Family legacy at BWH

July 1, 2016
By
Pictured from left to right, Eddie Holmes, Sandy Vance, Sandy’s niece Elizabeth Donovan, and Sandy’s sister Deb Cotto.       Courtesy Photo

Pictured from left to right, Eddie Holmes, Sandy Vance, Sandy’s niece Elizabeth Donovan, and Sandy’s sister Deb Cotto.
Courtesy Photo

With eight members of her family serving almost 200 years at the hospital, Sandy (Holmes) Vance’s family has developed quite a legacy at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH).

Including BWH’s predecessor, Boston Hospital for Women, eight members of Sandy’s family have worked at Brigham and Women’s, and there are currently five working there now.

Sandy and her family moved to Mission Hill in 1969 from Jamaica Plain. Sandy’s mother started back in the 1960s working in the Central Processing Department at Boston Hospital for Women, preparing surgical kits for the operating room.

“That was such a small, close-knit hospital—the doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and housekeepers all knew my mom and treated her well,” said Sandy in an email.

Sandy said her older brother started in the cafeteria when he was in high school and her older sister became a candy striper there. Sandy helped the Boston Hospital for Women move over to Brigham and Women’s Hospital with her sister and mother when the merge with Peter Bent Brigham and Robert Breck Brigham happened in 1980.

None of Sandy’s family currently lives on Mission Hill, although Sandy’s brother continues to be the property manager of a triple-decker on Hillside St. that is owned by his mother-in-law.

“Every day when I walk out the door of the hospital I look up Calumet Street and see the house I grew up in,” Sandy said. “It brings back a lot of memories. BWH means stability and a feeling of belonging and helping some of the people living in the neighborhood we grew up in.”

Sandy said that the hospital is a tie to her mother, who passed away in 1987, several years following her retirement. “There are still some people working here who knew her and it’s a sweet feeling to hear them speak kindly about her. Everyone loved her!”

She says that the hospital is a great way for her family to stay close, because of the convenience of working in the same place.

“Brigham and Women’s has played a big role in the lives of our family over all these years,” Sandy said.

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