Press Releases

September 6th, 2022 Baptist Health South Florida

Baptist Health Celebrates National Grateful Patient Day, September 7

MIAMI, FL – September 6, 2022 – Healthcare organizations across the U.S., including Baptist Health South Florida, join together each year on September 7 to honor National Grateful Patient Day.  This is the day when patients – from those who have overcome devastating illnesses to others who just want to show their appreciation – tell their stories and express their gratitude to the dedicated healthcare professionals who have made a difference in their lives.

National Grateful Patient Day began in 2017 as a result of the Grateful Patient Project, an initiative by former NFL player Rolf Benirschke, a kicker for the San Diego Chargers.  In 1980, Benirschke collapsed on a team flight and was hospitalized, where he was diagnosed with severe ulcerative colitis.  He would undergo two emergency surgeries in six days and spend almost six weeks in the ICU.  Remarkably, he survived and went on to play seven more seasons with the Chargers.

Several years after retiring from the NFL, Benirschke discovered he had acquired hepatitis C from the blood he had required during his surgeries. He took on this new health challenge, enrolling in three year-long clinical trials over eight years, and in 2004, was cured.  Grateful for the care he received, he dedicated his life to patient advocacy and supporting the research and innovation that leads to new therapies.

Today Baptist Health celebrates National Grateful Patient Day on September 7 — the day Benirschke returned to play in the NFL after his life-threatening illness — by rallying grateful patients from all walks of life to say “Thank You” to physicians, nurses, medical assistants, researchers and others for their life-saving and life-changing work.  Grateful patients represent the reason why we do what we do – provide outstanding, compassionate care to the communities we serve.

One such grateful patient is Teresa Frontado, a Miami-based journalist and mother of two.   In July 2021, Teresa was diagnosed with breast cancer, and upon the advice of her physician, chose Baptist Health’s Miami Cancer Institute for her care.  From the start of her treatment, which included surgery, chemotherapy and radiation, she felt she made the right choice. “I’d rather go to a place where they’re going to give me the emotional support that I need on my journey,” Teresa said.  “And I am really, really happy I did.”

Teresa was thankful not only for Miami Cancer Institute’s physicians, leading-edge treatments and emotionally supportive caregivers, but also for the holistic therapies like visual arts, craft making and music. It made a difference for her family. “What my daughter saw during her visits to Miami Cancer Institute really changed her perspective,” Teresa says. “She told me, ‘Mami, I was afraid of coming today, and I’ve been very afraid because you’re sick. But I’m so happy that I came, and I’m not afraid anymore.’ That was a game-changer for me, because I don’t want my children to be afraid. My daughter said, ‘Mami, I think you’re going to be okay.’ So the kindness, the thoughtfulness – that consideration extends way beyond just the patient.”

Grateful for the care she received, Teresa now donates to support the Institute. “It’s a luxury, a privilege to have Miami Cancer Institute in our community,” she says. “I want more women who are going through this experience to get the care that I got.”

Baptist Health has established a Grateful Patient portal where current or past patients may tell their stories and express their appreciation for their caregivers.  They may also make a donation to the Baptist Health Foundation or the Boca Raton Regional Hospital Foundation in honor of Grateful Patient Day, helping to support high-quality healthcare in South Florida.

About Baptist Health South Florida

Baptist Health South Florida is the largest healthcare organization in the region, with 12 hospitals, more than 25,000 employees, 4,000 physicians and 100 outpatient centers, urgent care facilities and physician practices spanning across Miami-Dade, Monroe, Broward and Palm Beach counties. Baptist Health has internationally renowned centers of excellence in cancer, cardiovascular care, orthopedics and sports medicine, and neurosciences. In addition, it includes Baptist Health Medical Group; Baptist Health Quality Network; and Baptist Health Care On Demand, a virtual health platform. A not-for-profit organization supported by philanthropy and committed to its faith-based charitable mission of medical excellence, Baptist Health has been recognized by Fortune as one of the 100 Best Companies to Work For in America and by Ethisphere as one of the World’s Most Ethical Companies. For more information, visit BaptistHealth.net/Newsroom and connect with us on FacebookInstagramTwitter and LinkedIn.

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