A student nurse at the University of East Anglia (UEA) has made a touching video to the her two-year-old daughter, who she's had to separate from while working on the frontline in Ipswich.
While the nation continues to tackle the coronavirus crisis, third-year student Emily Paterson decided to reach out to daughter Ava by recording a sign language video to the lyrics of "Somewhere Over The Rainbow".
Emily's a Learning Disability Nursing student with the university and is currently on placement as an assessment treatment nurse in Ipswich to support adults with disabilities.
As a result, Emily's increased risk of exposure to coronavirus meant her and partner Ben - who's a police officer - decided to move Ava out of their family home in Ixworth, near St Edmunds to live with Emily's parents for the time-being.
Ava was born prematurely and also shown she is more susceptible to picking up illnesses in the past.
After starting her placement at the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust two weeks ago, Emily's only been able to contact Ava by video call.
“There were countless times where we tried to work out ways where we could keep Ava but we decided that it was a risk we couldn’t take.
“It’s been more difficult than I could have imagined – my parents live in Ixworth as well and in some ways that’s made it harder knowing that Ava’s just round the corner and there’s nothing we can do.
"I try to avoid going in her bedroom to keep it out of my mind and I’ve been working as many hours as I can as it’s a good distraction.
“We video call her three times a day, it’s become part of the routine now, and at the moment she’s potty training, so we’re getting regular updates on that! We’re holding out hope that we’ll be allowed to see her in June.”
(Emily hasn't been able to see Ava in two weeks. Picture credits: University of East Anglia)
Emily's enlisted the help of some of her course mates in making the touching sign language video, initially turning to Learning Disability Nursing lecturer at UEA, Kirsty Hall in coming up with the idea.
“I had this wacky idea so I emailed Kirsty to see what she thought and she said she would support it and we contacted other students on the Learning Disability Nursing course to see if they would help.
“Honestly, I thought there would maybe be a couple who might respond and I couldn’t believe the numbers of people who sent clips back.
"People had to take time to learn the signs and I’m so grateful to all of them – but especially Kirsty who has given me the best support I could have possibly asked for.”
“Emily is such an inspiration and it really is the ultimate dedication to the profession of nursing to not only put yourself at risk but to have to separate from your young daughter as well.
“It’s hard to imagine the sacrifice that she’s made but when she asked for help, I jumped at the opportunity and I’m so proud that so many of our students decided to contribute too.
"We’re all hoping that Emily and Ava can be reunited as soon as possible.”
You can watch the "Somewhere Over The Rainbow" sign language video by clicking here.