Commentary: Not all heroes wear capes

Commentary: Not all heroes wear capes

Ian Haysom’s coronovirus diary will appear here regularly.

Heroes everywhere, heroes as far as the eye can see.

Or as loud as the ear can hear at 7 every night when we bang our pots and pans and cheer those heroes who are helping us get through this crisis.

Rob Reid of Frontrunners fame has posted a challenge on Facebook invoking our forever national hero

Terry Fox, whose Marathon of Hope started 40 years ago Sunday.

Fox’s run lasted 143 days until he had to stop, broken and heartbroken, just outside Thunder Bay in Ontario.

Reid asked you, in his 143 Challenge, to self-isolate for 143 days, run, bike or walk on those days, and put a loonie in a shoebox every day until September – when we can donate that money to the Terry Fox Foundation..

During the 40 Anniversary of the Marathon of Hope would Canadians take up this 143 Challenge

Posted by Rob Reid on Friday, April 10, 2020

A super idea. Somehow this period in our lives reminds us of the spirit in Canada when we all came

together to raise money later that year when Terry was dying in hospital. And that Terry Fox spirit has continued until this day, with an astonishing $750 million raised for cancer research.

Heroes always come to the fore and do their heroic bit in times of crisis.

The name Dr. Bonnie Henry first comes to mind. Cool in a crisis. Reassuring. Making us feel we’re in a safe pair of very clean hands. And likely working 18-hour days.

She has become a national superstar. Our friends Rob and Julia Wallace, who live in Peterborough, Ont., said they’d been incredibly impressed by what they’d seen from the good doctor.

She’s fantastic, they said, and I said, yes, we’re all lucky to have her. Yes, we are.

And don’t forget, said Julia, that many of the provincial and medical officers of health helping us through this crisis are women.

They pointed me to an article in their local Peterborough Examiner lauding Dr. Henry, as well as Canada’s chief medical officer, the “steely and authentic” Dr. Theresa Tam, Hong Kong-born, British-trained, as well as federal health minister, Patty Hajdu.

“They are now becoming well-recognized, widely consulted and trusted. Their calm presence and clear presentation of information are having a big impact, especially on young women and little girls, who are noticing,” wrote Rosemary Ganley.

“The medical officers are talking at daily media briefings with poise, sound data, and, in some cases undisguised feelings of compassion. The political leaders are wisely giving pride of place to the officers.”

They’re also showing leadership and, even if none of us really knows where this will finally end, and reassurance that we are mostly on the right track, even if we made some mistakes on the way here.

Bouquets too to Justin Trudeau, whose best attribute is that he’s not Donald Trump, and to health minister Adrian Dix, who, like Dr. Henry, has shown real compassion and calm leadership, not to forget his mastery of French, during this pandemic.

Trudeau was right last week to invoke other heroes, those who fought and died for their fellow men at Vimy Ridge.

But the real heroes of this particular war on an invisible enemy are those everyday folk who in the past we took for granted.

Yes, the nurses and doctors, but also those behind the scenes who are getting this done.

People like environmental health officers and licensing officers who ensure that facilities (restaurants, businesses, daycares, etc) have all of the information they need to keep running safely, including where to access important supplies for their workers (Personal protective equipment).

And IT workers in government, business and in the health services who have been working tirelessly to get systems up and running to support people to work from home.

And community health workers and carers who are going into people’s homes or seniors’ facilities to provide health and care to people who really need it.

And Public Health staff who are doing the testing, screening, surveillance and monitoring of the cases to identify outbreaks, and report updated numbers to help provincial health officials fight the pandemic.

And the communications people who keep getting crucial information out to us.

And let’s not forget the cleaning services staff at health care facilities who are working tirelessly to prevent the possible spread of transmission between patients and staff.

Kudos to the heroes who are waiting for surgery but have had to take their agonizing knees and hips and backs and other excruciatingly painful ailments to the back of the waiting list. Hopefully, particularly on Vancouver

Island where the need for emergency COVID-19 beds seems less acute than expected, we can start attacking those waiting lists soon. There are kids out there waiting for surgery for major dental work who are in constant pain.

And there are heroes putting themselves on the line every day, serving takeout food, ringing through groceries, delivering food to those who need to stay home, driving trucks and buses and taking away our garbage and recycling.

There are those musicians and entertainers putting out music online to lift all our spirits, while they’re not able to earn.

And, yes, even those who send out coronavirus jokes like “Kinda starting to understand why pets try to run out of the house when the door opens” and “Is it just me or has 2020 already lasted three years?”

And the heroes who want to hug their grandchildren but have to air-hug them on Skype or Zoom.

And young dads, like my son-in-law Chris, who is working from home while looking after his two children – aged four and six – because his grandparents can’t.

Yes, everywhere we look there are heroes.

I’d wondered, a few weeks ago, whether we should give medals out to those who have helped us most when this is finally over.

War medals. Or at least pins, with the alarmingly attractive COVID-19 graphics on it; for those who have gone above and beyond.

But, you know, we’d need an awful lot of medals.

And that’s a really really good thing.

Read the previous diaries here:

Commentary: The Coronavirus Diaries March 18, 2020

Commentary: The Coronavirus Diaries March 19, 2020

Commentary: The Coronavirus Diaries March 20, 2020

Commentary: The Coronavirus Diaries March 22, 2020

Commentary: The Coronavirus Diaries March 23, 2020

Commentary: The Coronavirus Diaries March 24, 2020

Commentary: The Coronavirus Diaries March 25, 2020

Commentary: The Coronavirus Diaries March 26, 2020

Commentary: Living in a bubble world

Commentary: Living in a virus virtual world

Commentary: No April Fools. That’s no joke

Commentary: Get ready for the long haul – and hunker down

Commentary: Trudeau’s time is now – to lead us out of the abyss

Commentary: The days of Zoom and FaceTime and Skype …Just don’t turn into a potato

Commentary: God save the Queen and all of us

Commentary: Coronavirus and romance – don’t stand so close to me

Commentary: It’s time to be creative – go paint a daffodil

Ian HaysomIan Haysom

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