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Story by Jet Sullivan, Project Manager

Background Art by Sarah Zimmer, Associate Creative Director

If you Google “thank you COVID-19 scientists,” you will be greeted with link after link where you can thank the doctors and scientists for helping humanity fight a global pandemic. I did this recently and felt a wave of emotion swell up inside of me.


I remember watching the news with my brother in February 2020. We looked at each other and without saying a word, we both looked up masks to purchase. The virus was coming. It was probably already here.


My next thought after securing masks? My youngest daughter. 


My daughter, Grae, has asthma. We discovered this when she was sick with an upper respiratory virus that landed her in the hospital for four days. There is nothing scarier to a parent than seeing your child unable to breathe. I thought, if a simple virus landed her in the hospital, what would COVID do


So, we locked ourselves down. Minimized our “pod,” masked up, sanitized, and went full-remote to protect her. 


For nearly two years, we held our breath.


A chance to exhale for a lot of people came when a vaccine was produced and approved for adults! The news felt like something from a movie. Only this was reality, full of real-life heroes like doctors, scientists and all the essential workers who were a backbone to society throughout the pandemic.


But we, like many parents, still had to hold our breath and wait for young children to be eligible for the vaccine. 


November 2021, nearly two years since SARS-CoV-2 emerged, the exhale we had been waiting for finally came when all three of my children, including Grae, became eligible for the vaccine.

We are now two weeks past the second dose for my youngest children. We got to visit with a great grandparent we hadn’t seen in years. I got to hug my dad for the first time in two years. It was emotional and incredible.


The fight is far from over as we wait to discover what we need to know about new variants as they emerge and continue to fight the spread of the virus. But urging us forward is the hope and awe that so many of us profoundly felt in 2021.

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