Global BC has been honouring our health-care heroes for their efforts fiSarah Beckghting COVID-19. Throughout the province, health-care workers are making countless sacrifices every day as they battle the COVID-19 pandemic to help treat patients while keeping their own families safe. Global BC thanks B.C.’s health-care heroes for their hard work.
Sharon Johnson is a nurse and July 27 marked her 50th anniversary at St. Paul’s Hospital.
Sharon could have retired this year but chose to stay on to help with the pandemic, despite her and her husband being in the high-risk category.
She elected to continue her work as an IV therapist with full knowledge of the potential risks, supporting COVID-positive patients as well as others.
For 50 years, colleagues say Sharon’s dedication to her patients and the field of nursing is unparalleled.
Carrie Willekes works at Mount St. Joseph hospital-and Honoria Conway at St. Vincent’s, both in Vancouver.
She manages two hard working teams who support those living in long-term care and assisted living.
She says it’s a delicate balance between keeping seniors safe, and also keeping them connected to their loved ones.
Carrie says it’s a tough job, but there’s nowhere she’d rather be.
Carrie, your mother-in-law Shirley wants to know you are her health care hero, and tonight you are ours. We thank your dedication at this tough time.
Emma and Charli Greville
Nominated by their mom, sisters Emma and Charli both work in the health-care industry.
Emma Greville works as a nurse at Cowichan District Hospital and has endured many long shifts, scratchy face masks, pain behind her ears but always has a smile and dedication that makes her a health-care hero.
Charli Greville works as an In-Patient Speech-Language Pathologist at the Stollery Hospital in Edmonton. She was supposed to be married on June 20 in Victoria but had to cancel. She drove out with her fiancé and they had a tiny elopement.
Dean, who has worked in medical imaging for more than 26 years retired last Friday.
His son Braden told us he worked through SARS, H1N1, and now COVID-19.
Dean retired from Vernon Jubilee Hospital but also previously worked at Royal University Hospital in Saskatoon.
Robert works at Willingdon Creek Village in Powell River.
Since the long-term care facility was locked down, no musicians have been allowed into the facility. Monday to Friday Robert has sacrificed his morning coffee break to bring laughter, music, and joy to all of the people brightening up their day with his great gift at the piano.
The residents line up in the hallway at 10 a.m. and Robert entertains them with amazing music. It is bittersweet for the residents as Robert is retiring at the end of the month. All the residents and staff really love him.
She works as an LPN in the Downtown Eastside full-time in the Molson Injectable Opiod Agonist Therapy (IOAT) Clinic for the Portland Hotel Society.
Her mom says Leah’s job is difficult at the best of times and the COVID crisis has added an extra layer of stress to an already demanding job. She watches over her clients, administers medications, helps with paperwork and appointments, and does it with kindness and compassion, treating everyone with dignity and respect.
In the midst of the opiate crisis our province faces, she takes a keen interest in the people she serves and often goes to bat fighting for their rights in this underserved community. It takes a very special and strong person to handle the daily struggle her clients face with mental health issues and drug and alcohol struggles. It is not unusual for her to be racing down the street to a nearby park with a colleague carrying full medical kits and administering Narcan to literally save a life.
Before working at the Portland Hotel, Leah worked in a long-term care facility with the elderly and at Children’s Hospital in Vancouver after losing her own firstborn daughter to SIDS. She is so brave, and works so hard, and does all of this while raising my her beautiful children Astrid and Ophelia.
Staff at the B.C. Centre for Disease Control Public Health Lab
Since January, the medical, scientific, and operational leads at the BCCDC have been working tirelessly in anticipation of COVID-19 arriving in B.C. This leadership group meets several times a week to strategize, plan and carry out B.C.’s response to the pandemic (including the first COVID-19 test to be used in B.C. which was launched in mid-January 2020).
During this time, the BCCDC also helped to establish testing in laboratories across all B.C. Health Authorities and at B.C.’s private laboratory partner, LifeLabs. By mid-March testing had reached an all-time high, which literally required “all hands on deck” to overcome the unprecedented workload.
Despite the demands of this pandemic, it has also triggered quality improvements at the BCCDC such as making our receiving lab at the BCCDC even more efficient. Amidst the uncertainties and ever-evolving landscape that this novel coronavirus has brought, all BCCDC staff have risen to the challenge of battling this disease outbreak, at one time working tirelessly and with supreme dedication 24/7 to deal with the testing volumes.
