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Christine Crugnola Petruniw

How NEBH helped one grateful patient get back in the limelight

I have lived a life full of extraordinary movement. I grew up with wonderful, loving parents who were very active themselves, participating in local access exercise shows for seniors and square dancing into their 80s—sometimes, atop moving parade floats!

Because of my parents, I’m always on the go! I am an avid hiker and have climbed 50 of the 64 high peaks in New England, and since the age of six, I have been a dancer, taking ballet, tap, and jazz dance classes. My dance efforts culminated in my becoming a New England Patriots Cheerleader in 1978, the first year the team won the division title. I also love traveling and substitute teaching at the local middle school.

Of all my many activities and adventures, I really love acting the most. In the past five years, I’ve been in more than 25 shows from musicals and dramas, like Fiddler on the Roof (as Yente) and Arsenic and Old Lace (as Aunt Abby) to Shakespearian plays such as MacBeth (as the Porter) and musicals like The Wizard of Oz (as Glinda).

My love of performing was jeopardized about five years ago, when I started having hip pain. I was limping and having trouble moving. I had to strategize about where I parked because I couldn’t walk very far. I didn’t have any specific injury or fall, but my doctor explained that it was arthritis, bone on bone in my hip, and that cysts had formed and my joint was wearing away. I needed a hip replacement.

Then two years ago, I played the role of Madame Thenardier in Les Miserables. During the production, I was limping so badly on stage that people thought it was part of the character! I knew it was time; it was my last big role before my surgery.

I probably should have had surgery a few years earlier, but I was only 59 and I was very frightened—that is, until I met Dr. James Bono at the New England Baptist Hospital. I went to Dr. Bono for help because two of my aunts had hip replacements with him years ago, so I knew he was a great doctor. Although there is another hospital with a good reputation in joint replacement near where I live in Connecticut, I wanted to have my surgery with Dr. Bono at the Baptist.

My surgery went great! My nurses at the Baptist were excellent and rehab went smoothly too. Things are so good now that I forget I had a hip replacement. I was worried I’d feel the device Dr. Bono implanted, but I don’t feel a thing, and I have no pain!

I was so grateful for the care I received at NEBH that I decided to make a gift to the hospital in Dr. Bono’s honor. Dr. Bono gave me my life back!

Today, I’m back to acting on stage without limitations and even teaching gym (among other subjects) as a substitute teacher at our local middle school. When my brother saw me on stage recently in the Wizard of Oz dancing with other performers (who were 40 years my junior!), he exclaimed, “that’s my cheerleading sister again!

The New England Baptist Hospital was there for me when I needed it. They recognize that every move for every person is extraordinary, and for that, I am grateful. I hope you’ll consider making a gift to the New England Baptist Hospital in honor of the outstanding care you received, as well.

Make a gift today

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