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Respiratory therapist Alyx, standing next to a machine

From figure skating to the frontlines

February 4th, 2022
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Alyx Lyutin hung up her figure skates and joined St. Paul’s Hospital as respiratory therapist, right at the start of the pandemic. She credits her time with Disney on Ice with opening the door to her current role – particularly her experiences visiting children’s hospitals dressed as a Disney princess to meet the young patients.

This is her journey, in her own words.

The year was 2020. Major change was taking place around the world, and personally in my career. My name is Alyx, and I began working as a Respiratory Therapist (RT) at St. Paul’s Hospital right at the time COVID-19 was declared a pandemic.

I had some experience as a student RT at other hospitals before joining the Providence team, but I consider myself very lucky to have arrived at St. Paul’s Hospital when I did. I work with an amazing team of professionals and mentors who give me the support I need to care for patients across the hospital. They’ve also helped me develop my skills over two incredibly challenging years.

Disney on Ice

But I wasn’t always an RT. Before I became a caregiver, I spent five years travelling the world and skating with Disney on Ice. One of the things I loved most was visiting children in hospitals dressed as a Disney princess. The kids loved meeting me and I loved meeting them! Growing up, I suffered from severe childhood asthma, so I found it especially meaningful to connect with children who were going through difficult treatments and share with them some joy.

These encounters with children as a Disney princess, a lifelong love for science, and my experience with childhood asthma all helped me pursue a career in health care, and Respiratory Therapy seemed like a good fit. And what a journey it has been! The past two years have been so rewarding, working with colleagues from across St. Paul’s Hospital to provide compassionate, human care to our patients.

Going above and beyond

Throughout this pandemic, my team and I have felt the impact of the demanding workload on health care workers. But because of the consistent quality of care we provide our patients, no one would suspect it. All the caregivers and staff go above and beyond their job duties. We sit with patients when no family visits are allowed. We are there by our patients’ sides when they say their final goodbyes to their families. No matter how busy we are and how stretched our time is, we never forget the human factor that is such a crucial part of health care.

The dedication and caring of all our health care teams is truly inspiring. I am so proud to work here.

In my two years at St. Paul’s Hospital, I have seen so many happy outcomes. It gives me such joy when I see patients and families leave the hospital healthy and hopeful.

One of my fondest memories was when I was the RT for a teenage heart transplant patient last year. Seeing his successful recovery after the surgery and being able to send him and his family home made me so grateful for the opportunity to play a meaningful role in his care.

I have also seen a great deal of loss and sadness. The unpredictability of outcomes can be difficult to deal with. But regardless of their condition, whenever a patient’s health improves and they are able to speak again, their first words are always “thank you.”

We could not do the amazing work we do without the support of donors like you. I thank you for your past support with all my heart and I ask you once again to find it in yours to give what you can today so we can continue to offer extraordinary health care in an extraordinary time.

Sincerely,

Alyx Lyutin

Respiratory Therapist

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