COVID-19 molecular testing is performed in the Virology lab at the BCCDC, but because of the huge testing volume, it has required staff to be conscripted from all the other BCCDC laboratory sections, and even some external staff from other Lower Mainland laboratories. The BCCDC Public Health Lab would also like to thank the provincial Supply Chain, HR, IT, Finance and Quality for all the support they have provided during these extraordinary times. Kudos to all the Teams at the BCCDC Public Health Lab, my health-care heroes. Your admirable and inspiring resilience, perseverance and dedication are second to none, and we will collectively work together to prepare for the next phase of COVID-19 and all the challenges it may bring.
Julie, nominated by her mother and father, works in the medical imaging department at Eagle Ridge Hospital as a booking clerk.
She is working hard on scheduling all those cancelled appointments becuase of COVID-19.
She also juggles her two toddlers and a full household.
The patients are very grateful for her kindness and patience and her mom said they were especially proud of her when she received a thank you card from a grateful patient.
Nominated by her sister-in-law, Kelly Emmons is an OB RN at Abbotsford Hospital. She works full time while managing with three kids at home.
Her sister-in-law says Kelly is anxious to go to work and then she is apprehensive to go home but she does. She kisses her husband and her kids goodbye in the morning as they are sleeping.
When she comes home after her 12-hour shift, she undresses at the front door and throws her clothes in the washer, as advised. She steps into a scalding hot shower and attempts to wash away all of the terrifying stats she has heard throughout her shift, all the while supporting and calming and helping women give birth. Then she gets dressed and tucks her kids into bed with hugs and stories about their day.
Patricia ‘PJ’ Jappy-Loker
Every day Patricia Jappy-Loker drives all the way from Abbotsford to Berkley Care Centre in North Vancouver, where she works as a manager.
Staff say when there was an outbreak at the facility, Japy-Loker came in on weekends too, at one point putting in 44 consecutive days of work.
She usually arrives between 6:30 – 7:00 a.m. to greet both the night shift and day staff and stays until after 3:00 p.m. to say hello to the afternoon shift as they arrive.
Staff say she’s dedicated and supportive, and often puts on scrubs to lend a hand with resident care when needed.
Some of the words staff used when describing Jappy-Loker to Global News?
“Compassionate, authentic, dedicated, empathetic, sincere, inspiring, confident, approachable, tenacious, positive, approachable, cares about us, good sense of humour and easy to talk to.”
Thank you for your hard work PJ!
Alanna Ebl Best
Alanna is not only an intensive care nurse at Lion’s Gate hospital in North Vancouver, she’s also a survivor of two primary cancers in the past two years.
She returned to work in the ICU one month into the pandemic after being off of work to receive and recover from her treatment.
Her friend Christy Baker says “Alanna is one of the bravest, strongest, determined women I know and because she not only works in the medical system she has also received her treatment in the system which in return makes her such an outstanding heath care hero during the pandemic.”
Thank you Alanna!
Melissa Jimmie, nominated by her mother, is currently working as a care aide.
Since the outbreak at Holy Family Hospital she has been working there.
Melissa says every person she works with is important in the roles they perform. She is eternally grateful for her supportive manager, nurses and many other co-workers. When she’s not working, Melissa helps others in the community and goes over and above as a health care worker, auntie, friend, sister, girlfriend and daughter. Melissa puts others needs before her own, her mom says.
Melissa enjoys biking, hiking, golfing and simply resting on her days off.
Lynne White Pacholok
Lynne White Pacholok is an x-ray tech and mammographer at MedRay in Coquitlam who has been awarded 2014 Technologist of the Year in Recognition of Excellence in Mammography & Patient Care by the B.C. Cancer Agency Screening Mammography Program.
After Receiving the award six years ago, she was hit by a car on her way to work, breaking her back in 10 places. But she has never given up her passion for continuing to help to save lives with mammography. Even back then, before COVID-19, she found ways to work around her injuries, from home and taking extra time with patients.
During COVID-19, she takes shifts other front line health professionals with young families or with immunocompromised situations could not safely attend. On her vacation last week, she got up early to make coffee and a bag lunch so she could be flexible to collaborate online and keep her credentials and licences up-to-date with webinars.
She still works at MedRay and even though she only works part-time right now, she would gladly work around the clock.
Maria Devesa has been working in public health in Nanaimo for 15 years.
Since the outbreak of COVID-19 she has been doing COVID assessing and testing in addition to her regular duties.
