A former blank space in a North Island Hospital Campbell River hallway has become a Wall of Honour, featuring the “love and honesty” of children for healthcare workers.
Over the last two weeks, hospital staff have been finding strength and inspiration in the letters and drawings of more than 300 local school children.
“I love it!” Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) Diana Statton said on her way into work on Monday evening. “It just made my heart happy.”
“It shows support for us,” said Registered Nurse (RN) Miranda Spafford. “We need to walk by it and look at it, especially after a crummy shift. I love it.”
Earlier this year, School District 72 teachers Karen Lutz and Kelsey Creviston were feeling disconnected by the pandemic and wanted to find ways connect students and staff with healthcare workers and other first responders in the community. Students were asked to write letters and create artwork to show support.
“Hundreds of kids jumped on board,” Lutz said at the hospital wall last week. “This is just part of it.”
In total, more than 600 letters and drawings were collected to be delivered around the community.
“Every member of the police department received letters, along with paramedics and firefighters and dispatchers,” she said. “It was a really cool experience to watch it happen. It’s very uplifting to read what the kids wrote. They weren’t told who to write too. They got to choose. It was super uplifting. I know that I needed it.
“Some of the ones that really stood out to me were ones where they’re saying ‘don’t give up.’ For a little person to say ‘don’t give up,’ that hit home to me in many ways.”
The letters also hit home for Campbell River General (CRG) site director Tricia Sinclair, who admitted she had tears when she first read them.
“They’re super sweet,” she said. “There are some lengthy messages here. They didn’t just do this quickly, they put a lot of time into it.”
So how do you properly share some 300 letters and drawings with almost a thousand hospital staff?
“We wanted to make sure that all of the time that the kids took to show their thanks and appreciation was displayed in a way that truly honoured that they took the time to do that, and that the School District took the time to show us how thankful they are.”
The solution could not have been more appropriate. Like many other Island Health facilities during the pandemic, CRG has dedicated a separate entrance/exit for staff. This one included a hallway with a long empty wall.
That wall is empty no more. RN Veronika Deleff spent four hours laminating each and every piece – an infection control requirement. Facilities Maintenance put the letters and drawings up, in a location where most hospital staff pass at the beginning and end of each shift.
From left, CRG Site Director Tricia Sinclair, RN Veronika Deleff and School District 72 teacher Karen Lutz
“There’s lots of buzz about it,” Sinclair said. “Some of them have noticed their children’s letters, so it’s pretty neat. There’s been lots of talk around the site. When messages like this come, especially from children in the community, it’s much more heartfelt to the staff. It’s a huge demonstration from the children of our community, they come from a place of love and honesty.”
“I first noticed it last week,” said Lina Cadili, Surgical Resident, heading home after work. “I actually stopped and read them and it was so heartwarming I loved it. It’s really nice.”
Sinclair’s been asked how long the Wall of Honour display will remain up in the hallway.
“There’s no plans to take them down,” she says with a smile. “We kind of thought that there’s even more room on the wall.”