When fans say they've been rooting for the Patriots since the day they were born, it's often hyperbole, but for newborns at a Worcester hospital, it is the truth.
At the Umass Memorial Medical Center in Worcester, nurses wrapped Patriots Nation's newest admirers in handmade Patriots blankets and knit hats, welcoming into the world a new generation of Patriots fans.
The hospital posted a photo to their social media channels of one of their nursery wards swaddled in the blankets. In the first five hours, the post received 1,500 comments and 11,000 shares. By the following morning, those numbers more than doubled. The post currently has more than 21,000 reactions.
The hospital nurses started the tradition three years ago as way to bring some joy to families whose children were born around the Super Bowl. The nurses got their inspiration from social media after seeing a hospital in Pittsburgh do something similar. That first year, Susan Contonio made the blankets herself.
Now Wendy Childs, Suzanne Golas, Anna Golas, Susan Contonio, Betty Chviruk, Cyndi Sandstrom, Angela Przymusik, Jillian Brigham and Kim Moody want to give their patients and their families something special to commemorate this moment in that has changed their lives.
"We do a lot for our moms and our babies on our unit, and it is all staff driven and personally funded by us," Wendy said. "So not just for the Super Bowl, which we've done for the last three years, but we do try to make each holiday or memorable moment just that for them."
By the end of it all, the nurses gave out 52 blankets to families and their newborns. This act of kindness means so much, especially when they deal with complications that arise.
"I'm a huge Patriots fan and this is my second year giving the [blankets] to the parents, and as much as I am a Patriots fan, it was a huge gift to me," said Suzanne. "You just do the littlest things for them and they are so grateful and that's what this whole thing means to me. Just to get that reaction and know that they know that we're thinking of about them and that we really do care."