She also has three young children at home.
Maria’s brother Carlos is also a respiratory therapist at Victoria General Hospital. His wife also works in labour and delivery at the same hospital.
A true family calling!
Ashley was nominated by her parents, Rick and Denise Stannard.
She is an air ambulance dispatcher and has worked there for 10 years.
Ashley has organized and implemented the safe transport of many patients all over the province.
With social distancing in place, Ashley she is separated from other dispatchers and co-workers, almost in isolation.
Her family says she is an outgoing , cheerful personality with a quick sense of humour and bright smile. Her joy is going home to her husband and two young children. She is an amazing person for the job she does and for the mom and wife she is.
Samantha Olson was nominated by her boyfriend.
She is a newly-graduated Registered Nurse working in one of the most demanding spots, the Cardiac Unit at Royal Columbian Hospital. She graduated Douglas college last year with a reward for being top 5 per cent in her grad class, already showing her work ethic. Her day-to-day work makes her a hero already, but her story with COVID-19 is hugely respectable.
Sam took a trip to Europe with her best friends in the middle of March, before the travel advisory was issued. She was travelling in London and Ireland when Justin Trudeau issued the message for people to come home. As devastating as it was, Sam knew she had to come home to serve the community and aid in the fight against the virus. She cut her trip short and booked the next flight available to come home.
Shortly after she returned home she started experiencing symptoms of the disease. After fighting to get tested, as they were limited at the time, she was diagnosed with the coronavirus.
She immediately quarantined for two weeks, staying in her room to avoid family contact and was determined to kick COVID’s butt to get back to the hospital. As soon as her two weeks were over, she got right back in the scrubs and returned to work without any hesitation.
Jane is an x-ray and mammography technician at Surrey Memorial Hospital and is currently studying to do MRI.
Jane has been scanning COVID-19 patients as well as regular patients during this time and had to isolate at home with her husband.
Her cousin, Kerry Chee, said Jane is a selfless, caring, motivated individual who went in to health-care in the footsteps of her mom, Mary Chee, a retired RN for the Island Health region.
Zena Lind is a care management leader at Vancouver General Hospital.
Nominated by her friend Gwen Donaldson she says Zena not only works relentlessly hard but has volunteered her time in the past to travel to Haiti to help with prostate surgeries for men who have been waiting years for the procedure.
She also annually organizes and runs the critical care conference in Whistler.
Lara was nominated by her father. She works as a medical laboratory technologist at Comox Valley Hospital and is responsible for testing samples that doctors and nurses use to diagnose and track patients.
But the pandemic has made her job more difficult.
Lara has hearing loss and relies on reading lips. Since most of her colleagues are now wearing masks, it has been hard for Lara to communicate.
Her co-workers have been very understanding however as they’ve been keeping their distance and pulling down their masks to help Lara read their lips.
Lara is the first person in her family to pursue a career in the health-care field.
Lyamuremye is an RN, husband, father and teacher.
He arrived in Canada in 2008 with credentials that were not recognized.
So he went back to school and trained as a RN while raising three children with his wife.
Sarah Moores, nominated by her uncle and aunt, Hudson and Patty Mack, is a nurse in Victoria.
She and her colleagues work on 7 North at Royal Jubilee Hospital. They took the above picture on June 17 because they all wore blue by coincidence. Their specialty is vascular, thoracic (lungs) and general (abdominal) surgery, treating people with lung cancer, bowel and vascular disease etc. Now that the province is allowing elective surgeries to ramp up again, they’re busier than ever, catching up with something like 700 surgeries that got pushed back due to Covid-19.
Sarah is a recent graduate of the nursing program at Camosun College in Victoria. Before joining her team on 7 North, Sarah worked in the OR at Royal Jubilee and the ER at Victoria General.
Hudson and Patty say Sarah is a wonderful caring nurse and has a promising healthcare career ahead of her. “We are very proud of her.”
B.C. senior Glenn Clauzel is nominating Leah as his health-care hero.
Leah is a nurse at Burnaby Hospital and every two weeks she drives over to visit Glenn with her husband.
She brings him bags of groceries and never forgets his favourite Tim’s coffee and Timbits. They have a socially-distant chat and catch up.
Glenn says she will never accept his offer of money.
“She is my true friend and hero,” he told Global News.
Dr Marietta Van Den Berg
Dr. Marietta Van Den Berg, is not only a psychiatrist and the physician quality lead at Surrey Memorial Hospital: coworkers say she has also been a calming voice in the storm of COVID for front-line staff.
