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Indianapolis nurse urges public to support health care workers, get vaccinated

Kris Tragesser is raising money to feed health care workers at Ascension St. Vincent Hospital and encouraging the public to get vaccinated to end the pandemic.

INDIANAPOLIS — For many health care workers, the current resurgence of COVID-19 cases is déjà vu.

"Here we go again in a fight to save lives," said Ascension St. Vincent nurse Kris Tragesser. "We are repeating last year again. Only to me, it's even scarier because delta is much more contagious and we are seeing (it) in a lot younger people."

Younger people made up most of the line at a COVID testing site at the Ivy Tech Lawrence campus Tuesday morning. The line for the vaccine was much shorter, which told Tragesser the public needs to do its part to help end the pandemic.

"They personally can do their part ending this pandemic," Tragesser said. "And it is wearing a mask, it is getting vaccinated, it is supporting our health care workers."

Tragesser knew at an early age she would work in health care. While growing up, she committed to caring for her identical twin sister during her illness. Although donning a T-shirt with the words "committed," "courage" and "compassion," Tragesser knows those words have a deeper meaning.

Now, with the public's help, she hopes to show compassion to fellow frontline health care workers by buying them snacks with funds she raises. Many times, they have to eat quickly with little time to spare so they can get back to providing care to patients.  

"The funds are going to go to supporting them, but I want to do it in a way that is very personal from the community," — a community she prays will also line up to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

RELATED: Half of US kids ages 12 - 17 got at least one COVID shot

Tragesser is convinced the community doesn't have to suffer the same as last year when it comes to the illnesses and loss of life from the virus. She is also convinced it's going to take support from nurses like her and the entire community to help health care workers.

"When I started this project it was a calling from God to give the love to our hospital, to give the love to our employees. I have had my own battle with illness, so I have been the nurse and the patient," Tragresser said. "I just want to be a light in the darkness right now."

People who want to support the campaign can do so on a Facebook fundraising page.

RELATED: 'Nobody should go through this;' Delta variant hits young

Ivy Tech will host another testing and vaccine clinic Wednesday, Sept. 1, at the downtown campus from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. for students, employees, and the public.

There are no appointments needed for the clinics. People are required to show state-issued identification. Anyone eligible for the vaccine but under the age of 18 can get the shot with a parent or guardian's consent.

MORE: Indiana health leaders share grim picture of pandemic's impact on state

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