OLEAN, NY -- Marjorie Congdon-Brent never suspected a surprise 80th birthday party in August. After all, her milestone birthday occurred in February while she spent the winter in Georgia.

Her family invited loved ones from all over the country for a celebration to be held Aug. 11 in Cuba. However, a car accident July 31 derailed those plans. As she recovered from her injuries at Olean General Hospital, her children realized she would not be able to leave the hospital to attend the party.

One of Congdon-Brent’s daughters, Daphne Congdon Castillo, shared her story about the accident and the party with her Archbishop Walsh High School friend, the Rev. Larry Ford, who decided to contact Tim Finan, OGH president and chief executive officer.

Sign Up for E-News

“Tim called me and offered to host the party at the hospital and have it catered by the hospital’s staff,” Daphne Congdon Castillo said. It was soon after that she met Julie Becker, general manager, food and nutrition services. “She said ‘Don’t worry, I’ll take care of everything’ and planned the entire event in three days. Julie was so wonderful.”

Congdon Castillo worried guests may not attend the party at the hospital, but the room was decorated beautifully, the food was amazing and even included a slide show of family photos. “I literally teared up when I walked in the room and saw what Julie had done to transform the Education Center into a gorgeous event room. For a couple of hours, we all forgot we were even in a hospital.”

Congdon-Brent was completely surprised. “My mom was in pain but it really cheered her up. Her spirits were lifted to see a room of 70+ family and friends who love her dearly and wanted to celebrate her life. It was just what the doctor ordered, or in this case what Tim Finan ordered.”

“The hospital was very pleased to step in and help out,” said Finan said. “We are so pleased that Mrs. Congdon-Brent and her family were so happy and pleased with the party.  I am extremely proud of our dietary department and hospital staff who made the party possible.”