These last few months have not been easy, but St. Michael’s student athlete Curtis Harvey has found a way to make a difference.
Countless students headed home when the university announced the cancellation of all in-person classes due to the COVID-19 outbreak on March 13; however, the fourth-year Varsity Blues men’s hockey player stayed put in his Toronto apartment.
“I’ve been on my own for most of quarantine as my roommates moved back after the school year,” said the industrial relations major from Keswick, Ont. “My mom took over my room in Keswick to stay somewhat isolated from my dad and sister.”
Harvey’s mother, Jayne, works at River Glen Nursing Home in Sutton, Ont., and like so many healthcare heroes, did her best to isolate herself from her family.
“It has been weird whenever I go home,” added Harvey. “For the most part I stay outside but not being able to hug my family hasn’t been easy.”
Just when they were getting used to their new ‘normal’, the River Glen Nursing Home suffered a COVID-19 outbreak. Jayne and 30 of her coworkers moved into a nearby motel to fully isolate from their families.
Wanting to help and witnessing all of the generosity in the community, Harvey sprang into action. He enlisted the help of the Varsity Blues men’s hockey team to raise money and provide his mom and her coworkers meals after their long shifts.
“I first pitched the idea when Coach [Ryan] Medel gave me a phone call after we heard about the delay to the start of the season,” said Harvey. “He thought it was a great idea and said if there was anything he could do to help, he would. I sent a message in the team group chat explaining the situation and set up a GoFundMe page where they could make donations. My teammates and the staff were incredibly generous.”
To date, Harvey and the men’s hockey team have provided two meals to Jayne and her coworkers in Sutton, with a third on the way, thanks in large part to U of T assistant coach and former NHL’er Mike Zigomanis.
“I got the idea from the community. A lot of people and local shops have been donating supplies or meals to healthcare workers. I figured if I could make their day even 1% better, it would be worth it.”
Harvey also credits his friend and current Ottawa Senator, Chris Tierney, for the great idea.
“Chris donated a weeks’ worth of meals for nurses and I thought it was amazing.”
Jayne is just one of many healthcare heroes who continues to fight this pandemic and Harvey couldn’t be more proud of her.
“My mom is doing well and she just had her eighth negative test. It’s been hard on her not being able to come home every night and have the support from our family. My dad’s been great through this. He often will grab food from town and bring it to her for dinner. He’ll sit by his car and they’ll talk about the day and enjoy a meal together.”
The burning question in everyone’s mind is ‘what will you do when this is all over’? For Harvey, he’s excited to spend quality time with his family again.
“I know we are hoping to be able to go up to the cottage together at some point this summer. We just got it last fall so we’ve been chomping at the bit to get up there and utilize it.”