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Canadian Olympian posts social media plea to wear masks

Hockey Olympian and hospital clerk Hayley Wickenheiser after 26 hours in hospital.
Image Credit: FACEBOOK / Hayley Wickenheiser
July 20, 2020 - 2:15 PM

One of Canada’s most decorated Olympians has taken to social media to join the call for public mask wearing.

Saskatchewan-born Hayley Wickenheiser retired in 2017 as Canada’s all-time leading scorer in women’s hockey and was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2019.

In the spring, Wickenheiser partnered with Canadian actor Ryan Reynolds to fund and deliver personal protective equipment to frontline workers through the Conquer COVID-19 campaign.

As a frontline worker herself, Wickenheiser has seen the effects of the pandemic first hand and posted a plea on social media to wear masks. 

"I wear a mask five days a week from anywhere from seven to 20 hours a day depending on my days," she said in a July 19 Facebook post.

She admits that masks can be annoying and uncomfortable, but she emphasizes their importance.

"Wearing a mask has nothing to do with your personal freedoms being taken away or not. Wearing a mask is simply about protecting yourself and others," she said.

"It’s about being a good citizen, about thinking of those who might not be as able to overcome the virus if they get it."

 

I took this pic the other day after spending 26 hours straight in the hospital. I have this sense people are getting... Posted by Hayley Wickenheiser on Sunday, July 19, 2020

Wickenheiser said she saw a young patient who spent three months in the intensive care unit due to the effects of COVID-19, and adds she does not know whether the patient will ever recover to full functioning.

"It reminded me this virus doesn’t spare the young, it can happen to any of us," she said.

She also highlights the pandemic fatigue phenomenon and explains the effects of the COVID-19 outbreak are widespread and long-lasting.

"In the hospital, we are seeing high rates of mental health, domestic abuse, overdoses and withdrawals," she said. "People are coming in sicker then they should be, because the are waiting too long, afraid to go to hospital."

She explains the personal reasons why she is vigilant about wearing a mask.

"I wear a mask for my parents and loved ones… I wear one for my patients and anyone I don’t know who may be at increased risk," she said. "I wear it because despite it being a tiny bit annoying, it is an honour to put in all the hours and long days to be learning how to help people in their worst moments."

Wickenheiser concludes with an open call urging the public to wear a mask when appropriate to protect themselves, protect others, stop the spread and save lives.

"We have a long way to go. The only way through is together."


To contact a reporter for this story, email Brie Welton or call (250) 819-3723 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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