NewsCoronavirus

Kids send #feelgoodrocks to health care workers fighting the virus

Posted at 2:38 PM, Apr 21, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-21 14:40:24-04

As some Americans protest stay-at-home restrictions, hospitals are still facing an influx of COVID-19 patients. For doctors and nurses, the risk of infection and lack of equipment is a heavy burden to bear.

But three of their littlest supporters are sending words of encouragement, motivating them to keep going.

"We knew that will maybe help them feel better," said 9-year-old Kearan Fitzpatrick, who lives in San Diego.

He and his twin 6-year-old sisters, Keva and Nora, have spent much of their time in quarantine painting rocks with bright colors and inspirational messages.

"I want to give all the doctors and nurses hugs, but I can't right now," said Keva.

Because of social distancing, these rocks are the next best thing.

The kids delivered them to UC San Diego Medical Center in Hillcrest, lining the corridor from the staff parking lot to the hospital.

Annemarie Degen DeCort has been a nurse for 33 years and is the manager of Capacity Management and Patient Flow at UC San Diego Health. She says the small gesture means the world to nurses like herself.

"We're very insulated, and sometimes you lose that whole perspective that, does the world know what we're going through and does the world understand?" said Degen DeCort. "We're not expecting the pat on the back, but I'll tell you it's very nice to get it."

"It means that the community cares and is there for us, just like we're there for them," said Mackenzie Serfling, a transformation coach in the Office of Experience Transformation at the hospital.

The family hopes this small gesture is replicated at hospitals around the world.

In their home town of San Diego, they're encouraging more families to make rocks, so hospitals across the county can receive some.

The family hopes to set up a safe drop-off location so they can help deliver the rocks. They also want people to post pictures of their painted rocks to social media with the hashtag #feelgoodrocks.

If you'd like to get involved, email Lisa Fitzpatrick at Lfitzpatrick@xcelable.com.

"For us to be able to give even just a tiny molecule of happiness and hope and that there's a light at the end of the tunnel, it's a wonderful feeling," said the children's dad, Kevin Fitzpatrick.