Nurses should always be saluted. During these unprecedented times for many, it is even more important. Under normal circumstances, David Mackie would be reporting to Kamloops for the start of training camp this weekend.
And it was none other than his girlfriend, Joanne Nielsen, who would have been instrumental in that happening. Mackie’s 2019 season came to an abrupt end when he suffered a devastating knee injury on September 6th in Montreal and with Joanne’s help, he’s now ready to go.
Joanne is a registered nurse in the cardiac unit at University Hospital in London, Ontario. The couple met when Mackie was playing football for the Western Mustangs and well on his way to being drafted by the Lions in 2018.
“Years later, she still supports me and my career from the stands across the country,” said Mackie.
As the BC Lions and the entire sports world pay tribute on #InternationalNursesDay, the bruising fullback was asked to reflect on just how proud he is of Joanne and nurses all around the world.
Defensive lineman Jonathan Newsome also greatly understands the impact of nurses. His mother Kimberley is a nurse in Atlanta. Her profession came in extra handy when Jonathan’s wife went into labour with their second son in an Ottawa hotel bathroom last December. Jonathan had to play the role of doctor and thankfully, was able to dial up Kimberley on FaceTime for some guidance for a smooth, emergency delivery.
“Her work is equal to that of a hero,” said Newsome of his mother.
“She literally saves lives, while putting her own self at risk. My mother always came home and told my sister and I some of the craziest stories from her day at work; things I couldn’t even imagine she has seen up close and hands on.”
“For her, during this time, it’s just like any other day. If you think about it, that’s what any hero or superhero would say, ‘I’m just doing my job.’ To have that kind of composure during this time, to be built like that of a soldier almost, I think deserves the highest salute. Without these nurses, we are helpless. Salute to all our heroes that put the greater good of the world before themselves.”
Sukh Chungh normally makes a living on the Lions’ offensive line, but during these times he spends a lot of time thinking of his cousin Manpreet Johal; a nurse in the Newton Public Health Unit not too far from the club’s Surrey practice facility.
“She works very hard for her community and she pursued nursing because she wanted to provide a positive impact and a voice for people who can’t advocate for themselves, ” said Chungh.
Like his two teammates, Chungh can also thank the nurse in his family for helping him through tough times in his life.
“She was always the Mom figure of the group as well as the most trusted and responsible,” he says.
“Our parents always had ease of mind when we were with her and she bridged a lot of the gap for us having to grow up in a bilingual home. She helped with school sports injuries and all that stuff. Manpreet always took care of us, made sure we ate right and fixed scrapes or injuries at a young age. As we get older, she continues to check in on us while being a great mother to her two daughters.”
These are trying times, indeed. But one thing we can all count on is Joanne and all of these great nurses being there when the world needs them.
“It goes without saying that I am forever thankful for how much she has helped me,” added Mackie on Joanne.