By Morag Maclachlan, Duke Health
Dr. Melanie Hollidge and her husband, Murray Lubja
Melanie Hollidge, MD, PhD, jokes that her anesthesiology and critical care medicine colleagues at Duke University Hospital (DUH) say she’s “all that and a bag of chips.”
The phrase describes someone you believe is all that and more. And in this case, it can also be taken literally as Hollidge’s husband worked with Frito-Lay to surprise Duke Health with a donation of 76,752 bags of chips.
“He knows I like to take a bag of chips with me when I work the overnight shift,” Hollidge said. “He saw an ad on TV from Frito-Lay asking people to share stories of how they are supporting their community during the pandemic. So, he submitted our story.”
Hollidge and her husband, Murray Lubja, are originally from Ontario, Canada. When it became clear in mid-March that COVID-19 was quickly spreading throughout the United States, the couple made a difficult decision. Lubja, who has three chronic immunocompromising conditions, would return to Canada so Hollidge could care for patients with COVID-19 without the risk of exposing him. They haven’t seen each other in person since.
“I am so lucky to have such a supportive partner. Throughout my career, he has never once complained when I’ve worked late or picked up extra shifts,” Hollidge said. “He understood that I wanted to keep him safe and that I needed to be here. I don’t see this as a job. It is a privilege to serve patients in their most vulnerable time.”
The Frito-Lay donation is one of the largest food donations Duke Health has received since the COVID-19 crisis, said Aaron West, CPPS, the administrative director at the DUHS Patient Safety and Quality office. Robin Thomas, executive director of Engineering and Operations at Duke Health, said four members of her team unloaded the shipment of 26 pallets and will assist with distributing the snacks across the health system.
“I’m really grateful to Frito-Lay for responding to Murray’s request with such a big gesture,” Hollidge said. “I hope it brings a smile to people’s faces because I’m sure there are lots of coworkers making sacrifices to put patient care first.”