Megan Murphy–Healthcare Hero
Megan Murphy has always loved helping people. Since 2008, she has worked as a nurse at UnityPoint Health Trinity in Rock Island. She started as a Patient Care Technician back in 2006, assisting in the Intensive Care Unit. Since then, Megan knew the ICU was where she wanted to work.
She has worked in many positions at UnityPoint Health Trinity. Before the pandemic, Megan managed and worked in the Surgical Intensive Care Unit and the Medical Intensive Care Unit. However, as the need for beds increased, so did the need to find staff and manage them. Megan stepped up, managing the two additional intensive care units.
With the number of beds increasing, Megan not only managed the units but also cared for patients to help her team and staff.
“The meaning of a true leader is jumping right in with your team and being present,” said Megan. “I try to help my team as much as possible.”
Megan said November was one of the toughest times for the hospital, because at one point they were seventeen patients over the maximum capacity.
“Everyone truly came together,” said Megan. “It wasn’t ideal to have to go through, but I think it showed us how strong we are as a hospital team.”
During these intense times, Megan relied on her family, friends, and coworkers’ support. Megan and her team would have to debrief with one another about difficult situations and were each other’s shoulder to cry on.
“We grew really close with some of the patients’ families because with COVID, we had a lot of people intubated for a lengthy amount of time. People couldn’t come into the hospital and visit, but we had the ICU positioned to where they could look through the windows. It was really tough,” Megan said.
While working in the ICU, Megan grew very close to the wife and family of one of her patients. To stay by her husband, the patient’s wife “set up camp” on an old evergreen stump outside his window, using it as a table for her magazines. Megan took care of him for multiple shifts personally, growing closer to the family over the month.
Sadly, the husband passed away. In the end, having followed all the COVID protocols, his wife was able to hold his hand as he passed.
“It was heart-wrenching,” recalled Megan. “I think about him and his family often.”
Megan received multiple letters and emails from the wife, the family, and friends, all thanking her for the care of their family member and expressing how much it meant to them.
“It made me feel like we truly did make a difference for them, even though the outcome wasn’t what we had hoped for,” said Megan.
Heroes are people who take it upon themselves to care for others and their communities. Megan Murphy is one of those heroes, dedicating her life to helping others, even in troubling times.
“I really do feel we survived. It was really, truly heartwarming seeing everyone who came together.”
Written by Communications & Marketing Intern, Doreen Fosco
Lee Ann Porter–Social Justice Impact Hero
Lee Ann Porter founded the Loving Bottoms Diaper Bank after noticing an unaddressed need for diapers and feminine hygiene supplies in her community. Her organization serves counties in the West Central Illinois region, and has distributed one million diapers to families in need.
Lee Ann’s idea to start her own diaper bank began long before she knew she was going to do it. In 2004, she experienced what it was like to not be able to afford diapers for her child. Years later, she read about a diaper bank online and could not believe the problem she experienced back then was still a problem in her community.
“I realized that was something that I wasn’t going to be okay with, [because of] my own experience, [so] we decided to make a change for the local community,” Lee Ann said.
Families often bounce from store to store, hopelessly looking for the supplies they need for their children. Lee Ann remembers the struggle of having to drive for three hours to reach the nearest diaper bank because there were no other options.
As a result of Lee Ann’s efforts, Loving Bottoms Diaper Bank works with a network of partner organizations that distribute their diapers directly out to the families for them. They look for organizations that are already working with families, like food pantries, in order to prevent families from having to make unnecessary trips.
“We serve families and individuals who are struggling to make ends meet and want them to be able to live their lives healthy and to the fullest,” Lee Ann mentioned.
What was originally intended to be a local diaper bank in Knox County now serves six counties throughout West Central Illinois. Each month they distribute more than 18,000 diapers, and support over 360 families.
Lee Ann treasures the stories she has with the families she serves. She recalled a time when her diaper drive partnered with a drive-thru food distribution. A mother came to get food for her family and didn’t know they had diapers available. When Lee Ann asked her if she had children and gave her 50 diapers, the mother started crying.
“I always want to have a huge impact on families. It means a lot to them, and I know because I’ve been there,” Lee Ann said
The Red Cross is honoring Lee Ann with the Social Justice Impact Award for her efforts.
“It’s hard to be in poverty and feel like you can’t take care of your family. They’re the real heroes,” added Lee Ann.
Written by Communications & Marketing Intern, Matthew Pontious