She has spoken many times to staff during virtual town halls about our mental health, wellness, and resilience, as healthcare workers during the COVID response.
“I remember one particular day where I was struggling and completely overwhelmed by the COVID response, I listened into a town hall meeting where she was speaking,” wrote colleague Maddy Laberge.
“Her words brought me comfort and validated my feelings. We are so lucky to have her at SMH help the staff navigate the complex feelings and reality of COVID.”
Thank you Dr. Van Den Berg!
Ten-year-old twins, Gabriel and Crosby Sengara nominated their mom Heather Sengara.
She is the charge nurse at the Vancouver General Hospital Emergency Room. The boys says at the start of the COVID-19 crisis, she took on a full-time line at the ER to help out as much as possible.
She sometimes works nights and they miss her but we know she is working hard to keep all of us safe.
Shivie Sidhu, nominated by his girlfriend’s family, has worked in the health-care industry for over 21 years.
Right now he is working as a vascular nurse practitioner at Abbotsford Regional Hospital and was asked in March to help in the ICU and treat COVID-19 patients.
Sidhu, a single father of two teenagers, has not been able to see his family, friends or children for over two months!
Dwayne and Teresa Anderson
Dwayne is an emergency room nurse at St. Paul’s Hospital and his wife Teresa is a paramedic in Vancouver. The couple is so dedicated to their profession that there are weeks when they barely see each other as they work different shifts.
Dwayne and Teresa are the parents of four grown children and grandparents to numerous grandchildren. They’ve sacrificed many visits with family members in recent months in order to make sure everyone stays healthy and safe.
When they do actually have a spare moment Dwayne and Teresa love spending time on their sailboat.
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Crista Whitbread works as a nurse in the community health centre and the hospital in Fort Nelson, in B.C.’s northeast.
She works full-time at the health unit where they do the swabs for COVID-19.
In an email, she told Global News she has to wear full PPE because people often cough or sneeze after she removes the swab so they are high-risk to catch whatever illness they have.
“I have a change of clothes before I leave the office to go home and I’ll put my clothes/uniform into the laundry as soon as I get home,” she said. “If I’ve been swabbing that day I also shower. My kids know not to touch me and let me shower when I come home. If I don’t shower they know to let me wash my hands. (Days I’m not swabbing.)”
Her family says she’s been pulling long hours at the health centre, while still managing at least one day a week at the hospital during the COVID-19 crisis.
A mother of two, Whitbread has also recently started fostering another child.
She is also teaching the health-care aid lab at Northern Lights College.
Whitbread isn’t the only one in her family working on the front lines: her husband is also an RCMP officer.
Thank you Crista and family for all that you are doing!
Dr. Mike Norbury
Nominated by his coworker, Dr. Mike Norbury works at with Vancouver Coastal Health.
Norbury has been working tirelessly on COVID issues since the beginning, every day, seven days a week. He was redeployed to the EOC committee and just recently returned to the clinic, to get back to his passion of helping others. He is a medical director who remains committed to supporting the disenfranchised population of Vancouver, many who are homeless, are impacted by mental health and drug and alcohol issues as well as chronic, serious medical conditions. As a medical director, it is not expected that he continue to see clients on the frontline and this speaks to his dedication and commitment of wanting to support others through their health-care issues.
Despite the long days, many meetings, the numerous redirects and the plethora of all the other moving parts during a pandemic, he remains positive, spreading his optimistic outlook with the staff and patients he works with. Prior to COVID he has never shied away from a challenge and was always open to new opportunities that would help in providing the best care to our clients.
He is a force to be reckoned with and the clinic and VCH as a whole are fortunate to be working alongside such an even-keeled, positive and dedicated person to health care. Way to go Mike!
Brenna Harada is a Registered Nurse on Floor 6E — the General Surgery Ward at Lions Gate Hospital in North Vancouver.
She is a newlywed who spent her 25th birthday in isolation with her husband to keep her family and patients safe.
Nominated by Alyssa Pittam and Brandon Wei, they say Brenna is one of the most compassionate and kind people they know. They say Brenna always cares for her patients with caution and comfort.
Brenna actually contracted COVID-19 during the Lions Gate Hospital outbreak but luckily she had a mild case and was able to recover at home.
Once she recovered, she went right back to work. Anyone who knows Brenna knows she loves her work and that she is excellent at what she does. These hard times have brought out the best in her efforts and we are so proud and thankful to have her on the frontlines.
