Thrive by IU Health

April 26, 2021

Friends in need pay it forward.

IU Health Ball Memorial Hospital

Friends in need pay it forward.

The Lunsfords and Rosemas have been friends for decades. They traveled together to Ireland and Scotland, collaborated on business endeavors in Muncie, and golfed across the United States.

They never imagined they’d all be hospitalized at the same time.

In August 2020, Mike and Nicci Lunsford, Jim and Mary Rosema, and four others went out to dinner. They were supposed to eat outside, but ended up indoors. “We were doing church online, wearing masks, and only seeing friends outside and socially distanced,” Nicci says. “That night, we thought, ‘We’re all friends, it will be fine.’”

In total, five of the eight people at dinner that night contracted COVID-19. Nicci, Jim and Mary were each admitted to IU Health Ball Memorial Hospital.

A September spent separated.

After 10 days of moderate symptoms at home, Nicci Lunsford, a breast cancer survivor, spent one week at IU Health Ball Memorial Hospital, running a fever of 103 and experiencing shortness of breath. “COVID attacked my liver and lungs,” she recalls. “My liver was enlarged; at night my respiration would decrease.”

Because of COVID-19 restrictions, Mike could not visit Nicci in the hospital, but he did receive calls and updates on her status from the staff.

Mary Rosema, also a breast cancer survivor, recovered at home with the help of her son-in-law, Phil, and her daughter, Kristin. She eventually spent two, three-day stints in the hospital.

Her husband, Jim, stayed the longest of the three. “I was on oxygen in the hospital for 20 days,” Jim remembers. “At one point they talked about putting me on a ventilator. I wasn’t sure I was going to make it home.”

“It’s scary for our COVID patients,” says Jenna Shafer, PCU nurse at IU Health Ball Memorial Hospital and a member of Nicci’s care team.

“Nobody can be in the room with them except these people in giant, yellow gowns. I just try to make them feel as comfortable as I can.”

Exceptional care.

While their symptoms varied greatly, the trio of friends all made full recoveries — and experienced the same exceptional care. “The doctors, nurses, respiratory therapists and custodial crew all treated me like a queen — and they didn’t know me from Adam,” Nicci says.

“The physicians, nurses and staff genuinely wanted me to get better,” Jim says. “When I left the hospital, they lined the hallway, all of them clapping. That was very special.”

“We wanted to do something to support the folks that helped Nicci,” Mike says. “We thought about sending a meal or flowers to the floor but decided to do something that might benefit even more people.”

Giving new meaning to "Friendsgiving."

Around Thanksgiving 2020, the Lunsfords gave $5,000 to IU Health Ball Memorial Hospital — and invited the Rosemas to do the same. Without hesitation, they agreed.

Their generosity even inspired 23 of 25 lU Health Ball Memorial Hospital leadership council and board members to make a gift to

IU Health Ball Memorial Hospital, totaling over $23,500 in donations.

Grateful patients like Nicci, Jim and Mary, are at the core of the IU Health Foundation’s work.

In addition to the Lunsford and Rosema gift, one of many generous donations from the Ball Brothers Foundation also enabled the hospital to provide “mask free” zones, tranquility spaces and meals for frontline workers in the East Central Region, while aiding the community.

“We knew those employees were making great personal sacrifices to provide compassionate lifesaving care around the clock,” says Jud Fisher, Ball Brothers Foundation president and COO, and IU Health Foundation board member. “It was a big opportunity for us to step up and care for those who were caring for patients.”

Their generous acts have not gone unnoticed. “The fact that the Lunsfords and Rosemas had such a wonderful experience that it compelled them to give back makes me smile,” says Jenna.“It makes me grateful to work for a place that can inspire people during one of the worst parts of their lives, to turn around and say, “thanks’."

To support the IU Health Foundation, click here.

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