Within minutes of a Parksville-Qualicum Beach News article being posted about B.C. emergency room nurse Marcia Kent isolating from her family, a kind stranger reached out offering her beach house for Kent to stay in.
“It’s five minutes away from my home and literally on the beach,” said Kent, who works at Vancouver Island’s Nanaimo Regional General Hospital. “Happy tears for sure! I’m absolutely overwhelmed with gratitude and my family is so thankful I have this beautiful spot to retreat to after my shifts.”
Anna Francis, who owns the beach house, is that kind stranger. Francis lives in Mill Bay, about 90 minutes south of Kent, but spends plenty of time in Qualicum Beach.
“Marcia truly deserves a beach staycation between shifts,” she said. “Because she flat-out deserves it. Sacrificing hugs with her boys to help complete strangers says a lot about what kind of person she is.”
Francis had already been looking for a frontline worker in need of somewhere to stay. She sought out a friend, also an ER nurse, to ask around. She hadn’t heard anything for a few days, and then read about Marcia.
“It warms my heart knowing that Marcia can enjoy a sunset, or take a walk on the beach between shifts,” she said.
Kent was greeted by a sign that read, ‘Welcome to your beach house Marcia,” when she arrived for her first night. She had been staying in a trailer on her property in Qualicum Beach apart from her family to keep them safe from COVID-19.
She works in the emergency department at NRGH, recently designated as one of two Vancouver Island frontline COVID-19 hospitals. This act of generosity, she said, gives her hope amid uncertainty.
“This just shows you that in a scary time like this, there are so many things and people to be grateful for,” she said. “I am forever thankful.”