Brave of Heart Fund, Impact Stories

'I can't abandon my residents and staff'

Debbie lived for her family and sacrificed for her residents.

As an infection-control registered nurse (RN), Debbie was ready to jump into action when the pandemic struck in 2020. She responded early and created new facility-use guidance to protect the patients and kept it virus-free longer than most.

Despite a planned retirement in 2020 and the health risks to herself as the world navigated uncharted waters, Debbie chose to stay.

“I took an oath. I can’t abandon my residents and staff,” she said.

Debbie stayed without missing a day, saving many lives through daily testing, proactive care and preventative measures to keep her colleagues, patients and family safe. And she paid the ultimate sacrifice, losing her personal battle with COVID-19 for the greater good of her community and her country.

After her passing, The Brave of Heart Fund honored her legacy with a charitable grant to the loved ones she left behind. 

“Every time someone acknowledges the price a stranger like Debbie paid as a healthcare worker during the pandemic, the weight of her absence becomes, for us, a particle lighter,” her partner said. “It helps against the emptiness and becomes a place where memorializing elevates to celebration.”


Providing relief to surviving families

Founded by New York Life and Cigna Foundations and powered by E4E Relief, The Brave of Heart Fund was established to provide charitable monetary grants to the family members of frontline healthcare workers and healthcare volunteers who lost their lives because of COVID-19.

Since launching in April 2020, The Brave of Heart Fund has provided relief to over 700 families. Over $31.5 million has been granted to provide financial support for common needs as these family members manage the impact of the COVID-19 crisis and the loss of a loved one. Grants have helped cover funeral costs, medical care, counseling, food, educational expenses for children and other dependents currently in school, mortgage or rent payments, and immediate living expenses.

The work of the Brave of Heart Fund continues via scholarship funding for children, spouses and dependents of frontline healthcare workers lost to COVID-19, and through partnerships with nonprofit organizations aligned with the fund's core purposes.

As our healthcare workers and volunteers continue the fight to end the global pandemic, we will continue to honor and celebrate their sacrifice. We are beyond grateful to companies like New York Life and Cigna who have made a commitment to supporting the families of those negatively impacted by COVID-19.

As we’ve all learned over the past several years, disasters and hardships can take a variety of shapes. As an employer, you want to be prepared the moment those disasters strike. That’s where E4E Relief can help.

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