In the blink of an eye, our world has changed. The COVID-19 pandemic has forced us to adapt to a new reality. Despite the darkness, there is light brought upon by the helpers. Mr. Rogers illustrates this through his quote, “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’” Alaina Marr is no stranger to being a helper. She never misses a chance to visit her patient buddy at Sparrow Hospital when he is in. Alaina shared, “The highlight of my week is when I get to see my buddy! Each visit is a special moment for me. I love seeing my buddy’s face light up when I walk into the room.” Their favorite game to play together is the card game Uno.

Alaina is currently a sophomore at Michigan State University in the College of Nursing. She began the Hospital Buddy Program during the Fall of 2019. “I love kids,” Alaina shared, “I want to be a pediatric nurse, so getting in the hospital environment and volunteering with kids seemed like the perfect opportunity.”

Due to the pandemic, Alaina and the other volunteers are no longer able to visit their buddies in the hospital.  “I do miss being in the hospital, creating memories with patients, and engaging in conversations with patients, families, and staff, but I understand that staying safe and healthy is a huge concern,” Alaina said. These relationships and memories breathe light onto our new reality. “Sharing the care during this time is the best thing to do as we come together as a community,” says Alaina. Alaina looks forward to the day she and her buddy can play Uno again together.

Although times may be scary, let’s not forget that to bring about a bright future, we need smiles, kindness, and hope. Thank you, Alaina, for your dedication to StudentsCare. Without students like you, we would not be able to share the care now and in the future!

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