INNISFAIL – The kids in town are determined to show Innisfail docs rock.
On May 19, it was World Family Doctor Day, and also Town of Innisfail Family Doctor Day, as declared by the Town of Innisfail.
A group of nine and 10-year-old Grade 4 students from École John Wilson Elementary School seized the declarations and made it their mission to honour Innisfail’s dedicated physicians.
More than a dozen young students, led by art teacher Heidi Nelson, braved the miserable weather that day to head down to the Henday Mall’s Innisfail Medical Clinic with special gifts.
“They wanted to show their appreciation for the doctors in town. They know they help people when they are sick. They improve our health,” said Nelson.
The students arrived shortly after noon hour and the entire clinic staff, including several doctors, were clearly moved.
“It’s unbelievable the support that’s in the community and that the Grade 4 kids are thinking of us. The last couple of years have been tough for everybody, so we really appreciate the thoughtfulness to us,” said Dr. Andrew Wing, adding the recognition must also go to nurses and support staff, and everybody working at the Innisfail Health Centre.
Nelson said town council came up with the idea for her Grade 4 students to paint rocks for the doctors. Nelson then rallied several young students to do an art project called Our Docs Rock.
She said town council provided the rocks, and she picked three to four students from each Grade 4 class.
“They came to my classrooms and gave up their lunch hours and their recesses so they could paint rocks for the docs,” said Nelson.
She said students used rainbow colours because they’re learning the colour wheel this year.
“We used all rainbow colours. They did a great job,” said Nelson, noting her students will also be participating in a mural project in June that is inspired by the Innisfail Welcoming & Inclusive Community Committee.
The mural of hearts project will be a 12.2-metre-long (40-foot) outdoor creation that will have more than 1,200 hearts.
Student Lincoln Day said the project was important because doctors provide the medication citizens need for today’s healthcare challenges, as opposed to the distant past when it was often unavailable.
“It was hard for people to survive,” said Day. “But now that we have more experienced people to help us heal it is easier for us. I think it is important that we show them that what they are doing is good.”
Mayor Jean Barclay said it was important for the community to declare a Town of Innisfail Family Doctor Day, noting in her declaration that 80 per cent of health care in Alberta is delivered in communities by family doctors and primary health care providers.
“I think our doctors have been through a very difficult two plus years with COVID and some disruptions with provincial relationships and I thought it was just a great way for the community to say, ‘thank you’ to them,” said Barclay.
“We proclaimed today as World Family Doctor Day in Innisfail. The theme on their website was #FamilyDocsRock, so I thought it would be a great idea to reach out to Heidi and have her art class make the rocks.
“It’s wonderful to see the enthusiasm with the kids, and Mrs. Nelson is always a great community contributor and it’s great to see the appreciation from the doctors as well.”