On the frontlines. We can do anything, we could be heroes

Covid-19 Heroes of Leaside.
Covid-19 Heroes of Leaside.

In 2020, Leaside Life recognized a number of our residents who were on the frontlines battling, and keeping us safe from, Covid.

The physical, emotional, and economic strains in every corner of the globe persist and many, many heroes continue to fight for all of us.

While we could not have imagined that we would still be facing the upheaval of this pandemic two years on, these heroes continue to offer their unwavering support and dedication.

They have faced mental and physical exhaustion. They have been challenged and frustrated by the spread of misinformation and its subsequent effects.

These heroes have been stretched almost beyond their limits, but their resiliency and their commitment to hope and to humanity are unwavering and inspirational.

We offer our sincerest thanks to those continuing to keep us all safe in these most trying times. Here they are, in their own words:

Marisa Battistella. Clinical Pharmacist, Hemodialysis Unit, Toronto General Hospital, UHN, Associate Professor, U of T.
Marisa Battistella. Clinical Pharmacist, Hemodialysis Unit, Toronto General Hospital, UHN, Associate Professor, U of T.

Marisa Battistella

Clinical Pharmacist, Hemodialysis Unit, Toronto General Hospital, UHN, Associate Professor, U of T

Well, it sure has been a long and tiring two years! Everyone is tired of Covid. However, I am proud of my colleagues in healthcare as they have been so supportive and positive of each other. Thank you to everyone for getting vaccinated, wearing masks and really being so supportive of frontline workers! I find it very motivating and heart-warming that all my colleagues in healthcare, as well as friends and family, are so supportive and kind. I love seeing the lit-up hearts in windows. Thank you!

Dr. Joao B. Rezende Neto. Trauma and Acute Care Surgery, General Surgery, St. Michael’s Hospital.
Dr. Joao B. Rezende Neto. Trauma and Acute Care Surgery, General Surgery, St. Michael’s Hospital.

Dr. Joao B. Rezende Neto

Trauma and Acute Care Surgery, General Surgery, St. Michael’s Hospital

Two years into this pandemic we’ve seen multiple examples of compassion and generosity. Unfortunately, however, we’ve also seen misinformation, selfishness, and impatience. That is not the way out. If we want to enjoy the freedoms that we had before, we need to persevere. The good news is, we are closer to the end. Simply put, let’s get vaccinated and boosted so that the finish line doesn’t move farther away from where it is now. 

Jim Aguanno, Store Manager, Sobeys Leaside.
Jim Aguanno, Store Manager, Sobeys Leaside.

Jim Aguanno

Store Manager, Sobeys Leaside

These past two years have been some of the most challenging in my career. It has been a tremendous responsibility to be able to serve our community during this pandemic while constantly trying to keep my employees and customers safe. We strive every day to provide our customers with the best service and experience they have come to expect from us. Thank you to everyone who has supported us.

Debbie Snatenchuk, Emergency Room Nurse, St. Michael’s Hospital.
Debbie Snatenchuk, Emergency Room Nurse, St. Michael’s Hospital.

Debbie Snatenchuk

Emergency Room Nurse, St. Michael’s Hospital

Everyone is emotional and physically tired, worn down – this includes doctors, clerical, etc.

Covid brought forward how weakened and broken our healthcare system really was and we are all concerned about the future of healthcare – one day each of us will need it.

Nurses don’t want to be heroes.

We still do not understand the unvaccinated, that they would choose death or a life of suffering over a needle.

Dr. John F. Flannery, Physical Medicine & Rehab, Associate Professor, U of T Medical Director, Musculoskeletal & Multisystem Rehab Program, Toronto.
Dr. John F. Flannery, Physical Medicine & Rehab, Associate Professor, U of T Medical Director, Musculoskeletal & Multisystem Rehab Program, Toronto.