Myrna is employed at Langley Lodge Care Home, which is the site of the deadliest outbreak of coronavirus in B.C.
Her best friend, Joanne, nominated Myrna because “she has always been a ray of sunshine but during this outbreak she has been the sunshine.”
She has worked extra hours and been a source of calm for many of the employees and the residents.
Joanne says she has an excellent attitude, she is a hard worker and she is so loved and appreciated.
“She goes to work with a smile through everything she is facing and contributes to the calm,” Joanne said.
Susan, nominated by her daughter, is a supervisor of cardiology at Abbotsford Regional Hospital. She was set to retire earlier this year but decided to stay on a few extra months to help with the COVID-19 patients. She is unable to see her grandchildren or her elderly mother during this time.
Susan is also a pacemaker tech and the supervisor of diagnostic cardiology at the hospital.
She is now set to retire July 3.
Serena is not only a flight nurse in an all-female crew at Lifesupport Air Medical based on Vancouver Island extracting injured people from foreign countries around the globe.
She also volunteers to be on the rapid COVID-19 extraction team to transport sick, possible-coronavirus patients to appropriate hospitals on the island and is training for the same rapid extraction duty via helicopters.
Coupled with that, she is a B.C. travel nurse, filling vacancies in remote areas of the province to help the less served areas in need.
When she’s not involved in all these tasks, she is working a 12-hour shift as triage nurse in the ER department of Cowichan District Hospital, or maybe fitting in a quick 8-hour shift to cover one of her colleagues.
Thank you for all your hard work, Serena!
Five nurses, five friends
Aljonita Montinola, a registered nurse, nominated her four friends.
Christina – an LPN at Fellburn Care Centre.
Kim – an RN at Vancouver General Hospital in the ICU.
Michelle – an RN at B.C. Children’s Hospital operating room unit.
Maan – an LPN at Royal Asoct Care Centre.
The group loves to hike together but as they can’t do that yet, they still meet to swap home-cooked meals in a socially-distanced way.
Dr. Nicholas Sparrow
Dr. Nicholas Sparrow works as an emergency physician at Kootenay Lake hospital in Nelson.
He is a key member of the front line emergency service staff tasked with battling the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition to his full-time duties as an ER physician, Dr. Sparrow also volunteers his expertise and time as the only emergency physician in the region.
He founded the Kootenay Emergency Response Physicians Association, a Canadian registered charity, in 2016 with the objective of saving lives and helping the most critically ill and injured patients in the community, supporting emergency services and providing on-scene physician aid.
Thank you Dr, Sparrow for battling COVID-19 on two fronts: in the ER and as a volunteer in the community.
Nav and Christine
“We would like to nominate our colleagues Nav and Christine, physiotherapists at Abbotsford Regional Hospital, for their excellent work during the Covid-19 Pandemic. They have gone above and beyond to provide physical rehab to our Covid-19 patients. In addition, they have taken on additional duties to protect and support their colleagues. They are team players and are always willing to go the extra mile for their patients and colleagues. They are making real change and bring a smile to everyone’s face! We love you guys!”
Nominated by Sarah and Meredith at Abbotsford Regional Hospital.
Yvonne was nominated by Helen Budnarchuk, her best friend since Grade 2. Now their friendship is still going strong 53 years later.
Yvonne works in the Abbotsford Region Hospital, often working in the hot zone. Not only is she committed to her nursing career working long hours but she also picks up shifts when and where she is needed. Helen says Yvonne is always putting the safety and well-being of others before her own, and always with a smile and humor. Yvonne has an amazing way to support and comforting those around her in need and is always giving back in some form or another.
Yvonne also gives back to her community and recently she painted a picture inspired by the fight of her coworkers against COVID-19. Yvonne then created posters and sold the prints, donating the proceeds of $500 to her local food bank. The original painting was donated to her co-workers and hangs in the Abbotsford Regional Hospital
Helen says “Yvonne never ceases to amaze and inspire me…she is my inspiration.”
Katie McAllister is an registered nurse at Nanaimo Regional Genera Hospital.
Since mid-March, her floor of the hospital has been assigned to take all stable undiagnosed respiratory patients.
Her family says every time a patient’s COVID-19 test comes back negative in her unit, “there have been high fives and big sighs.”
While that might be stressful enough, McAllister had to postpone her wedding, which was scheduled for April, due to the pandemic. What’s more, she also had a surgery in March postponed.
