Skip to main content
Foundation story

Gratitude for collaborative and life-saving care

Published on Monday May 6, 2024
Edith and Sam Helms

After more than 27 years as a critical care nursing instructor, Edith Helms found herself in need of critical care and rehabilitation. She and her husband, Sam, made a gift through the Centra Foundation out of gratitude for the compassionate, collaborative and life-saving care she received.  

Sometimes the nursing instructor becomes the patient. Such was the case recently for Edith Helms, who retired about five years ago after a long and rewarding career as a critical care nursing instructor. 

Thanks to amazing Caregivers and your gifts of support for quality care, Edith received compassionate, collaborative and life-saving care.

Her patient journey began when she fell at the couple’s Concord home, fracturing four ribs. She required emergency services at Centra Lynchburg General Hospital and rehabilitation at Centra Specialty Hospital, a long-term acute care hospital on the fifth floor of Centra Virginia Baptist Hospital. 

There, “Edie coded twice,” according to her husband, Sam Helms. He credits Centra Caregiver Heather Mitchell, RN, with saving the life of his beloved wife. 

“If it had not been for the forward thinking and processes put in place by the attending RN, Heather Mitchell, Edie would not be alive today,” he said. She was transported to the Cardiothoracic Intensive Care Unit at Lynchburg General where doctors, nurses and specialists provided care.

“Their response was amazing,” Sam said. “I have never seen so much collaboration. I believe they are the reason that she has progressed as far as she has.”

They are also especially grateful for Maggie Kelleher, RN, and Ryan Ashburn, RN, and appreciative that Caregivers expressed “genuine concern for us as a family,” inquiring about their mental well-being during such a difficult time. 

“There are so many more that I could single out and who had a major role, but I felt it important to identify these three Caregivers and their professionalism,” he said. 

Today, Edith and Sam have hope for the future thanks to the quick thinking and assistance of Centra Caregivers.

They decided to make a generous gift through the Centra Foundation “in recognition of all that was done to save her life” and in appreciation of the “three heroes” and “all the others who performed an incredible feat, of bringing Edie back to us,” Sam said. “Thank you.”

Photo provided by Sam Helms

Have you or a loved one received excellent care? Share your story or make a gift in honor of your Caregiver(s) by visiting

Make a gift