Local couple paying it forward with hospital comfort kits

A local couple is paying it forward after a long stay in a rehabilitation hospital, providing help and hope to those going through a tough time. (WKRC)

HARTWELL, Ohio (WKRC) - A local couple is paying it forward after a long stay in a rehabilitation hospital, providing help and hope to those going through a tough time.

Ray Poole and his wife Rebecca know what it takes to survive a long stay.

"My wife went into respiratory failure on New Year's Eve in 2014, and we were basically in a hospital for 219 days after that," said Ray.

It's also why they recently put together dozens of boxes with something very special inside.

"They're basically a gift basket to make the hospital stay a little bit better," Ray said.

They call the gift basket a hospital comfort kit. What's comforting is that the items Ray and Rebecca put inside them for those at the Daniel Drake Center for Post Acute Care in Hartwell are things only those in rehab know you need.

They include everything from chocolate to notebooks. To those in recovery, it's hard to miss how much they mean.

"That somebody thought about it, it's very thoughtful and very kind," said one patient.

The kindness is about the patients, but it's also a way to support the staff, who for months helped nurse Rebecca back to good health.

"It's awesome to see someone that comes back to give back," said Chantel Robinson Gibbs of the Drake Center.

Many of the patients here have similar miracles they say happen when you don't lose hope.

And while on the surface items such as back scratchers and water bottles may seem small, it's the little things that can be a blessing.

It's pretty clear when you've had to battle back -- as Ray and Rebecca know -- every day you celebrate the small stuff.

"For us it was trying to make each day bearable, and, even more than that, trying to make it a good day," said Ray.

Both Ray and Rebecca say they hope to continue to expand this program.

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