Thank you Katie!
Sarah Beck is currently working at Vancouver General Hospital on a special team working with temporary foreign workers who are undergoing mandatory self-isolation.
The team has been busy screening, conducting health assessments, COVID-19 testing and following up on hundreds of workers.
Sarah has been working as a Public Health Nurse for seven years with VCH. She is described as an intelligent, hard-working nurse, and a strong advocate for her clients. She recently completed her Master in Public Health while juggling full-time work. When news of the pandemic came out she was completing her practicum in Panama. She returned home, self-isolated and immediately came to work to help.
Dr. Glenn Dong
Dr. Glenn Dong was nominated by a nurse at Richmond Hospital. Dong is an anesthesiologist there and has been on the front lines since the pandemic began.
He has been living out of a hotel for two months to ensure his family does not get sick.
Dong is also high-risk if he were to contract COVID-19 because he has asthma and yet he is dedicated to helping those in need, persevering and intubating to this day – without fear.
5 nurses in one family
Kelli May wants to recognize the five amazing nurses in her family.
Her two daughters, Erin and Meghan May, her two nieces, Reanne Laurie and Ashley McKen and sister-in-law Diana Ferguson.
Erin has worked on the medical floor in East Kootenay Regional Hospital in Cranbrook since 2015.
Meghan has been a nurser for four years and is now working the medical floor at Vernon Jubilee Hospital.
Reanne has been a nurse for five years. The last four as a maternity nurse at Kootenay Lake Hospital in Nelson.
Ashley is currently working as a perioperative nurse in the operating room at East Kootenay Regional Hospital in Cranbrook.
Diana, while retired from her nursing career, has returned to work in a casual role to help where she can during the pandemic.
Elaine Hamilton, nurse
Elaine Hamilton, a nurse of eight years, works in the acute care ward at the Langley Memorial Hospital.
Her sister Karen says she changed careers in her mid 40s after working as a full-time travel agent but wanted to follow her dream.
With no previous courses under her belt and a full time job commitment, she started the long journey to fulfill that dream, taking weekend and night classes until she graduated all while raising two four kids.
Elaine was exposed first hand to a COVID-19 patient early on in the pandemic and, after testing negative and clearing her required quarantine period, she has been back at work and eager to help where needed.
Her sister says she has faced this pandemic like so many other challenges in her life: by rolling up her sleeves and doing what’s needed to see the job through.
Thank you Elaine!
Kate Tate, care home director
Kate Tate got the news on Apr. 25 that an older adult living at Tabor Village, the care home where she is director of care services had tested positive for COVID-19.
She gave her husband a hug and kiss, not knowing when she’d see him again — it would be two weeks before they would be in the same room together.
That morning she drove to the care home where residence and Fraser Health staff implemented the pandemic plan she’d developed with Tabor Village.
She moved into a local hotel to stay physically distant from her family and ensure the infection was contained.
Colleagues attribute her leadership to quickly containing the outbreak, and say she lovingly ensure that both the seniors living at the care home were kept safe and healthy and equally ensured the staff providing care had all the supports they needed to be protected and to stay well.
Thank you Kate!
Joy Huddleston, nurse
Joy Huddleston works at the Shorncliffe Long-Term Care facility in Sechelt, where she’s been described by the family of one patient with dementia as “an Angel.”
“She believes in her oath as a medical professional and has compassion like non other,” writes Becky Lohn.
Lohn says Huddleston has been instrumental in keeping her mother company through her confusion and helps take her mind off her loneliness by sharing her past and going through old photo albums.
She also helps set up Skype meetings with patients families and sends them photos to help with the isolation.
Even when she’s off-shift, she’s helping — Huddleston has been collecting cotton sheets to make face masks.
Thank you Joy!
Microbiology and Virology Lab at St. Paul’s Hospital
Friday’s health-care heroes are a group, nominated by St. Paul’s Hospital Microbiology and Virology Lab team lead Willson Jang.
He says his team has been top notch during the pandemic. Rising to the challenge, adjusting their schedules as needed to meet the laboratory testing needs of the Lower Mainland, and expanding hours of operation from 10 hours to 15 hours a day, seven days a week.
Over the last two months, the lab team has conducted more than 13,000 COVID-19 tests, identifying more than 500 positive cases.
As of last week, the lab now has the highest testing capacity for COVID-19 in the province, testing more than 2,000 samples a day.
