CLEVELAND — Before the coronavirus pandemic, Heather Henry, a single mom of two, and registered nurse at Cleveland Clinic's Marymount Hospital, worked every day to make people better.
“Just generally caring for people, watching them from when they first come in, when they're sick, you know, to seeing the progression for when they get well enough to go home," said Heather.
Then, in a cruel twist, Heather is the one sick, with COVID-19.
“I was diagnosed on March 29th but then I just found out I had pneumonia last week," Heather said.
She's quarantined on her own, away from her children. That's already gut-wrenching. So it's unimaginable to know that she also lost her stepfather to cancer seven days earlier, and her mom a few weeks later.
“My stepfather, he passed away March 22nd from complications from cancer, and then my mom passed away on April 10th from complications with the COVID-19," Heather told us. “So it's just been unbelievable.”
She's a grieving daughter of parents she calls "soulmates." She's a nurse battling a vicious virus. And, most importantly, a mother longing for her kids.
“They're dealing with the loss of their grandparents, but they're doing okay. It's been hard. You don't get to, you know, do the things you usually do as a family or get to see him every day," Heather said. "They'll come by and do porch visits. So I would be able to still see them, but couldn't touch them.”
One day, Heather will recover, and the reunion she dreams of will happen. She'll be able to spoil her children a bit, thanks to Jim Surace of Surace, Smith and Partners Insurance Group, because they gifted her $5,000.
We surprised Heather on a Zoom call. Here's what Jim said to her:
“Hi Heather. First, I cannot imagine how difficult it is and has been for you being quarantined, and losing your parents all in such a short period of time. In a small way, my wife, Nancy and I, wanted to lend some support to you. God bless you as one of our area nurses and all the healthcare heroes, especially at this challenging time.”
Heather burst into tears.
“I just want to thank everybody for thinking about me and for all your love and support. I appreciate it all. I can't thank you enough.”
Heather, thank you for your dedication and service on the frontlines.