Meet UAE's 'angels' who go the extra mile to serve those in need
Dubai - This is the first time that an award has been instituted for hardworking and selfless nurses in the country.
Lucy Alex and Carol Fauni may come across as regular nurses doing their job, but what makes them special is the extra mile they go to fulfil their duty.
The two nurses - who have had a positive impact on the health and lives of thousands of patients in the UAE - were recently recognised for their outstanding contribution to UAE expats at JoyAlukkas Angel Awards 2019.
With over 25,000 nurses in the UAE - mainly from the Philippines and India - this is the first time that an award has been instituted for the community of hardworking and selfless nurses in the country.
Out of 20,000 applications for Joyalukkas Angel Awards 2019 for nurses, 10 were shortlisted - and Lucy and Carol were declared as winners. The duo was each awarded a cash prize of Dh5,200 (Rs100,000) in a grand ceremony held at Taj Dubai on Friday night.
In 2017, Carol, a Filipina nurse who has been working in the UAE for the last 14 years, was diagnosed with colon cancer.
After a colectomy, about six centimetres of her colon was removed. But that was not the end of it. Carol had to undergo multiple operations and had her colon placed outside of her body to prevent the cancer from spreading.
"My mother and younger sister both died of colon cancer, which is why there were chances that the cancer would spread quickly, so the doctors placed my colon outside my body.
"I have to always carry it with me in a bag and cannot lift anything at all - not even my handbag. I was advised to take complete rest for up to one year, but my calling to serve people helped me get on my feet in just two months," she said.
Despite having her colon placed outside her body, Carol didn't want to stop serving people.
"I knew that in order to stay strong and be a role model for my two daughters, I had to muster courage to get up and get going. I have faith in God and have always been optimistic about life. The support of my family and colleagues helped me get back on my feet," she told Khaleej Times.
Carol added: "When you're a nurse, you know that, every day, you will touch a life or a life will touch yours. I may have lost my hair and my strength, but not my will to serve people, which has helped me overcome my weakness. I feel people must believe in themselves and keep a positive outlook."
32 years of helping the needy
Another winner of the Angel Awards - who touched and inspired many with her determination and selflessness - was Lucy Alex, an Indian nurse who has been with the Latifa Hospital since 1987, back when it was still known as Al Wasl Hospital.
Throughout her 32 years of service in UAE, Lucy has opened up her heart, as well as her house, for many people in need, with the latest being Indian expat Jerry and his wife, who not only were in a financial crisis but their newborn was also severely sick.
"When I saw the baby, his skin had turned yellow and, being a nurse, I knew it needed immediate attention. Jerry's wife was admitted in an emergency, and none of her family members could come from India to assist her. She was in a terrible state as she had had complications in pregnancy and after delivery, she also had stitches, due to which her mobility was restricted," Lucy told Khaleej Times.
Lucy, who has three grandchildren, said she saw how the couple struggled with their newborn and, hence, asked them to move to her place for a month, so that she could take care of Jerry's wife and child.
After completing her eight to nine-hour shift, Lucy would come back home, bathe the baby, and look after both the mother and child - completely free of cost.
When asked what makes her help strangers, Lucy said: "Whenever I see that I can help, I don't think twice. Lend a helping hand when you can, do not ignore someone in need if you can help, and God will bring you happiness and contentment like never before.
"I feel that Jerry's newborn brought good luck to us all and got us all together, which is why I will give half of the prize money to Jerry. They are a young couple and are in need of money to build their house."
Apart from giving some part of the money to Jerry and his family, Lucy will also give some amount to a charity for the blind in the south Indian state of Kerala.
The creator of the awards, Juby Kuruvilla, managing director of Equity Plus Advertising, Dubai, said: "The response from general public, sponsors and media was overwhelming, as they stood by this noble deed. I am thankful to each one of you for supporting wholeheartedly."
The winners received the award from Sonia Alukkas, Director, Joyalukkas Group. They also received cash prize of One Lakh Indian Rupees and One Hundred Thousand Pesos from Anjali Menon, Head of Marketing, Wall Street Exchange.
" It gives us immense pleasure in being able to touch the lives of some very deserving individuals through the Angel Awards. WallStreet Exchange has always looked out for ways, through which we could better the lives of not just our customers but also other deserving individuals in the region We are very happy to give away this cheque of One Lakh INR and 1,00,000 Peso to the lucky Indian and Filipino Angels respectively," said Anjali Menon.