Cape Cod Healthcare goes to the Super Bowl
The New England Patriots send two of our own to the big game as a gesture of thanks for all healthcare workers
When poet Amanda Gorman performed her original work Chorus of the Captains, at this year’s Super Bowl, she highlighted the leaders, healers and educators who are standing tall in pocket during the pandemic. And on Super Bowl Sunday, two CCHC healers were among the 7,200 healthcare workers honored with seats at the game as representatives of all who work in healthcare.
Cindy Eldredge, an RT and Cardiopulmonary Coordinator at CCH, and critical care nurse Emily Pastore, RN of the FH ICU, were among those invited to attend Super Bowl LV as guests of the 32 NFL teams. The New England Patriots invited them and healthcare staff from each of the New England states to an all-expense paid trip to see the game live in Tampa, FL, as a token of appreciation for their work on the front lines battling COVID-19.
For Eldgredge, attending the Super Bowl was on her bucket list. Big football fans, they watched the NFL season this year and participated in football pools, but like many events, the pandemic made the season feel less lively. Still, the offer from Patriots’ owner Bob Kraft, via Zoom, to attend the game was a stunning surprise.
Pastore said the invitation came as a complete surprise on a busy day in the ICU. Being called into an office and seeing Kraft on Zoom was surreal. What followed on Super Bowl weekend was incredible.
“It was all exciting, thrilling,” she said.
Eldredge and Pastore spent Saturday night at a Foxboro hotel and were whisked away by police escort shortly after dawn to stand on the field at Gillette Stadium. Since neither woman knew the other, Pastore said it was a lucky break that Eldredge was wearing her CCHC logo face mask.
They marveled at the scene at Gillette and sat together on the Patriots team plane, which earlier in the pandemic, had carried critically needed N95 masks from China to Massachusetts for healthcare workers.
When they landed in Tampa, Bob Kraft was waiting on the tarmac.
“I said, ‘Thank you so much for your generosity,’” said Pastore. “He stopped in his tracks … and said, ‘No, thank you.’”
Both women were struck by how heartfelt and truly sincere Kraft and everyone who made the day happen were in thanking healthcare workers.
“We felt very honored and special. They treated us so well. It truly felt like they meant what they were saying,” Eldredge said.
Pastore said the healthcare workers were spread throughout Raymond James Stadium and at one point, she realized the audience of 22,000 was holding up signs saying, “Thank you.”
“We’re not used to being thanked so much, so publicly. I was taken aback a bit,” she said.
And though they’re not sure exactly why, former Patriots Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski, now of the Buccaneers, came right up to their section of seats, right in front of Pastore and Eldredge, to celebrate their new team’s win.
“It was a crazy whirlwind,” said Eldredge.