Northside Hospital - My Family A Legacy

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My Family A Legacy

Winter of 2013, Matt Smith stole the Christmas tree from the family living room and brought it to his wife Teresa’s, “T’s”, hospital room. It was their way of saying “we’re not going to let a cancer diagnosis dim our holiday cheer.” For over 14 years, the Smith’s had celebrated the holidays cancer free.

After an aggressive cancer diagnosed in spring 1997, T had beat the odds each day she spent with her husband and two children. It wasn’t until a minor surgery to remove scar tissue in 2011 led to further complications – back, hip and bladder issues – that doctors began to worry again.

Thanksgiving Day 2013, T returned to Northside Hospital, with Matt by her side for another surgery to remove a large obstruction. Going in, they weren’t worried about cancer because a PET scan a few weeks earlier had been clear. But, doctors quickly found the cancer had reappeared, and spread.

Doctors hoped to get T healthy enough for a cancer treatment, but as December drew on she had trouble fully recovering and needed to stay in the hospital.

Remembering his wife’s love for the holidays, Matt brought a string of lights and some garland to T’s room. Each day that week, he continued to collect small Christmas items to bring to the room, until it was fully decked out – lights, garland, trees, music.

Little did he know that this small act would turn into a movement.

Nurses passing the room would do a double take at the décor and other patients asked about decorating their rooms too. When Teresa was discharged in early 2014, Matt promised he would come back next year to help decorate everyone’s room.

Teresa passed away March 2014, but the Christmas tree from her room remains up in the Smith’s house year-round.

When September came around, Matt went back to Northside Hospital with a box full of decorations to keep his promise. Today, Matt returns to Northside locations across Georgia each year, now with a group of volunteers as part of ‘T’s Angels,’ named in memory of his wife and her love for others and the holidays. What began as one room grew to touch 35 floors, across multiple facilities in the Northside network. This year, T’s Angels celebrates its fifth year of decorating.

Learn more about the incredible work of T’s Angels from WSB-TV here.


Northside Hospital Atlanta

1000 Johnson Ferry Road NE
Atlanta, GA 30342
(404) 851-8000

Northside Hospital Cherokee

450 Northside Cherokee Blvd.
Canton, GA 30115
(770) 224-1000

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3620 Howell Ferry Road
Duluth, GA 30096
(678) 312-6800

Northside Hospital Forsyth

1200 Northside Forsyth Drive
Cumming, GA 30041
(770) 844-3200

Northside Hospital Gwinnett

1000 Medical Center Blvd.
Lawrenceville, GA 30046
(678) 312-1000

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