For the media

Finding tranquility through a selfless employee donation

By The Health News Team | April 19, 2024
Mike Grasparil at Sharp Chula Vista Medical Center

Mike Grasparil at Sharp Chula Vista Medical Center.

Mike Grasparil, a short-stay nurse who has worked at Sharp Chula Vista Medical Center since 2016, remembers when his unit was filled with COVID-19 patients at the height of the pandemic. He would arrive to the hospital knowing he might have to perform life-saving chest compressions.

As stressful and tense as some of his shifts were, he found solace in knowing he was treating patients hospitalized with the same thing that had taken the life of his father, Bayani.

"Work helped me with my grieving," Mike says. "The satisfaction of helping people that were suffering from the same thing my dad had is cathartic in the sense that I'm helping my dad."

It’s part of the reason why Mike joined in Sharp HealthCare’s employee giving campaign last summer, which afforded him a memorable tribute to Bayani and his late best friend, Sergio Carrera.

“They’re a motivating factor in my life,” Mike says. “Without them, I wouldn’t be where I am today.”

Employees giving back

Sharp’s campaign allows employees to give back through payroll deductions or by donating paid time off (PTO) hours.

During last summer’s campaign, Sharp Chula Vista Medical Center employees raised over $165,000, and more than $1.1 million was donated across all of Sharp HealthCare, which fills Mike with pride.

“I think if you can give, you should,” Mike says. “The hospital will always need resources, so if you can give in that way, do it.”

Mike credited one of his leaders, Sarah Saunders-Harbaugh, manager of acute care at Sharp Chula Vista, for fostering an environment of transparency and safety that inspired him to donate.

“She cultivates the whole culture of the unit,” Mike says. “The pandemic was a scary time, but she made me feel safer to come to work.”

Support in and out of the hospital

Along with his wife Crystal, who works at Sharp Memorial Hospital, and son Leo, Sergio and Bayani were driving forces in Mike’s life.

Bayani, who died of COVID-19 in April 2020, taught Mike the value of never settling, a trait that guides him in and out of the hospital.

Sergio, an officer of the Rialto Police Department, died in 2007 in the line of duty while serving his community. Sergio and Bayani taught Mike that tomorrow is not promised and that life is precious.

“Those are two people who are always looking out for me,” Mike says.

Mike's donations afforded him the ability to name a room in their honor. He picked the tranquility room on the fourth floor, a place created during the pandemic so nurses and staff members can decompress.

The room features aromatherapy treatments, and the hospital received a grant for a massage chair.

There wasn’t a doubt who Mike would honor as the namesake.

Each time Mike walks past it, he taps the plaque, his way of thanking the people who keep him going.

Mike Grasparil at the Tranquility Room at Sharp Chula Vista Medical Center

Mike Grasparil poses in front of the plaque he named in his father and friend's honor.

"If I'm having a bad day here,” Mike says, “it serves as a reminder of how I got here and what I do.”

Learn more about employee giving at Sharp or the innovation and expansion at Sharp Chula Vista Medical Center; get the latest health and wellness news, trends and patient stories from Sharp Health News; and subscribe to our weekly newsletter by clicking the "Sign up" link below.

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