From the hands and hearts of community members to the heads of heroes

Grace Caldwell is spreading joy to fellow nurses.
Grace Caldwell is spreading joy to fellow nurses.(wect)
Published: Apr. 1, 2020 at 10:44 PM EDT
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NEW HANOVER COUNTY, N.C. (WECT) - New Hanover Regional Medical Center NICU nurse Grace Caldwell is aptly named, bringing not only grace but an infectious joy to her fellow nurses and the community rallying behind them.

“I feel like there is so much that can cause such anxiety about what is going on around us and even going to work I have colleagues that are pregnant and going to work in COVID units and are scared for their own safety and the safety of their unborn baby and that’s just a very real crisis for us right now and not that a headband is going to drastically impact our safety but it will at least bring some joy,” Caldwell said.

After having a particularly difficult day at work last week, thinking of the severity of this pandemic, Caldwell felt like she needed to do something.

“I wanted to take care of the people taking care of the people,” she said.

She came up with the idea of sending care packages to nurses she knows across the country.

Then after coming across an image of a simple headband made to protect healthcare worker’s ears from irritation, she put a call out on Facebook looking for a local business to make a few for her to buy.

“Within 30 minutes it was just comment after comment after comment,” she said.

Hundreds of comments flooded in from all over, people looking to donate materials and money, or make them to contribute to the cause.

“I think people really want a chance to help, they want a chance to serve their people and this was something really tangible that people could do and could get behind and not leave their home,” she said.

A short while later, seamstress, Juana Shotwell offered to help for free.

Then other seamstresses, including inspired Interiors Design Studio joined the movement.

Shotwell created 100 headbands in just one day for Caldwell to deliver to New Hanover Regional Medical Center.

Caldwell’s husband picked up 20 headbands made by senior citizen Rebecca Shipman, who is immunocompromised but still wanted to help.

“That’s just the kind of people that live here. That’s just the kind of Wilmington that we live,” Caldwell said.

The headbands will be distributed to medical professionals around the Cape Fear and Caldwell plans to send them across the country in care packages with other items like trail mix, mints, and spa items.

“This is a way we can feel tangibly loved on and each time we wear it we can know somebody somewhere was sewing something for me to keep me safe and in that way we can all partner together," she said.

Caldwell says if you would like to help they are in need of stretchy fabric or leggings to make headbands out of.

You can drop off supplies at the Lifepoint Church. You can also reach out to Grace Caldwell or Juana Shotwell on Facebook.

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