. A retired nurse, Mildred was known for starting an annual Christmas party at the hospital for children from poor families. She cared so deeply for the patients of Swedish Covenant Hospital that she chose to make a generous bequest.
Mildred worked for Swedish Covenant Hospital for more than 30 years, starting out in the Emergency Department and then moving to the Family Practice Center, where she would become the head nurse. She retired in 1990 at the age of 71, but continued to volunteer for the Christmas party for several more years.
“When mom moved over to the Family Practice Center, she fell in love with the patients, particularly the little ones. She was always interested in their stories and their situations,” Mildred’s daughter, Linda McCabe said.
Because many of the children that Mildred cared for were on public aid, she wanted to make sure they had a special Christmas. For 25 years, Mildred coordinated entertainment by a local theater group, refreshments, goody bags, and a visit from Santa. Mildred recruited volunteers to dress as clowns and lead sing-alongs. She even recruited Linda to do face painting and cousin Earl to play Santa.
Linda recalls the joy her mother found in holding these parties and collecting items for the kids’ goody bags. What started modestly by collecting donations from hospital departments – like snacks from the cafeteria or a toothbrush from the dentists, grew each year. Later, when she began soliciting businesses, she would call with excitement to tell Linda about something new that she had just secured whether books, dinosaurs, or huge teddy bears.
“You should see these children faces when they would be given bag of stuff bigger than they were,” Linda said.
The annual Christmas party for patients of the Family Practice Center was the “masterpiece of Mildred’s life,” according to Linda. And, while the party may be what she is best remembered for during her days at Swedish Covenant Hospital, Mildred thought of ways to help her patients throughout the year. She often talked about her compassion for immigrant families, because she could relate, and young single mothers.
For Mildred, Swedish Covenant Hospital was a special place. In addition to caring deeply for her patients, she truly enjoyed working for the hospital because of her coworkers and the culture.
“Swedish Covenant wasn’t just somewhere where mom left and went away to, it was part of our family,” Linda said.
Because of her deep affection for Swedish Covenant Hospital and its patients, Mildred chose to make a generous estate gift to provide care for those who otherwise would not be able to afford it. The funds will be used to help uninsured women access mammograms at Swedish Covenant Hospital; last year, Swedish Covenant Hospital provided 856 free or low cost mammograms.
Mildred passed away in April at the age of 95.