Among the electronic blips and boops of life-saving equipment, a cheerful chime trails down the hall of an intensive care unit. Faces brighten as the sound approaches. It’s coming from a plastic unicorn dangling from nurse Kaleena Holmes’s badge.
On the hardest days of the pandemic, this scuffed-up trinket was also a lifeline of sorts. It gave Kaleena and her team a silly reason to smile or do a goofy dance, as a quick break on the frontlines at Banner – University Medical Center Phoenix.
“The Things They Carry” is an ongoing series of profiles highlighting Banner Health’s frontline workers and the personal items that bring them strength and inspiration each day, as they continue to save lives and help make life better for patients. The project is inspired by a popular book about the Vietnam War, The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien, which humanized the story of the soldiers by focusing on unique things they carried during combat.
To view other inspiring stories from this series, check out the following:
- The 82 words etched in his silver ring are nearly microscopic but speak volumes. Learn more about the importance of those words for Craig Rufener.
- Piper Daulton gently pulls the necklace from her scrubs. She displays the black Hawaiian pearl with pride. Piper explains its personal importance.
- Metal bracelets rustle on Steve Stanek’s wrist as he transports hospital patients. Learn how music gets him through every day.