Coronavirus in Scotland: Autistic Scots teenager sends hundreds of cards to staff at Glasgow hospital dealing with pandemic

A Scottish teenager who has autism has sent almost 700 thank-you cards to staff at Glasgow Royal Infirmary.

Paddy Joyce, 17, from Glasgow, wanted to thank nurses and doctors for everything they have done during the Covid-19 pandemic, and his mother believed writing the cards would help ease his anxiety about the current situation.

The teenager began writing the cards in mid-January and, with the assistance of staff at GRI, he has been able to hand-write 663 individually named cards to members of the team.

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The cards have now been sent to the hospital and the grateful staff are starting to receive their messages of support from Paddy.

Paddy’s mum, Indra, said her son had seen news reports about Covid-19 and the impact on those working in the frontline.

Paddy said: “I saw how sad and upset they were on the news. My mum said I should write to someone, so I asked her to find someone and lots of people wanted one – so I want to write to everyone.”

Indra added: “Statistics make sense to him because they are numbers and organised.

“He honed in on Covid death stats and they made him very upset, but he couldn’t stop looking at them.

Paddy Joyce, 17, from Glasgow, began writing to healthcare staff in mid-January.

“Now, he’ll read them, and they make him determined to write more cards so he can help make the doctors and nurses happy. And because a fair few respond to him, he feels he is making a difference. He now feels he has purpose.”

The first of the cards were opened by staff from the ICU at Glasgow Royal Infirmary with staff from surgery, theatres and recovery coming to express their gratitude too.

Chloe Dacosta, staff nurse in recovery, said: “It’s been a stressful time for everyone throughout the pandemic and it’s little acts of kindness like these that keep you going. It really means a lot and lifts you up when times are tough and reminds us that we’re all in this together at the end of the day.

“To Paddy - thanks for thinking of us and for doing so much hard work.”

Auxiliary Margaret Cooper with one of Paddy's thank-you cards.

Pat Cruickshanks, charge nurse within ICU, said: “This last year has been so different to anything we’ve known and it’s not over yet.

“We’re still very busy with both Covid and non-Covid patients and gestures like these provide something of a boost to keep us going. I hope, at some point, we all get to meet Paddy to say thanks to him in person.”

Margaret Cooper, an auxiliary within ICU, said: “You sometimes think that no-one else cares or sees what you are going through, so it’s just nice to feel that we’re not forgotten. It’s amazing that he’s thought of all of us and the amount of work he’s put in is just fantastic.

“I really do appreciate it. He sounds like a very kind young man and I hope we can see him soon.”

Paddy will soon be starting sixth year at secondary school and, despite his complex needs, he hopes to follow a pathway which could lead to him working within the health service.

His mum added: “The responses he has gotten have meant the world to him - and now he thinks he might like to work for the NHS.”

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