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How the pandemic turned a high school senior into an impassioned caregiver

Hannah Pearson had aims to become an EMT when COVID-19 put those goals on hold.

SAN ANTONIO — For high school seniors, the school year ended abruptly with the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, and many didn't have the opportunity to make final memories through prom or traditional graduation ceremonies. But one senior decided to turn lemons into lemonade by helping others. 

"The next thing we know, we had a second week of spring break and we were all very excited. We were like, 'Oh great, we get to have fun senior year,' and shortly after that it was like, 'The whole world overnight got shut down,'" said Hannah Pearson, who was just 24 credit hours away from becoming an EMT when the pandemic sent her world into a tailspin. 

"It was extremely frustrating, especially because I have such a passion for the medical field," she added. "But at the end of the day, it was for safety and I understand it."

That passion and a love for working in the kitchen turned into baking cookies for at least 25 patients for Right At Home, a home-care agency mainly for seniors in need. And that passion also gave her a new job as a caregiver. 

"I figured since it is still in the medical field, I could still interact with patients and still learn and work through the COVID and quarantine," Pearson said. 

But just over a week ago, Pearson's world was hit again when a family friend tested positive for the coronavirus and she was forced to quarantine. Sloane Wendell, who owns Right At Home, says that hasn't set Hannah back one bit. 

"That says a lot to the character that she is in general," Wendell said. "She calls and checks on our patient even when she's not working and in quarantine her self." 

Pearson says the second she's out of quarantine, she going right back to work. 

"They are such amazing people," she said. "They are alone, especially during quarantine when they don't get their family that can come and visit." 

Wendell added, "I think that says a lot about Hannah and the future she has in front of her and that she's going to make a difference in peoples lives."