TORONTO -- Suzanna Iannetta never imagined the toll COVID-19 would take on her family.

“We never expected this to happen to our mom,” the Toronto woman said while holding back tears.

Her 65-year-old mother is in an intensive care unit at Southlake Regional Health Centre in Newmarket, after testing positive for the disease last week.

She’s on a ventilator fighting for her life," Iannetta said.

“She’s in the ICU. We can’t see her. We just want to get her home.”

Iannetta and her brother say despite their family strictly following public health rules, their mother isn’t the only person who got sick — she’s one-of-nine family members who contracted COVID-19.

“My brother’s family, they’re in the Georgina area, my parents are in the Simcoe area, and the other family members are in Toronto,” she said.

Her father, who likely caught the virus at work, is at home recovering.

Now, the family says it is relying on frontline staff at Southlake for updates on their mom’s condition.

“We can’t be there and they’re helping our mom through this,” Iannetta said.

To show their gratitude to frontline staff , from nurses to paramedics, the family is pooling their money to buy gift cards for them. So far, they’ve collected about $2,500.


“Food cards, that way you know lunch is on us, coffee on us,” Iannetta said. “The frontline staff are so amazing and that’s the message that we want to get out.”

Her brother Tony hopes the gift cards will help frontline staff feel appreciated.

“We know ICU capacities are at their highest level, all we want to do is put smiles on peoples faces and raise morale.”

They plan on buying the gift cards this week.