THOMASVILLE — The mother of an Archbold Memorial Hospital nurse stricken with COVID-19 is experiencing raw pain and helplessness.
Linda "Mama" Harper, also a nurse, expressed her feelings about her daughter, Tracey Simmons, a licensed practical nurse, in a letter to extended family, friends and her daughter's co-workers.
Simmons' co-worker Marc Decosta said she is in ICU with COVID-19 and is on a ventilator in critical condition.
Simmons has been in ICU for about two weeks.
Decosta, who worked with Simmons at Archbold hospital for more than three years, described her as always having a smile on her face regardless of the workload and as constantly reaching out to co-workers, patients and their families.
Simmons, a 45-year-old single mom, has two daughters ages 17 and 21. The older daughter is an Archbold employee.
A GoFundMe account has been set up for Simmons and her children to help pay medical costs, compensate for lost wages and defray other expenses that accompany unexpected illness, Decosta said.
About $12,000 has been raised toward a $20,000 goal.
Donations may be made at https://www.gofundme.com/f/help-us-help-our-sister-in-nursing?sharetype=teams&member=5225988&utm_medium=copy_link&utm_source=customer&utm_campaign=p_na+share-sheet&pc_code=ot_co_dashboard_a&rcid=d0a0127f4a73416882c19ebfcac0af9d.
"The community support has been fabulous," Decosta said.
When one person who works in health care hurts, "all of us are hurting," he added.
Simmons' mother's letter states that as a mother first and a nurse second, she is "not able to touch, see, or comfort Tracey, as she has done for so many others."
Harper's letter describes the pain she feels as "sharper than being cut with a two-edged sword. ... Not being able to comfort her, wipe her forehead, or moisten her lips. That is the hardest part of this."
The letter encourages prayer for Simmons and for the physicians and nurses caring for her.
"As a community, I am pleading with all of you to please wear masks and take the precautions seriously," Harper's letter stated. "No one is immune."
Senior reporter Patti Dozier can be reached at (229) 226-2400, ext. 1820