Students at St. Teresa Catholic School in Edmonton wrote cards, notes and drew pictures to encourage front-line health-care workers.
The school said the kids wanted to express their gratitude and appreciation for all the work the health-care workers are doing to keep Albertans safe.
“I just wanted to write something from the heart, something nice… to give the health front-line workers a boost of energy when they read the card,” said Grade 6 student Christopher Chorney.
He included an acrostic poem in his card, with words like “thankful” and “helpful.”
“I just wanted lots of colour… something nice that will make them happy.”
Other cards said things like “Not all heroes wear capes” and “thank you to our front-line workers.”
They were dropped off for staff at the Grey Nuns and University of Alberta hospitals.
Grade 6 student Rayne Yee wanted to make her card colourful — full of rainbows and cats and “happy stuff.”
“I wrote: ‘Thank you for helping others,'” she said. “It felt heartwarming for me. I imagine them having a smile on their face.”
Liz Strang is a registered nurse at the Grey Nuns, working in the maternity unit. Her son Max is a Grade 5 student at St. Teresa.
“Max came home from school one day — they bring home an agenda every day — and in the agenda, his teacher wrote a message saying the kids had made cards for health-care workers and was wondering if I could bring them to our unit.
“Max brought them home from school one day and on my way to work, I brought them in.
“It was extreme happiness all over the unit to look at these cards and read these messages… It brought smiles to everybody’s faces.”
The words of support and thanks came from the heart, Strang said.
“You could absolutely tell in so many of their messages that it was so heartfelt and they had such an awareness of what was going on with COVID-19 and the health-care workers and how it can be a little bit overwhelming at times for us in the hospital.
“Their messages came loud and clear,” she added.
“The biggest joy for me was watching my coworkers just sit down for a moment and smile and laugh and feel so encouraged and uplifted.”
Many of the cards had drawings of hugs for the front-line workers, which meant a lot to them, Strang said.
She said it was a reminder to health workers that there is more support and encouragement out there than negativity, even though the negative voices can often be very loud.
“That was super uplifting… It helps us get through the stress.”
“They’re our future. They are our hope,” Strang said of the kids.
“I want to say a huge thank you to the staff and students from St. Teresa. Your message came through loud and clear and we are uplifted and it brought a ton of smiles.”
Alberta has been grappling with an intense fourth wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.
There have been more than 1,000 new daily cases of COVID-19 for weeks and Alberta Health Services has had to reassign staff to handle the surge of intensive care patients. About 8,500 non-urgent surgeries have been postponed or delayed since the end of August as a result.
Alberta’s ICUs have been flooded with COVID-19 patients — 93 per cent of whom were unvaccinated or incompletely vaccinated, according to Tuesday’s Alberta Health numbers.
The baseline capacity of ICU beds in Alberta is 173. Surge beds have been added, and as of Tuesday afternoon, AHS said the province had 374 ICU beds, with 307 beds being used.
Provincially the ICU capacity is at 82 per cent. Without the 201 surge ICU beds, Alberta’s ICU capacity would be at 177 per cent.
Strang said the Grey Nuns hospital has received support in the form of other messages of encouragement.
“There’s often chalk thank yous written on the sidewalk,” she said. “We’ve had big posters on the fences around the hospital… It really is meaningful and impactful.”
Christopher wants more Albertans to join the card-writing campaign and send some support to health workers.
“I encourage every student (to) because it really gives them a boost of energy to keep on working.”
This week is Catholic Health-Care Week across Canada.