Jang says his team has been exemplary, diligently doing the “behind the scenes work” with a get-it-done attitude.
So we thank the entire microbiology and virology lab team at St. Paul’s hospital for what you are doing on the front lines during this challenging time.
Tracey Jonker, Nurse
Tracey Jonker is a nurse in the University Hospital of Northern B.C.’s family medicine unit, which has been converted to a COVID-19 unit.
She’s also a mentor known for supporting younger nurses, and active as a steward with the BC Nurses’ Union advocating for her colleagues.
Jonker has been in self-isolation to protect friends and family, but has still made time to visit her friends from her vehicle and even drop off gifts.
Recently Tracey organized nurses on her ward to give back to the community for the love and support they have been shown. They donated $1,200 from their small ward to the Food bank in Prince George, to give back to the community.
Adriana DiPoce, registered nurse
Adriana is a 31-year-old registered nurse who works in Surrey memorial hospital ICU. She spends her days clad in protective gear and does it tirelessly.
Her sister Melissa says Adriana has been working “serious overtime,” and is “100 per cent committed to taking care of her patients, friends and family.”
“She has been a nurse for almost seven years and has become a real pro. She trains practicum students, comforts families of sick and dying patients, and takes care of People every day while we go about our regular lives,” wrote Melissa.
“I miss my sister. Everyone misses her. I have not seen her since the 11th of March. My five-year-old daughter misses her zia (aunt) and talks about her all the time and how she’s so brave and is saving people from ‘the virus.'”
When COVID-19 began, Adriana started self-isolating from her family and friends as she was worried she could be a carrier get them sick.
Melissa says her sister doesn’t go anywhere other than work or home, as she works to keep her friends, family and community safe.
“This is a big commitment for my usually very social sister. Her sacrifice is keeping people safe and I am so proud of her.”
Dr. Greg Thomas-Reilly
Dr. Greg Thomas-Reilly has been working on the front-lines of the COVID-19 crisis as the Lead Program Manager of the COVID-19 Response Coordination Group (RCG) for vulnerable populations.
The RCG, a joint initiative of Vancouver Coastal Health and Providence Health Care, provides a full-spectrum of infection prevention and control supports, such as preventative education, facility audits and needs assessments, staff education, outbreak management, testing and even recovery after an outbreak. The RCG team now supports COVID-19 infection prevention and control in the Downtown Eastside, shelters, single-room occupancies, addiction treatments and detox centres, supportive living and hospices… basically, the most vulnerable populations when it comes to COVID-19.
Greg leads a team of 34 staff and has worked in every care-home outbreak across the Vancouver Coastal Health Region.
The COVID-19 pandemic is not Greg’s first rodeo. Greg also worked on the front lines during the SARS and Ebola outbreaks, working in Toronto and Liberia respectively.
The Medical Device Reprocessing Department [MDRD] technicians at St Paul’s Hospital.
These dedicated group of people come to work everyday to ensure the medical and nursing professionals working on the coalface (front lines) have the supplies cleaned and sterilized to carry out their work.
They have accepted all the challenges COVID-19 has presented and have been innovative in developing practices, policies and procedures that will keep them and their medical and nursing colleagues safe.
St. Paul’s Hospital says they are mothers, fathers, sons and daughters and many have family members who are working in health-care.
They take pride in the work they do, & as their Clinical Nurse Educator I am privileged to work with this group of healthcare workers.
Ava is an experienced RN and the executive director at George Derby Centre, a long-term care facility in Burnaby. She comes to work early every day to ensure staff are free of COVID-19 symptoms, taking the temperatures of everyone who comes to work and hands out masks.
Her co-workers say Ava has been doing this since the start of Dr. Bonnie Henry’s directives on long-term care homes.
Lisa is an ICU nurse at Vancouver General Hospital. Her colleagues say she treats every patient with kindness and respect.
They submitted a photo of Lisa that shows the lines on her face from wearing a PPE mask and goggles during a long shift.
Like a lot of other B.C. couples, Lisa and her fiance Daryl, a police officer with the Lower Mainland Emergency Response Team, have had to postpone their June wedding.
Frankie is a licensed practical nurse who works in the emergency department at Abbotsford Regional Hospital.
She also works in the mobile medical unit that was recently set up to help treat the novel coronavirus outbreak among inmates at Mission Institution.
Frankie is also an amazing mother to her son Dane and daughter Riesling. Her partner Graham is a self-proclaimed germaphobe and helps keep everything at home sanitized.
