HOUSTON — A frontline COVID-19 nurse, wife and mother of 5 just got the surprise of a lifetime: $50,000 to pay off her student loans.
It all happened when Ellen DeGeneres invited Jamelmenique Hoy and her family to be on "Ellen."
Hoy, her husband Michael and their five boys – all under 7 years old – arrived in Houston in July. They all came so she could work at Houston Methodist’s Highly Infectious Disease Unit in Katy.
“I love on my patients since their families can’t be there to love on them," said Hoy, 27. “That just makes me wanna come home and love on my kids even more.”
That home has been a one-bedroom hotel room for half a year. So Ellen invited the family onto her show, in part to surprise them with a shout out from Houston rapper Megan Thee Stallion.
Hoy is a huge fan of her music and more. Megan said she is studying to get a degree in health care and wants to open her own assisted living center one day.
But the visit was done yet. Shutterfly delivered a huge surprise to the Hoys' hotel room.
Ellen announced, “They want to give you $50,000.”
The family was thrilled. That money will pay off nearly all of Hoy’s student loans.
“I have a lot of student loans from receiving my bachelor's degree as well as current my master’s degree," Hoy said.
She credits her family for encouraging her studies, saying, “Your education will take you places money can't. My husband is my number one cheerleader.”
Hoy lost her father 4 years ago, after he was hospitalized. That inspired her to become a nurse.
“When I became a nurse, I promised whenever patients don’t have their family members there, they can trust me," Hoy said.
It’s a vow she has kept again and again during these COVID times, especially when making the most difficult of calls to patients' families.
“Did you want to look at them through a video call and say your last goodbye?” Hoy would ask them.
But Hoy would change nothing, saying, “I’m forever thankful.”