A Letter to You, From the Daughters of an Immunocompromised Father

Dear World,

I am writing this letter on behalf of me and my younger sister.

I am a high school senior and right now my world is being turned upside down. My classes occur online, my graduation is at stake, my prom dress is going to hang indefinitely in my closet, and my ability to watch high school sports has been taken away. At this point, so many things are uncertain. And all of this is because of a virus, COVID-19 to be exact.

Please help protect people like my dad. (photo via Elizabeth Broshears)

Still, I cannot help but feel that my senior year is the furthest thing from my mind. Because, regardless of the backlash I receive, I would rather my cap and gown hang uselessly than wear a wedding dress to walk down the aisle alone. I would rather receive my high school diploma in the mail than be forced to tell my children stories about their grandfather. 

Approximately 5 months ago my father was the recipient of a brand new kidney. After nearly two decades struggling with the autoimmune disease IgA Nephropathy, his body could take this time to heal. Only with the help of immunosuppressants that is. It seems like a cruel joke that a worldwide pandemic would strike now.

As everyone I am sure has heard, this puts him at great risk for contracting COVID-19, and for failing to recover. In Italy, people like my father have essentially been given a death sentence. Ventilators are given to those who will survive. At the door of a hospital, my father would inevitably be doomed to death. Morbid and seemingly unrealistic right? Wrong. Because this is our new reality. At least for the next few months. 

Every day for the 18 years and counting my dad has been my hero. I cried out for him when we left to go back home after visiting him at medical school. I watched him surgically suture my teddy bears. I laughed when he read Skippy John Jones books in funny voices.

Via Elizabeth Broshears

After every medal I won, he was the first person I wanted to hug. He might not wear a red cape, but he wears a white lab coat, and in my eyes, that makes him a hero. Every day my dad faces a formidable opponent. Work. At times like these, his job could kill him, yet he puts his own safety at risk for the benefit of the community. He promotes the health of others while his life hangs in the balance. As his daughter, I am proud of the wonderful physician that stands before me, but also terrified.

So, to my high school classmates. Please don’t complain to me about your cancelled spring vacation. I know that the drinking age in Mexico is 18. I know that Florida parties are amazing, and I am well aware that there is an entire world to go explore. Please know that I understand where you’re coming from, but I have larger concerns.

Please don’t fault my protective instincts. To the people who claim that social distancing is unnecessary, know that your opinion is a matter of perspective. For those of us who are healthy, these measures may seem extreme. But for those like my father, these may only be half measures.

Every now and then I catch myself complaining about my circumstances. I am not perfect, but I know the cost of failing to flatten the curve. Please do not complain. Please use this time to be compassionate. My younger sister and I adore this man who moves mountains, dries our tears, and inspires us to seek the greatest love of all.

It’s a small sacrifice for you to follow the rules and socially distance yourself, but if you don’t our father may have to pay the ultimate price. Please, I beg you, don’t let that happen. Help us keep our dad and others like him safe.

With all our love,

Elizabeth and Sarah Claire Broshears

More to Read:

This Mom From Italy Wants Americans to Know This About Covid-19 and Teens

The Storm We Face Is Scary, But Together We Will Weather It

My name is Elizabeth Broshears and I am a senior at Reitz Memorial High School. I am a national level swimmer committed to swim for Indiana University. I enjoy swimming, singing, school, and spending time with my four younger siblings.

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