TEMPE, AZ — She is a mother. She is a nurse. And she has agreed to put her own life on hold to help those people most critically ill with COVID-19 -- in a state that has been one of the hardest hit by the virus.
Two weeks ago, ABC15 told you the story of Marcie Gest, a wife and mother of three young children, who followed her faith and her calling to help work the front lines in New Jersey. She accepted a job to work at a hospital in New Jersey, a state that has seen more than 6,000 COVID-19-related deaths. She plans to be there for eight weeks.
Nearly 10 days into her new job, what has she seen? What has she experienced? She agreed to an interview with ABC15 from her hotel room while on a quick break.
In an interview, Gest described the situation in New Jersey as someone chaotic.
"Everyday there's new patients, lots of ICU critical care-type patients," she said.
One of her patients was a young mother who had been hospitalized for over three weeks. "It's very sad. To hear the FaceTime and to see these adult children saying 'mom, you're my everything you are my world. I am so sorry I can't be there to hold you like you held me when I was a little girl.' It is just, it's heartbreaking," she said.
While the reality of the situation can be stress, Gest said she is also taking time to celebrate the victories, however big or small, when it comes to the fight against COVID-19.
"Every time somebody gets discharged that had the coronavirus they play like this fight song and we all line up in the hallways and clap," she said.
It's also exactly where she needed to be right now, even though her family is nearly 2,000 miles across the country.
"I call my husband after every shift and talk to him about my day," she said. She is also making sure not to miss those precious life moments, even if she had to see them through a computer screen. Moments like her toddler taking her first steps or celebrating a birthday through a video call.
"God has bigger plans. I'm just here helping serve Him, and the whole being a hospice nurse and being here with all these people dying, I just feel is my purpose for being here," said Gest.
"It's so important for me to be here right now. I feel like everybody should have somebody with them when they die. Nobody should die alone," she said.