High school senior collects care packages for nurses: ‘I just want to make it better for them’

Coronavirus

CHARDON, Ohio (WJW)–  Like other members of the class of 2020, 18-year-old Abigail Gradomski, a senior at Riverside High School in Painesville, was disappointed that the end of her senior year was wiped out by the coronavirus.

Abby, as she’s known to her family and friends, decided to focus her energy on a project. She began collecting care packages for the nursing staff at University Hospitals Geauga Medical Center, where her mom serves as a nurse.

Abby told FOX 8, “Since I’m only a high school student, I can’t really do much in this situation, as much as I want to. I want to go into the hospital and help, but what I can do is show them my appreciation, my gratitude and my respect for them for what they’re doing.”

Abby used her Facebook page to appeal to stores, restaurants and other businesses to donate items for the care packages, and she was overwhelmed by their response.

Before unloading the baskets outside the hospital on Tuesday morning, she told us that she hopes the baskets lift the spirits of her mom and her colleagues.

“I’m scared for them with everything going on. My mom comes home and she’s stressed out and I just want to make it better and I want to help them as much as I can, like I want to take some of that pressure off of them.”

She initially planned to only give baskets to the nurses on her mom’s floor, but ended up with so many goodies, that she made enough of them for each unit in the hospital.

The giving spirit of the 18-year-old high school student is inspiring to the entire staff. UH Geauga President Dr. Donald DeCarlo told us, “I think that’s really a reflection of her heart and I think it’s really a reflection of our community.”

Abby’s special delivery project is a source of pride for her family. “She is a very compassionate and empathetic child who has, anytime she sees some somebody hurting or anything like that, she wants to reach out and make things better for them; she’s a fixer,” said her mother, Shelley Gradomski.

It should come as no surprise that Abby Gradomski plans to follow in her mom’s footsteps and will attend nursing school at Kent State’s Geauga Campus in the fall.

She says the courage of the medical professionals battling the virus has confirmed her belief in nursing as a calling. “I want to help people as much as I can. If it means doing something like this, like my mom is and all these other nurses and doctors, medical professionals are, I definitely want to help,” she said.

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