Danette Nail is a proud mother of four from the Olympia area.
Her story of motherhood is one of immense fear and faith, and as you scroll through her Instagram she weaves bits of her family’s story alongside photos of her children. Willow and Archer are the oldest two, followed by Sawyer who was born still in 2017, and then there is sweet Everest who recently turned one.
Little Everest is an interrupted SIDS and brain injury survivor, and a spastic quadriplegic CP warrior. His parents constantly advocate for his therapies and in light of him being immunocompromised the current COVID-19 pandemic has put them on high alert.
You can read more about Everest’s story here, but the purpose of introducing you to the Nail family today is to bring light and specificity to why we’re all staying home right now - we’re staying home so Everest (and many others) can stay alive.
When coronavirus was "just" a news story and not yet something touching most of the general public's everyday lives, the Nail family was already taking steps to protect Everest.
“We took our [older] kids out of school a week before the schools actually closed, as soon as the first case in Washington was confirmed,” Nail shared. “We’ve always taken extreme precautions when it comes to sanitizing and keeping him away from people who are sick. Anytime I’m in public I wipe down anything we touch [and] use hand sanitizer like crazy all of the things other people are now doing because of the virus, we’ve been doing ever since we left the hospital with Everest.”
Nail is the queen of germ fighting because even a minor cold can become life threatening for Everest.
“The moment he starts showing symptoms or seems even slightly under the weather, we start treating it as a life-threatening illness and do everything we can to nip it at the bud.” Which is what makes COVID-19 such a worry for Everest and other medically fragile individuals.
Tiny Hero, a support network for families of children with CDH, recently created a social media photo frame that Nail overlaid with a photo of her and her husband, Garrett, holding Everest. It reads, “Only the vulnerable will be at risk - your 'only' is my everything”.
Let that soak in.
This is why we are staying home right now. For Everest. For the Nail family. For so many others. The coronavirus won’t be a life and death illness for the majority of us, but for the immunocompromised and medically fragile population - it will be devastating. For them and for their families.
And so, we stay home. To protect them. When you’re lamenting missed parties and concerts, canceled vacations, and boredom within your four walls - remember Everest and stick it out.
“Health is a huge privilege," says Nail. A privilege we too often take for granted. “Being someone who isn’t constantly taking measures to be safe and protected is a privilege because people like Evie can not afford for others not to take their health seriously. Staying home is literally saving people’s lives. It’s keeping people like Everest safe, and showing that their lives are valued.”
Everest’s life has value. As do the countless other immunocompromised and medically fragile individuals in our community. Think of them right now, think of their family and caretakers. Let’s do everything we can to fight this pandemic for the vulnerable.
I asked Nail what you and I can do outside of minimizing the spread of coronavirus to support those in each of our circles who are having to take immense precautions right now.
"The most helpful things have been grocery drop offs, care packages, people checking in - asking what we need and offering to pick things up for us so we don’t have to leave the house,” she shared.
Basically, reach out and offer to be the hands and feet for these individuals and their families. Most of all, Nail said that when people reach out, it reassures them that Everest and their family are loved and cared for.
You can reach out to the Nail family through Danette’s Instagram, contribute to Everest’s ongoing therapies fundraiser, say a prayer, and allow our care and concern for Everest to transfer to the many other medically fragile individuals who need this same support.
Together, separately, we can stay home and protect lives.