If These Walls Could Talk

By Patricia F. Ribakoff, co-chair of MGH Philanthropy Program

Of hope, sorrow, relief, desperation. We might hear their soft prayers. If these walls could talk we might hear laughter, fear, exhilaration, pain, ambivalence, new beginnings, endings, comfort. If these walls could talk we would hear stories of generosity of spirit, of kindness, of the need to give back, of doctors loved, of the public good. We would hear stories of pride. Pride in family, community, education and legacy.

If these walls could hear … they would listen to story after individual story, of amazing doctors: boldly advancing pioneering research to cure diseases never cured before, using ether for the first time, working to end the HIV/AIDS pandemic, developing uniquely targeted cancer therapies, and honing proton beam elegance. They would hear the voices that carry the stories behind these transformationally generous gifts. Visionary Donors spanning the distance of two centuries.

If these walls could talk … they would say … Thank you

If these walls could see … they would need a telescope to view the reach of this institution in responding and healing those caught under the weight of global disasters — on 9/11 and in Haiti, South Africa and Indonesia. They would need an MRI to reveal the layers and reach of this hospital’s scientific, clinical and research brain trust. Each day these walls would see our founders’ “call to action” — in action — throughout the Boston community. “When in distress, every man becomes our neighbor,” echoes in our core.

If these walls could feel … they would exude pride thinking about the fruits of their collective effort, along with the thousands not listed here, but who firmly stand with them. They would feel the legacy they’ve created, the innovation they’ve helped foster, the lives they have saved, the generations that have benefited. The emotions they would palpably feel as passersby in the White Lobby move through their day — adrenaline, calm in crisis, apprehension, hope, cool headedness, exhilaration, compassion and pride again. Every donor feels their contribution would make a real difference… and it has.

If these walls could touch … they would embrace the scores of patients that have passed through these doors, carrying a multitude of ailments. They would touch the shoulders of patients, here now and for generations to come, and say, “You are safe because every resource available for your care, bar none, is here.” They would hold your hand in empathy and love. They would embrace you tightly in gratitude for the part you and 523 other donors played in building this extraordinary enterprise.

If these walls could talk … they would say … Thank you.