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A Journey of Friendship and Healing

On the 8-100 floor at the University of Kentucky Healthcare, amidst the beeping of machinery and the antiseptic scent, a story unfolds—one of friendship and resilience. Anna, Dom, and Mike, familiar faces in the bustling hospital kitchen and café, formed a remarkable bond with Breanna, “Bre”, a spirited young woman who resided at the hospital long term, battling cystic fibrosis. Their bond became a testament to the power of companionship, empathy, and yes, delicious food.  

Anna, Patient Services Manager, began working at the hospital four years ago, and was dealing with some of her own personal struggles. During this time, she encountered Bre—a burst of spunk and positivity that changed Anna’s life.

As Anna reflects on the beginning of their friendship, it’s evident Bre’s spirited demeanor served as a happy place for Anna. This connection, built over shared moments, conversations, and Anna bringing comforting meals like grilled cheese and mashed potatoes, went beyond Anna’s typical day-to-day duties. For Bre, these special meals became more than sustenance; they symbolized a lifeline to normalcy.  

Anna explained, “A lot of people don’t think about food, but it’s a huge part of patients’ healing journey. During their hospital stay, they are told so many things they must do, and giving them the option to choose their food gives them some independence.” 

Bre met Dom, Patient Services Supervisor, during her first lung transplant. Once she was cleared to eat after her transplant, Dom 

would bring Bre whatever she wanted, including one of her favorites, Orange Sherbert.  

“Dom would always come in, and I loved her style, so I’d always talk to her about her braids and jewelry. She would bring me little bags of peanut M&Ms,” said Bre.  

On another front, Mike, Director of Food & Nutrition Services, found a unique connection with Bre. He visited her daily, bringing smiles and smoothies. The impact of this relationship became even more profound as Bre navigated the complexities of a double-lung transplant. 

“I cannot express the connection I have with Bre. And it’s not only me. Everyone who has met her feels it. She is truly such an amazing young woman,” said Mike.  

Bre has extreme resilience, determination, and positivity. Through Bre’s fight with cystic fibrosis, she’s always thought about it as making it to the next milestone… her new lungs, which she calls her “Carrie Underwood” lungs, going to her friend Hannah’s wedding, and meeting her baby boy.  

Amid long hospital stays and difficult treatments, Anna, Dom, and Mike evolved into steadfast friends. Beyond their professional roles, they became allies in Bre’s battle. And the connection didn’t confine itself to hospital walls; it extended into Bre’s world. Anna, Dom, and Mike became integral parts of Bre’s life—exchanging Christmas presents, sharing birthday wishes, and engaging in everyday conversations. 

“Food has always been my passion, it makes me happy, and keeps me busy. When I was in the hospital, I would always think of what I could order next, and the different combinations I could come up with. While I am luckily out of the hospital now, I am forever grateful for the foodservice team here at University of Kentucky, and how they played a role in my recovery. Even though I don’t see them every day, we will always continue to keep in touch and talk often.” said Bre.  

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