This week we saw an Instagram post by Ali Luchini '10, an ICU nurse at Yale New Haven Hospital, in which she thanked the rest of us for our support at this momentous time in history. Ali, who heads in to New Haven every day to care for patients diagnosed with COVID-19, actually took the time out of her own busy schedule to show her gratitude to the rest of us.
Reflecting on the "whirlwind that these past few weeks have been and still are," Ali wrote that she wanted to thank everyone who has shown support for health care workers at this time. "On my way to work I see hearts in my neighbor's windows, signs of encouragement and this beautiful sign on the way to the hospital garage."
Describing an array of gifts people have given her or items that have been donated to help protect her and her colleagues in their work, she wrote, "My sincerest thank you to my incredible family, friends, and strangers ... your support and kindness really does mean the world to us. I put my heart into the profession because of you. I take better care of my patients because of your motivation and encouragement. Thank you."
Of course, we had to reach out and say thank YOU to Ali for her service and courage during this pandemic. As the sign at the entrance to Yale New Haven Hospital indicates (and as so many of Ali's former teachers have said), you, Ali, are the hero.
Ali isn't the only Luchini who has stepped up at this challenging time. Her younger siblings, Michael and Ashley, twin members of the class of 2012, are also actively playing roles.
Michael, about to graduate from Boston University's College of Engineering with a degree in Mechanical Engineering and a concentration in manufacturing, has been producing face shields to be used by doctors and nurses treating patients diagnosed with COVID-19. Michael, who took a course on 3D printing last fall, found it so interesting and enjoyable that he bought a 3D printer, intending to use it for personal and academic projects. And then the world changed.
"When the pandemic began, I spent some time researching ways that I could use my printer to help," he said. "First, I tried printing a HEPA filtering mask, but it was time consuming to create and possibly not medically safe. I kept searching, and eventually I found an article ... created by a Swedish designer, which explains how to create protective face shields/visors. All I needed to do was adjust the settings on my slicer to match his specifications, and I could print a visor frame in just under one hour. I ordered some transparent plastic sheets to use for the shields themselves, and I started printing. "
So far Michael has printed more than 300 face shields using nearly a thousand yards of plastic filament. With Ali's help, he has distributed most of the shields to departments at Yale New Haven Hospital, where doctors and nurses, including Ali, have used them for protection while treating patients diagnosed with COVID-19. He donated the remainder of the face shields to the Branford Fire Department to be used by firefighters, EMTs, and paramedics who are working to combat the virus.
Ali wearing one of Michael's face shields.
Ashley is also doing her part. She graduated this month with a Nursing degree from Fairfield University and is currently working as a Patient Care Assistant at Yale. This summer she will take up her dream job as a Labor and Delivery RN at Yale.
We caught up with Ashley last summer, when she participated in the Pan-Mass Challenge, an 80-mile bike ride to raise money for cancer treatment and research at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. At the time, she said she was dedicating her ride to "not only to those patients, families, and survivors affected by cancer, but also to all of the kickass nurses that take care of this community day in and day out."
We echo Ashley's sentiments. The Country School mission calls on students to look beyond themselves to work collaboratively and serve the common good. Thank you, Ashley, Michael, and Ali, for embodying that mission as you selflessly serve others and take care of our community day in and day out.