After travelling thousands of miles to a New York hospital to help fight COVID-19 last month, Whitney Hilton, a front-line healthcare worker from Utah, was treated to the birthday surprise of a lifetime from her idol as a reward for her efforts.
Upon her return to Utah, Hilton — a registered nurse at McKay-Dee Hospital in Ogden, and an avid Swiftie — was greeted with a mysterious package from the world-renowned pop icon Taylor Swift.
The package contained not only a selection of branded merchandise from the Blank Space singer, but a handwritten note thanking Hilton for her efforts as a nurse and wishing her a happy 30th birthday.
“I wanted to send you some presents and to let you know I am so grateful for you,” wrote Swift, 30, in the letter. “I can’t thank you enough for risking your life to help people and for spreading the message loudly that people need to hear about taking this seriously,” she added.
A very excited Hilton took to Twitter on Sunday “publicly thanking” Swift for her kindness, citing it as “the best day of [her] life.”
Adding onto her generosity, Swift said that she’d like to thank Hilton in person next time she puts on a concert in Utah.
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“I saw the photo of you from my show,” wrote the musician. “Thank you for coming! I would love to give you a hug next time and thank you in person.”
Hours later, Hilton shared a video of her reacting to receiving the package. She was surrounded by her masked family members as they laughed and cheered while she screamed in excitement.
Hilton was deployed to the Jewish Medical Center in Long Island, N.Y. mid-April to provide aid for the understaffed infirmary.
She wrote about how helping care for patients carrying the novel coronavirus in New York was an “overwhelming” and “humbling” experience in a detailed blog post shared to the Intermountain Healthcare website on April 19.
In the post, Hilton wrote: “This is a humbling experience. I have so much to say but almost too overwhelmed to say it all. New York has been hit HARD. The people need help, the nurses need help, the doctors need help, everyone needs help.”
“This is crisis mode like I’ve never seen,” she added. “This is an incredible experience, albeit the hardest thing I’ve ever done and equally the most rewarding.
“Today was considered a ‘slow’ day for these nurses and doctors, which honestly is almost comical at this point,” said Hilton. “But I guess anything less than an absolute crisis is a good day to them.”
She continued: “I’m trying to give you all a real picture of what it’s like here because this isn’t about me; this is to show you how real COVID-19 is and how scary it is. We are so incredibly blessed in Utah and slowly the spread is the only way to keep us safe.”
“One thing I want to scream from the rooftops is that if you could see what we see here, you’d do anything humanly possible to prevent it,” concluded Hilton.
Questions about COVID-19? Here are some things you need to know:
Health officials caution against all international travel. Returning travellers are legally obligated to self-isolate for 14 days, beginning March 26, in case they develop symptoms and to prevent spreading the virus to others. Some provinces and territories have also implemented additional recommendations or enforcement measures to ensure those returning to the area self-isolate.
Symptoms can include fever, cough and difficulty breathing — very similar to a cold or flu. Some people can develop a more severe illness. People most at risk of this include older adults and people with severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease. If you develop symptoms, contact public health authorities.
3-year-old surprised by garbage truck birthday parade during coronavirus lockdown
To prevent the virus from spreading, experts recommend frequent handwashing and coughing into your sleeve. They also recommend minimizing contact with others, staying home as much as possible and maintaining a distance of two metres from other people if you go out.
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