Michelle is a registered nurse in Maple Ridge and works as a home care nurse.
She retired two years ago but came out of retirement to help.
Her daughter says not only has she been working almost every day since the middle of March, including working overtime at the COVID-19 testing clinic at Ridge Meadows Hospital, swabbing other health-care workers from their cars.
Michelle’s daughter Jennifer says because her work on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic means she is unable to see her new granddaughter, which has probably been the hardest thing on her.
Anthony Viera works as a cleaner at Victoria’s Royal Jubilee Hospital.
Since the outbreak he has been faithfully cleaning the OR and other rooms, some after COVID-19 patients have completed their testing, making them safe and sanitary for patients and staff.
Anthony is on the front lines of the COVID-19 crisis and is always happy to do what’s best for the team.
Stuart Myers and Mark Taylor
Eleven-year-old Matthew Myers nominated his dad Stuart Myers and his work partner Mark Taylor.
Stuart and Mark are advanced life support paramedics with BC Emergency Health Services based out of Nanaimo.
Together they have 64 years of combined experience working the front lines.
In 2018, Stuart was also part of a team of B.C. paramedics that won a gold medal representing Canada in an international paramedic competition in the Czech Republic.
Due to the pandemic, Matthew says he’s not able to hug his dad up close and in person. So they have to practise “socially distanced” hugs.
Matthew is asking everyone in B.C. to do their part so he can have real hugs with his dad again soon.
Trevor considers himself a tiny part of the team that has been putting their own health on the line, working long hours, performing tests at the beginning of this crisis and still testing now, while also helping other institutions get testing labs set up.
He is also spending long hours away from family. His wife and two young sons have temporarily moved so he doesn’t have to worry about possibly bringing the virus home to them.
Melissa, a paramedic in Vanderhoof, B.C., made the difficult decision to have her children, Rylee and Ehren, live with other family members until the COVID-19 crisis has passed.
Melissa’s mother says Tasha Leepart says while it’s devastating for her to be away from her children, she knows it’s the right thing to do and goes to work each day with determination, strength, and a sense of humour.
Matt and Mary Wakutz
Matt and Mary Wakutz are both nurses. Matt works in the emergency department at Surrey Memorial Hospital and Mary works at Langley Memorial.
In just over a week they will be travelling with a disaster response team to help with the crisis in northern Italy.
Matt and Mary have also demonstrated their generosity in Uganda where they volunteered with a non-profit to lead a team of nurses.
Chelsea Jewell and Lisa Ehly
Like mother like daughter. Chelsea Jewell is a psychiatric nurse with Correctional Services Canada and mother Lisa Ehly works at Surrey Memorial Hospital.
Both are on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic and pick up extra shifts wherever they can to help cover gaps in staffing.
Carmen, a registered nurse at Vernon Jubilee Hospital, was nominated by her twin sister Lane. Carmen works as a staff development officer for nursing and student placement. Two days a week she also operates two family planning clinics after working a full shift.
When recently asked to return to front-line nursing, she didn’t hesitate to step up and is now also working full-time as a nurse in the ICU ward.
Matthew was nominated by his family. He’s a respiratory therapist working in intensive care at Royal Columbian Hospital in New Westminster.
Kelowna General Hospital
The team at Kelowna General Hospital recently received a message of love and support from the community.
Lions Gate Hospital emergency unit
The emergency unit at North Vancouver’s Lions Gate Hospital is holding a message of thanks to the public for their 7 p.m. cheers.
Meaghan is a respiratory therapist on the front line of the COVID-19 outbreak.
She also celebrated her birthday on Thursday, so on behalf of Global News, we want to wish her a happy birthday!
Emergency department at Richmond Hospital
The doctors and nurses at the Richmond Hospital emergency department have been working tirelessly during the COVID-19 crisis.
And, as you can see, they are also doing their best to keep their physical distance whenever possible.
Anna Carvalho is an emergency doctor at Vancouver General Hospital and one of thousands of B.C. health-care workers on the front lines against the coronavirus pandemic.
A single mother, she recently made the gut-wrenching choice to leave her twin four-year-old girls Vianna and Annalia in the care of her sister and parents.
With the potential exposure to COVID-19 she faces at work, the risk of passing the disease on to her family was too high.
“They know that mommy is fighting the virus,” Carvalho said. “But, you know, I don’t think they get the grand concept of this.”