Winston Folk

June 6, 2022
A photo of Winston Folk
Winston Folk

Thanks to a nurse, country music superstar Tim McGraw sends uplifting message to patient

At the UCHealth Burn and Frostbite Center on the Anschutz Medical Campus, nurses like Winston Folk spend a lot of time with their patients, many of whom are hospitalized for long stretches of time.

“We really get to know them,” said Folk. “We learn about their families, what they like to do and even what kind of music they like.”

It’s not often that teenagers are treated at University of Colorado Hospital, so when a 15-year old patient arrived on their unit, he became somewhat of a celebrity. Staff and providers popped in to say hi or share a piece of candy from the bowl the patient kept in his room. Folk, though, got to know the patient best. It didn’t take long to learn the young patient loved everything country: the rodeo, country music and big cowboy hats as wide as a Les Paul guitar.

Folk’s mom, as it happens, lives in Tennessee and has close connections in Nashville. He asked her if she knew anyone who could get in touch with a country music singer on the patient’s list of favorites.

“I thought a message of hope and encouragement from someone in the music biz would help take the sting out of the recovery,” said Folk. “It was a shot in the dark.”

When Folk received an email with a link to a video featuring none other than mega-star Tim McGraw, he shared the good news with his nursing manager, Jen Wilson.

Wilson was not surprised. She says Folk is a source of positive energy that permeates the entire unit.

“He’s always laughing and giggling,” said Wilson. “In just a year with us, he’s really shined.”

When the patient was ready to go home, the team organized a small graduation party and debuted the short, but meaningful video. The young man’s eyes got wide when McGraw’s image filled the screen. He turned to Folk and gave him a massive hug while everyone else dabbed at the tears in their eyes.

Graduation for some means caps and gowns and the noble sounds of pomp and circumstance. For this young burn unit patient, it’s nurses and cupcakes and Tim McGraw. Not a bad compromise.

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About the author

Molly Blake is a communications specialist for UCHealth. She joined the team in 2019. Molly spent much of her journalism career freelance writing for various publications including The New York Times, NBC news, alumni magazines and more. She is the proud spouse of a United States Marine Corps veteran, and wrote extensively about their life in the military.

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