On World Health Day, Portraits of Service and Thanks from SHL
SHL colleagues share stories of friends and family battling on the front lines of COVID-19.
Today is the 70th World Health Day, and perhaps none of its predecessors has carried the same weight.
We are engulfed in a global pandemic, bringing hospitals in all parts of the world near their breaking points and leaving families held hostage in their homes. There is concern, there is doubt, there is fear.
Into that fear has walked an army of healthcare workers. Nurses, doctors, EMTs, maintenance workers and more, placing their own well-being – their health – at great risk, day after day. SHL is a people business, and we wanted to take a moment today to offer our thanks to the medical teams who are on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic.
We have seen many examples of how the world has shown its gratitude – from collective cheers across cities at a predetermined hour, to businesses sending meals or coffee to hospitals in thanks. Social media platforms are brimming with video evidence of individual acts of kindness and acknowledgement.
Closer to home, some of our colleagues at SHL have a front-row seat to the battle. Nick, one of our U.S.-based team members, is married to a nurse practitioner. “To me, my wife is a hero,” he says. “She doesn’t tend to ‘bring work home’ as we do, but you certainly carry the emotions and visions of the day home with you always – something I can’t imagine, nor would I wish for.”
Another of our colleagues, William, is based in the U.K. and has a sister who is a doctor in a London hospital. “[She is] looking after hundreds of patients with COVID-19, after being only one year out of medical school,” he says. “This week she hasn’t been able to work due to suspected contraction. Whilst off work, we have been trying to get iPads donated to the hospitals, so patients can see their loved ones.”
We have seen many examples of how the world has shown its gratitude.
Near our headquarters outside London, SHL recently donated masks to a local children’s hospice. Shooting Star Hospice tweeted its response: “A huge thank you to @SHLglobal for donating 150 much needed surgical masks to our hospice yesterday!”
Finally, Kristina, another of our U.S.-based colleagues, spoke to a friend who serves as a nurse and got some thoughts from the front line on the kinds of gestures and expressions that matter to those placing themselves in COVID-19’s line of fire.
“Some of us have gotten a lot of fan mail, which has been quite uplifting,” she said. “Something I’ve personally enjoyed is the sidewalk chalk with jokes and words of encouragement. When we get outside for a walk it’s sweet to see the support from our communities around the neighborhood.”
But the thank-you that doctors and nurses appreciate the most is the simplest: “The biggest and most appreciated contribution that anyone can give to healthcare workers right now,” she says, “is just staying home.”
There is an obvious irony to today’s designation of World Health Day during a global pandemic, but it is also a day to celebrate the ingenuity, spirit, and hope embodied by those giving so much of themselves to bring about the pandemic’s end.
Nick sums it up well: “Thank you for being with these patients while their families cannot, and thank you for doing all of this knowing that you may not be able to see your own families for an unknown period of time,” he says. “Thank you for your courage to battle this for those who cannot.”
From all of us at SHL, to all of you: Thank you.