Kids are using bright rainbow colors -- in windows and on driveways -- during these dark days of the coronavirus.
Brian Frederick wants bright words instead -- for doctors, nurses, ambulance personnel, emergency medical technicians and other medical professionals fighting to save lives during the COVID-19 pandemic.
On Thursday, Frederick activated the website "Hope for Healthcare Workers" and hopes to gather messages from the community to share with the medical team. He wants folks to write notes of encouragement to and share artwork with the people in masks and gowns, the defensive line in and around hospitals and other medical centers.
"We will ensure it gets to those who need to hear it," Frederick said of the site, www.hopeforhealthcareworkers.com.
Frederick, 34, who lives in Clifton Park, knows the medical community. His wife, Leticia Daconti, 32, is an emergency room doctor at Ellis Hospital in Schenectady. Leticia tested positive for COVID-19 on Friday; her symptoms have been mild.
"We've been paying attention to the COVID situation for months now," said Frederick, a freelance writer and editor who also has been tested for the virus. "Just seeing it from her perspective, people are working long hours, they're really stressed out."
Frederick was thinking about a way to fire up community support and was inspired by Facebook's "518 Rainbow Hunt," a project founded by Scotia resident Kristyn Dayter.
The "hunt" challenges kids and adults to create rainbow art for their homes. By late Saturday afternoon, the group had just shy of 105,000 members.
"The web site is just a platform for getting messages from the community," Frederick said. "I already know there's a lot of support in the communities for healthcare workers, it's just that it's not always apparent. This is a way for people to share that."
Word about the site is spreading through social media.
"It's just getting started," said Frederick, who believes messages will boost morale in the healthcare community.
Some early messages have included:
- “Healthcare workers are incredible and amazing. We might say ‘hero’ too much these days, but you are being courageous, selfless and kind. Your determination to help others, at risk to yourself, is truly inspiring. Please stay safe and let the community know how we can help.”
- “Despite all the bad, all the selfishness, all the greed, all the terrible things in humanity, your courageous sacrifice makes me feel a hope for the future. It truly inspires me to work harder to serve others just as you do”
- “This initiative is so important. As healthcare providers, many of us know colleagues, mentors, and trainees who have come down with COVID-19. For the community to express support, it means a lot.”
Frederick is hoping for many more.
"It's anything, a message of encouragement, a message of hope, gratitude, anything that is heartfelt and genuine to show our support for the healthcare workers," he said.
Messages will be appreciated.
"I've gotten some responses from doctors saying, 'This is amazing. Feeling the community is behind us really helps us get through these long shifts in difficult times,'" Frederick said.
Kids can also email artwork to medical personnel through the site.
Frederick knows how big the "Rainbow Hunt" has become. "That's what I'm shooting for here as well," he said.
Frederick believes now is the right time. He said medical personnel are being stretched thin during work shifts, with some doctors and nurses fighting off the virus themselves.
"They're getting ready for the surge that's expected to happen in the next few weeks, so it can be very demoralizing," Frederick said. "These messages are meant to show that they're not alone, that they have support in the community."
Contact staff writer Jeff Wilkin at 518-641-8400 or at [email protected]