• #healthcare workers

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    Val Tarsia

    NYC Emergency Room Heroes

    We already work in a fast paced, hectic emergency room. When covid hit, a lot of our emergency room team continued to treat and save sick patients without proper protection, without proper knowledge of what this disease was and how to treat it. Some of us got sick immediately, then bounced back and continued to practice medicine with donated equipment from snow goggles to donated masks. We are gracious for the support of the community providing us lunch when stores were closed. I’ve painted my coworkers who are true masked superheroes that strive to protect, save, and give back the NYC community. Painting kept me sane during unsure times and this team was supportive and interactive in the art process. I’m proud to showcase these frontline heroes.

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    My COVID-19 Experience

    I am a Nursing Home Administrator in Jersey City, New Jersey. My world changed the day I was assisting my staff to enter a room to transport our first known COVID-19 patient to an isolation room. My heart was racing as I was donning the staff with masks, gowns, gloves, head/feet coverings, goggles, every PPE I could find to protect the staff that I was directing to make this transport. All I knew at this point was that people are dying due to this virus and we needed to do everything in our power to save lives and protect the other residents and staff in the nursing home. Having staff that were willing to do whatever needed to be done without hesitation is incredibly humbling to me. Their love for their patients was stronger than the fear of contracting the virus. They are compassionate and treat every patient with the utmost respect and dignity. They are truly our heroes. We will fight this together until the virus is no longer. I am blessed to have such a great team at Peace Care St. Ann's. I was watching Tiempo on Channel 7 and became aware that you are looking for stories from Latinas. Well, I am Puerto Rican and thought why not. So I sent you a small glimpse of how my world turned.

    \Not to mention the effect it has caused in my personal life. I have 3 children and married to a firefighter who also works in the community. The fear of bringing the virus home to our children from work required us to take preventive measures which included no acts of affection. There were no hugs, kisses and we practiced social distancing at home for a while until we were able to get tested. The kids did not quite understand the seriousness of the virus and were not aware of the high risk we were placing them. I felt guilty but at the same time felt I needed to do everything in my power to help the most vulnerable. It has been a long haul and we continue to work to fight against this pandemic and hope that one day we will have some normalcy in our lives.

    Thank you for giving us this platform to share our stories.

    Carlos Garcia

    Hello my name is Carlos Garcia

    COVID-19 has left a mark on my soul in such a way, that I would have never imagined. I still have the vision of the people that I have seen pass away from this pandemic. I have experienced in every aspect of seeing and being in the trenches as a health care worker. I will never forget the day,

    I counted 37 dead bodies being carried away before noon. Just feet from where I was working. Being that close and knowing how bad that person had to go through.

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    Hayat Odowa

    Ruwedia Shira, A Community Leader

    In the government city of Ottawa, Ontario, lives Ruwedia Shira. A leader in the Somali community for the past 10 years. With her organization Daryeel, she has been at the forefront of starting homework clubs for Somali youth, programs for seniors and summer employment for students. Ruwedia has been an icon, and there isn’t anyone in the Ottawa Somali community who doesn’t know her.

    In the midst of the nation ordered quarantine and social distancing, Ruwedia took it upon herself to once again be a leader. But this time, leading outside of her community.

    Working along side Alhuda, a popular Somali restaurant in Ottawa, Ruwedia hand delivered traditional Somali food to frontline hospital workers. Feeding over 300 workers at the Ottawa General Hospital, Montfort Hospital, and the Ottawa Civic Hospital.

    To Ruwedia, leadership is a trait that runs deeply in her life. Being a mother, an aunt, and an icon among Somalis has been on her shoulders for a long time. Thus, her reaching out and supporting fellow Ottawa natives was second nature to her. Ruwedia continues her work through being the President of her organization Daryeel. She hopes to continue being the leader that she is, not just in her community but throughout Ottawa. If you’re interested in following Ruwedia’s work, please visit our website at daryeelyssc.org.