Heartfelt way to reward those who help out kids
Sick kids now have a delightful way to hold their loved ones close to their hearts, even though coronavirus restrictions have forced them to separate from their families.
A nurse at the Sydney Children's Hospital's Intensive Care Unit has come up with the touching idea of creating knitted hearts for young ones and their parents who have been kept apart while receiving treatment.
It's become so popular that staff, friends and family members visiting the hospital have pitched in to knit dozens of paired hearts for as many children as possible.
Clinical nurse Charlotte Kelly said the idea came about after she had witnessed the devastating impacts of the pandemic families in intensive care.
When NSW was faced with the first wave of COVID-19 - and strict restrictions were imposed - she was appointed to the extra role of staff-wellbeing in the Children's Intensive Care Unit.
"We understood that wellbeing was going to be really important during this time so when thinking about how to take care of the staff I started to realise that we needed to take care of families even more so," Ms Kelly said.
"I knew that our parents were going to have to be separated from their children more, so I felt they needed a way to connect them back together when they couldn't physically be there."
The pain she witnessed from families having to separate spurred her to develop the Two of Hearts foundation.
"I realised that the community were feeling like they didn't know how to help people in these situations and wanted to support the nurses and parents," Ms Kelly said.
"The hearts are any colour, crocheted or knitted, but every pair is identical with the same note."
For first time parents, Elise and Joel Duval from Wilton, receiving the "two of hearts" meant she could have a connection to her two-month-old son Zephaniah when it wasn't possible to hold him.
The bub, born in April this year, was diagnosed with gastroschisis during pregnancy and spent six weeks in Sydney's CICU.
"We were only allowed to pick Zephaniah up once a day because he had at one point 13 cords coming out of him and it would take two to three nurses to pick him up and pass him over to be held," Ms Duval told The Sunday Telegraph.
"We couldn't bond with him in a normal way like when he cries I should have been able to pick him up or when he's hungry I should be able to feed him in my arms."
Ms Duval recalled the heartbreaking day Zephaniah had to have a new line put in and she had to watch from the corridor outside.
"He was screaming, getting needles and had to be paralysed and sedated. He was so upset and we couldn't pick him up," Ms Duval said.
"I was upset and crying and then Charlotte came over and gave me the hearts and told me they were going to leave one with Zephania all day to pick up his scent so I could take it for when I couldn't be with him.
"I took the other heart home and slept with it that night and the next day they gave it to Zephaniah.
"It was a job Charlotte and the nurses didn't have to do but they found a way to help in a really difficult time."
Ms Kelly has been nominated for News Corp Australia's Thanks A Million campaign, which honours those who have put their safety and lives on the line.
You can also nominate someone who has helped their community during this difficult time at thanksamillion.net.au
Originally published as Heartfelt way to reward those who help out kids