Kneading a helping hand

Stacey Tarkowski behind the mask

Stacey gets emotional when she thinks about what life has been like over the past year. Living through the pandemic has given her a newfound appreciation for her family, friends, health and career. It reminds her not to take anything for granted and help others whenever possible.

Stacey is a registered massage therapist who runs her own practice at the Hands and Health Wellness Centre in the Oakridge area. One of the toughest things she remembers having to do in mid-March was call up all of her clients one-by-one to cancel their appointments. She recalls how hard it was to hear the disappointment in some of their voices. 

“Many of my clients live with chronic pain and degenerative diseases and they depend on me for monthly and bi-weekly treatments to improve their quality of life. I could sense their fear and anxiety when I told them I couldn’t see them for a while – it was extremely difficult.”

Stacey was caught off guard by the government-mandated shutdown back in March. While she was aware of growing concerns and case numbers of COVID-19, her life seemed to change in an instant. “The government was shutting down everything in the blink of an eye. I was just taking everything day-by-day because I didn’t know what I was going to do in the long run.” 

Most of all, she was heartbroken for her clients, many of whom she considers good friends. She was especially concerned about clients living on fixed incomes and those with severe disabilities. “I was running errands for one of my clients because I knew how much she needed me. I was just trying to help in whatever way I could because my clients were doing the same for me.”

Stacey was able to open back up a few months after the lockdown started. Her appointments look different now with the amount of PPE she wears and it’s taken her months to establish a new routine. But she finally feels like she’s back in the groove. Though she may have lost her care free approach to running her business, she’s gained a new perspective about what really matters. For that, she’s extremely grateful.

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