Beyond the statistics: Prairie woman creates Facebook page to humanize COVID stories

Shannon Grant Tompkins says she wanted to find a way to put a face to COVID-19 statistics. So she created Beyond the Statistics: The Canadian Faces of Covid-19.

Shannon Grant Tompkins says father was one of 57 people in hospital this past Saturday

Brian Grant is in a Regina hospital. (Submitted by Shannon Grant Tompkins)

Shannon Grant Tompkins wants people to know her dad.

Brian Grant is a 68-year-old grandfather from Indian Head, east of Regina, who spent four decades working for Pioneer Grain. On Monday, he's on a ventilator fighting for his life in a Regina intensive care unit.

Tompkins lives in Calgary, but headed home to be close to her dad and stepmother, who also tested positive for COVID-19. Tompkins said she had two realizations on the road.

First, it was going to be hard to update her dad's five brothers, sister and network of friends on his evolving condition.

Second, he was one of 57 people in hospital this past weekend. Each of these 57 people has a family, friends and their own story.

"I had the idea that we need to go beyond the statistics. We need to show the Canadian people, not just my dad in Saskatchewan, but the people across this country that have survived that have are currently dealing with COVID or somebody who's even lost," she said.

"We need to put faces and names so people start to wake up and realize this isn't a hoax." 

WATCH: CBC Saskatchewan's Sam Maciag spoke with Shannon Grant Tompkins

Beyond the Statistics

CBC News Saskatchewan

2 months agoVideo
Shannon Grant Tompkins says she wanted to find a way to put a face to COVID-19 statistics. 5:11

Tompkins created a public Facebook page called Beyond the Statistics: The Canadian Faces of COVID-19. She did it with a specific intent.

"There is no politics on the group. We are just going to tell the story of the people who have survived the loss, or are going through COVID," she said.

Tompkins believes that sharing the stories, including how the person contracted it and how they're faring, will go a long way to correcting misinformation.

Her dad is retired from the grain business and she suspects that he picked the virus it from one of his coffee friends, "but we're not sure who patient zero is."

Shannon Grant Tompkins (right) stands on her wedding day with her father Brian Grant. (Submitted by Shannon Grant Tompkins)

Tompkins said that her dad is stubborn and likely downplayed his symptoms initially. She said he developed a harsh cough and at one point had to begin wearing a parka indoors.

When he finally went to hospital, he deteriorated dramatically.

"So from three o'clock in the afternoon to nine o'clock at night he went from going to the hospital to being in the ICU on a ventilator," she said.

She posted about her Dad on social media and got a broad response almost immediately.

"By the time I woke up the next morning, it was shared 100 times," she said.

"I can't recognize the names that are sharing."

Tompkins hopes the stories on the page help people realize it's their friends and neighbours getting COVID, and that they share a common experience.

What's yours? CBC Saskatchewan wants to hear how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted you. Share your story with our online questionnaire.

About the Author

Dan Zakreski is a reporter for CBC Saskatoon.


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