Dr. John F. Flannery

Physical Medicine & Rehab, Associate Professor, U of T Medical Director, Musculoskeletal & Multisystem Rehab Program, Toronto

In the past 18 months since my comments in May of 2020, it appears like so much has changed and yet it feels we are still stuck in a time warp. Rehab hospitals and outpatient care have remained relatively active and vibrant, supporting acute care in its role of managing those directly affected by Covid. The inpatient care has expanded to managing all levels of Covid and the non-Covid patients with rehab needs, such as post cancer, trauma, strokes, ICU stays … you name it. We have broadened our role to accommodate these challenging times with a goal of maximizing function and limiting disability back in our communities.

The level of resilience demonstrated by healthcare workers across the continuum has been incredible. This resilience has also been very stretched and tested, especially when small and vocal groups remain uninformed/ill-informed to the reality of health and safety and then require our care as the recent data have sadly demonstrated. Our society requires a real, honest and informed conversation over “rights and safety.”

Carla Findlater, Clinical Pharmacist, Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre.
Carla Findlater, Clinical Pharmacist, Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre.

Carla Findlater

Clinical Pharmacist, Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre

Over the past two years I’ve been increasingly proud of and grateful to our resilient community that continues to show support for each other. Whether seeing our community step up to get their vaccines at the local vaccine clinics (and sharing news of open clinics), observing kindness between neighbours while running, or watching as our community supports each other on Facebook, we truly are fortunate to be in this community where every individual is helping to do their part to get us through these crazy times.

Tammy Nivet, Store Manager, Valu-Mart – Bayview.
Tammy Nivet, Store Manager, Valu-Mart – Bayview.

Tammy Nivet

Store Manager, Valu-Mart – Bayview

I really want to shout out to my staff for all their hard work that they put in over 100% everyday, still going strong in this stressful time and trying our best to keep going for our community. Another big shout-out to all the frontline workers out there. We keep saying “hang in there, we are going to get through this, it’s still tough and a big high five to all that are still going day in and day out.” Keep strong, stay safe and be kind to everyone and we will make it through this.

Dr. Leslie Beyers, Family Physician.
Dr. Leslie Beyers, Family Physician.

Dr. Leslie Beyers

Family Physician

Wow, what a couple of years! As a local primary care physician, I have had the privilege of working with my amazing Bayview family practice team, Sunnybrook Hospital and other North Toronto Ontario Health Team partners to deliver care to our community during these challenging times. From drive-thru flu shot clinics to being part of Team Vaccine delivering Covid vaccines to our most vulnerable, this has been a year of many firsts and I am proud of the amazing people I have met along the way. As we all continue to pivot and face new challenges in this upcoming year, please remember, it’s been a difficult time for everyone, and a smile or simple act of kindness can change a person’s day.

Orla Smith, Senior Clinical Program Director, ED and Medicine, St. Michael’s Hospital.
Orla Smith, Senior Clinical Program Director, ED and Medicine, St. Michael’s Hospital.

Orla Smith

Senior Clinical Program Director, ED and Medicine, St. Michael’s Hospital

The past year has been hard for everyone. So many people have suffered, in so many different ways. Healthcare workers are exhausted. The nursing shortage is real, and immediate investments in nursing are critical to the sustainability of our healthcare system. In my work at St. Michael’s, I have seen the devastating impact of the pandemic on those who experience homelessness and addictions. We need to do more to provide people with stable housing and to increase services for those living with addiction. Covid can happen to anyone. It happened to my son and me over Christmas. I’m thankful that I had the protection of three vaccinations and only experienced mild symptoms. I’m thankful to the Covid outreach service and the nurses at Michael Garron Hospital for monitoring my son’s symptoms, which were worse than mine and took longer to resolve. My advice to everyone is to wear a mask and get vaccinated. Be kind to each other. Respect science.

 

About Susan Scandiffio 123 Articles
Susan Scandiffio was born in Scotland and raised in Toronto. While she holds a master’s degree in history, her main passion (besides her wonderful family) is sports. Susan can often be found at the A.C.C. or in a Leaside arena or playing field, scoping out stories for Leaside Life.