Front-line heroes: Meet the people fighting COVID-19 in the GTA

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, CBC Toronto wants to honour as many front-line staff as possible, from nurses to janitorial staff to hospitality workers donating food to those in need.

CBC Toronto is recognizing the people on the front line of the COVID-19 pandemic

Front-line Heroes is a CBC Toronto series giving a shout out to workers on the front line of the COVID-19 pandemic across the GTA. (CBC News)

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, CBC Toronto wants to honour as many front-line staff as possible, from postal workers to janitorial staff to hospitality workers donating food to those in need.

We're introducing a new face each day on our Twitter, Facebook and Instagram pages in a series called 'Front-line Heroes,' with each person contributing to the fight in their own, meaningful way.

This week, health-care workers took front and centre, offering smiles, passion and hard work to help patients and families get through tough, sometimes scary, days. Their stories are below, as told by their friends and colleagues.

We want to hear your stories, too.

If you'd like to tell us about your "Front-line Hero," write to us explaining why they're a hero to you, or send a video to Be sure to include a few photos of the person. 

Dr. Jeya Nadarajah

Dr. Jeya Nadarajah is a specialist in infectious diseases. (Submitted by Dr. Jane Philpott)

Occupation: Medical director of the infection control program at Markham Stouffville Hospital

Submitted by: Dr. Jane Philpott, colleague (and former federal minister of health)

"[Jeya] has the huge responsibility of ensuring that everyone is protected and safe during this pandemic. When she gives direction, Jeya is clear, knowledgeable and kind. Her steady, reassuring demeanour helps everyone else remain calm, even with the stress of working in a hospital these days.

Despite the pressures, Jeya goes about her work with a huge, beautiful smile, lighting up these dark times. Most impressive of all is that she does all this while being a great mom for her four children under 10 years old!"

Lyndsay Chapman

Lyndsay Chapman is part of SickKids' new screening team, which attempts to identify potential cases of COVID-19 before they can enter the hospital. (Submitted by SickKids)

Occupation: Shift charge on the screening team at The Hospital for Sick Children

Submitted by: Lindsay Clarke and Connie Cameron, colleagues

"Like many hospitals, SickKids has implemented visitor screening, which is a new change for everyone. Lyndsay has been absolutely critical to our screening operation. She's been running off her feet for long days, every day, solving complex problems, ensuring staff are protected and patients and families feel safe and supported. She does all of this with patience, optimism and a smile."

WATCH: SickKids staff tell Chapman they consider her a Front-line Hero.

Front-line Heroes: Lyndsay Chapman

CBC News Toronto

11 months ago
SickKids screening leads, Lindsay Clarke (the first woman to speak) and Connie Cameron, tell Lyndsay Chapman why she's their Front-line Hero. 1:07

Kelly Viron

Kelly Viron is an operating room nurse in Hamilton. (Submitted by Kimberly Schmalz)

Occupation: Scrub nurse at Hamilton General Hospital

Submitted by: Kimberly Schmalz, friend

"Over the past couple of weeks Kelly has gone into work with the same passion she always has, if not more, not letting fear of this pandemic impact her role. She goes to the hospital each day not knowing what will get thrown at her, and faces the reality of this virus head on. 

When she's not working she is an advocate to everyone in her life. Whether it's through group messages or individual calls, she is keeping us all informed & safe regarding self isolation and social distancing."

Dr. Arnav Agarwal

Dr. Arnav Agarwal is an internal medicine resident physician, a researcher looking at how to better clinical practices around COVID-19 and an advocate for the uninsured. (Submitted by Sameer Kushwaha)

Occupation: Internal medicine resident physician with the University of Toronto Department of Medicine

Submitted by: Sameer Kushwaha, colleague

"Having worked with him at the bedside across clinical rotations over several years, his commitment to understanding his patients and doing everything he can to support them and their families is remarkable. In the COVID-19 era, it is this commitment to doing what we can for our patients that keeps us human and connects us as a community — and Arnav does this every day. Off the wards, Arnav has been immersed in over 10 years of outstanding clinical epidemiology research despite being only 27 years old. 

Stepping forward to understand the health of his patients beyond the wards, Arnav has been a strong advocate for health care for the uninsured for years with grassroots organizations such as OHIP For All. In a pandemic that affects our community as a whole, we need to come together as a community to respond." 


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