Something to be grateful for in the worst of times


2020 has been a difficult year and the next few months are unlikely to get any easier as COVID-19 continues to surge in our area and throughout the country. It’s been a time when we aren’t just worried about ourselves, but also about the health of our loved ones. Not many individuals have a better perspective on this year than Fayette County Public Health Deputy Health Commissioner Leigh Cannon, who, along with her staff, has had the onerous task of coordinating the county’s response to COVID-19.

Even in this most difficult of years, Cannon has been resilient and is thankful for many things in life. The following are her words:

“My mother always told me that I cannot control what happens to me, but I can control how I react to it.

“When the pandemic started, I saw people lose their minds over the health and safety measures that were being suggested, implemented or in some cases mandated. To see the blatant hate and disrespect during this pandemic deeply saddens me. This is when I truly saw ‘reaction,’ and understood just what my mother was talking about. In 2020 we all learned just how fragile our world really is, and how spoiled we all really are as Americans instead of being thankful for our good fortune.

“Instead of focusing on all that I have lost this year, I am choosing to be thankful for all that I have in this life.

“First, I am thankful for the amazing staff and board at Fayette County Public Health. I am not just their boss; they are my family! I always knew what they were truly capable of, so it was no surprise that this year they went above and beyond the call of duty to stand beside me and protect our community. Along with the most incredible staff, I am truly thankful for our agency partners. Our county is so fortunate to have county partners work together the way we all work together. It makes life so much easier when we can all come together and be one team. We are being led by some amazing, caring, and dedicated people. I am so thankful to live in Fayette County.

“Secondly, I am thankful for the community. So many people have sent us cards, food, sweet treats and uplifting messages. We see and hear all of you! Your words of support and encouragement have carried us through some exceedingly difficult days.

“Lastly, my sweet family. Many of us public health employees are missing precious time at home with our families, myself included. Some days they do not know when I will get home, or if I will have to work all evening or what kind of mood I will be in. Yikes! I long for the days when I can just be ‘mom’ again. For now I soak up all the time I get with them any chance I can get. Their support is unconditional even when I am not the easiest to live with. Not only do I worry about the community members becoming ill, but I obsessively worry over my own family. We all have loved ones to protect from this nasty virus, including me!

“Sometimes I admit I can be sad, angry, discouraged, hopeless and so over it! Then I remember my bad reaction will not change the outcome of what we are facing. We can choose to fight it and let it affect our everyday life, or we can be grateful for what we do have and accept what is happening and deal with it like adults. Our reaction to a bad situation has the power to change the situation itself. While this Thanksgiving may not be what you hoped for, there is always something to be grateful for even in the worst of times.”

FCPH Deputy Health Commissioner Leigh Cannon Deputy Health Commissioner Leigh Cannon Courtesy photo

The Record-Herald

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