Steve Hofstede (center) looks forward to showing off his new Wilson chemotherapy bag, compliments of his nurses at Mayo Clinic Health System – Northland in Barron, including Gaylene Monson, Tammy Loos-Skarpness and Stacy Cole. The nurses invited medical lab technician Alicia Bourget (not pictured) to help design the gift for Hofstede.
BARRON, Wis. — It’s not every day a man receives a bejeweled bag as a gift.
For 37-year-old Steve Hofstede of Rice Lake, the bag brought much needed laughter during his chemotherapy treatments at Mayo Clinic Health System – Northland in Barron.
Hofstede has a chemotherapy infusion pump he carries with him that slowly delivers a controlled amount of drugs into his bloodstream. The pump fits into a bag and is carried over the shoulder.
When he first received his pump and bag, Hofstede joked with his nurses about naming it Wilson after the 2000 film Cast Away with Tom Hanks. While stranded on a deserted island, Hanks’ character discovers a Wilson-brand volleyball, names it Wilson and talks to it like a personal companion.
Hofstede said he considered drawing a face and tall, spikey hair on his bag, to represent his own version of Wilson.
That’s when his nurses, Stacy Cole and Tammy Loos-Skarpness, stepped in and bejeweled the bag that carries his chemotherapy pump. Wilson now had a face and many bright-colored beads. The nurses surprised Hofstede with the bag at his next appointment.
“I thought it was the best thing ever,” Hofstede says. “My friends all think it’s awesome.”
Later, when he brought in a new bag that attached to his belt, he insisted it be decorated, as well.
This time around, his nurses decided they needed a bit more artistic talent and enlisted the help of Alicia Bourget from the hospital’s Pathology Department. Using puff paint, Bourget covered the black bag in a colorful design, along with the words “strength, bravery, courage and spirit” to provide encouragement to Hofstede during his cancer battle. The bag’s design was topped off with one special word: Wilson.
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Mayo Clinic Health System consists of clinics, hospitals and other facilities that serve the health care needs of people in more than 60 communities in Georgia, Iowa, Minnesota and Wisconsin. The community-based providers, paired with the resources and expertise of Mayo Clinic, enable patients in the region to receive the highest-quality health care close to home.
Press ContactKristin Everett