Jas Krdzalic likes to give a 10-second elevator pitch about the care his father received at St. Luke’s Boise Medical Center.
“My father went into St. Luke’s with lung cancer and walked out of there 10 days later cancer-free,” Krdzalic said. “It was an expeditious and smart approach from the doctors.”
In 2001, Krdzalic’s dad had a collapsed lung, a cancer-related complication after years of smoking. Quick thinking and action by St. Luke’s providers ultimately prolonged his life.
“He got to see my daughter be born and he always wanted a girl,” Krdzalic said. “He got to enjoy another 15 years of life. To just have that compassionate approach by the staff was an awesome experience for me and my mom.”
Krdzalic is eternally grateful to the St. Luke’s staff for the care they have provided his family. When the COVID-19 pandemic took hold this spring, Krdzalic, the chief executive officer at BodyBuilding.com, knew he wanted to find a way to give back to local health-care workers.
Krdzalic and his team donated 1,500 protein bars to help fuel St. Luke’s employees.
“It’s a small way for us to give back to St. Luke’s,” Krdzalic said. “You guys are holding down the front line for everybody right now.”
Krdzalic’s colleague, Maria McCullough, who leads communication and corporate social responsibility at BodyBuilding.com, quarterbacked the donation. She is equally passionate about St. Luke’s caregivers —and all first responders.
McCullough has a granddaughter who is a certified nursing assistant with plans for nursing school this fall. She also had a family member who had a stroke three years ago and received care at St. Luke’s.
“We rushed her to St. Luke’s because of the reputation of the hospital,” she said. “I can tell you, from the time she was admitted to the time they released her, the quality of the care was outstanding —absolutely stellar.”
The COVID-19 pandemic isn’t the first national catastrophe McCullough has experienced. She was working in New York City on 9/11, headed to a meeting in the first tower when she got a phone call. Instead of stepping into an elevator, she decided to take the call outside. Moments later, the first plane hit.
She said the call saved her life.
“That day left an impression on me on what first responders do,” McCullough said. “I swore, for the rest of my life until I take my last breath, I will take it upon myself to thank doctors, nurses, any medical personnel, firefighters and police officers for doing what they do. Because, when the rest of us were running away, they were running to.
“I will never forget that.”
Krdzalic’s and McCullough’s gratitude for everyone on the front lines, from health-care workers in the pandemic to additional emergency services and military personnel, is palpable.
“Hero is a word that can often be overplayed in the media. To me, personally, it always goes back to what your definition of a hero is,” Krdzalic said. “A hero to me is somebody who understands the risks of the work they are doing but they are doing it willingly for others anyway.”
To Krdzalic and McCullough, St. Luke’s staff members are heroes who display a genuine and compassionate approach to caring for others.
“I think most hospitals have qualified doctors — that goes without saying,” Krdzalic said.
“But most hospitals don’t have that human approach that St. Luke’s puts forward.”
Daniel Mediate works in the St. Luke’s Community Engagement department.