The pandemic has been a challenging time for all, and in particular, for Healthcare Professionals, working tirelessly on the frontline.
One of our Healthcare Professionals, Nurse Leona Harris, launched her very own campaign to connect and unite patients during the pandemic and she has kindly given permission to share her story.
Isolation in lockdown
When lockdown hit the nation in March 2020, in response to the threat of Covid-19, the impact of feeling isolated hit everyone, but in particular, patients in hospitals and other healthcare institutions.
Connecting loved ones
As a Nurse, Leona was on the frontline, witnessing patients isolated from their families, and in particular, a young mother with cancer. Terminally ill and isolated from her family, she had lost her phone during a transfer to a hospice, which meant she didn’t have an instant, easy way to talk or face time access to them. Leona managed to find an old IPad a neighbour had and got it to the lady. She was instantly connected to her family during the final days before she sadly passed. This prompted Leona to begin her own fund-raising for IPads for patients, which she called #staytogther.
IPads and PPE
Since starting her campaign, Leona has raised more than £80,000 and given out more than 200 IPads to patients, connecting thousands of people to their loved ones when they needed it the most. Leona also took it upon herself to work closely with staff and pupils at her local high school, making PPE for frontline NHS staff when it was in short supply.
In the news
Leona’s #staytogether campaign made the news too. After an interview on Mike Sweeney’s BBC Manchester radio show, Leona was asked to appear on television and other radio programmes where she spoke about being on the frontline during Covid-19 and about her campaign.
We’re so pleased to say that Leona is also receiving the recognition she deserves. Last year, she was voted a ‘Corona Hero’, she was invited to switch on Blackpool’s illuminations live on television, as well as being invited by ITV to be a front row VIP guest at the Royal Variety Performance. The BBC presenter Dan Walker wrote that she was one of the most amazing people he had ever met in his book ‘Remarkable People’. She was also a finalist in the 2020 Nursing Times Florence Nightingale Nurse of the Year Award and this year, as a finalist once more in the 2021 Nursing Times Nurse of the Year Award, where she will be our honorary guest as we will be joining her and her husband Nick, at the awards.
She deserves all the recognition she has received and more, and we’re so proud that she is one of our Healthcare Professionals.
Leona truly is, an NHS hero!