Many of us learned the true meaning of that word this year as a virus turned our world upside down.
Suddenly, we set aside our differences and came together to help our neighbors in a time of great need.
Sewing circles fired up their machines to make masks. Local manufacturers innovated to create items health care systems needed – sanitizer, face shields and more. People dug deep to donate what they could to help the cause.
Health care teams rallied to the call, holding people’s hands as they battled COVID-19, collecting and testing specimens, trying new treatments, and spreading the word about how to stay healthy and well.
Through it all, an outpouring of community support spurred these health care heroes, giving them energy when their reserves dwindled.
Then came hope as scientists made discoveries and the federal government authorized new treatments and vaccines.
It is little surprise many of the year’s top stories, chosen by our readers, are those that illustrate the best of humanity and medical innovation.
Your top 10 stories of 2020:
Santa visits the tiniest patients at the children’s hospital to spread holiday cheer.
Two women crafted 130 costumes so any parent who wanted to celebrate Halloween could choose an outfit for their little one.
Amway creates hand sanitizer for Spectrum Health—and donates it to help patients and health care workers.
Emergency department workers draw strength from teamwork, training and community support in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.
After transplant surgery, a woman plans to have her diseased organ plastinated so it can serve as a teaching specimen to help others.
After 10 days in the ICU fighting COVID-19, Don Force grew strong enough to leave—and that called for a special celebration.
Doctors said baby Luke Worley was 12 hours from death. Today, he’s a thriving, striving 6-year-old enjoying life.
In a unit dedicated to caring for COVID-19 patients, health care workers speak with compassion and pride about their roles.
Life on the front lines of the pandemic: altruism, dedication and expertise shine.
Racism takes a toll, physical and emotional, on Black health care professionals. Addressing it could have far-reaching benefits, improving the overall health of the community.
Wondering which stories rounded out the top 50? Here you go:
Zosia Wasylewski was “as healthy as they get” until a blood clot suddenly blocked an artery in her brain.
A tent extension of the emergency department is helping to screen those who have symptoms so medical workers are able to best serve the medical needs of the overall community.
Almost six months into the COVID-19 battle, Blodgett ICU team members continue the fight. Together.
Communities light up the night and warm hearts of health care workers.
Facing end-stage heart failure at age 19, Nick Jaenicke held on long enough to receive a donor heart—just like his brother and grandfather before him.
Cascade Township neighbors create a luminary walk to honor health care providers.
West Michigan companies work together to innovate and create protective gear for health care heroes during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Dad hopes little Kendra Rose reaches for the stars.
Meet the dream team that works at a drive-up specimen-collection site, helping patients learn if they have COVID-19.
New video technology lets families stay connected with their babies—anytime, anywhere.
Donations of masks, gowns, food and flowers pour in to help the health care workers on the front line.
The ICU team draws on support from each other and the community as they care for patients with COVID-19.
A long-standing preparedness plan allows Spectrum Health to use a Grand Valley State University building as an off-site medical space, should the need arise.
A teenager celebrates remission by smashing a replica of his tumor into a thousand tiny pieces.
To see Christopher Yates walk, run and jump, you’d never know he went through years of treatment for clubfoot.
Extensive surgery following a terrible crash has given nursing student Ryan Brown a unique perspective on the patient experience.
Nurses give and receive support in providing frontline care while sharing messages of hope and gratitude.
Five health care team members become the first to receive the COVID-19 vaccination at Spectrum Health.
Neighbors rally outside the hospital with signs to show gratitude for health care workers serving the community during the pandemic.
Navy reservist recounts his six-week medical support deployment in New York City during the toughest fight of his nursing career.
Bryar, a 2-year-old from northern Michigan, fights back after a bone marrow transplant to treat acute myeloid leukemia.
The Vanden Berg family found a way around COVID-19 restrictions to share their newborn son with his siblings—holding him up to a hospital window while his sisters waved and blew kisses from the lawn below.
The parents of a little girl born without an immune system have tips for families trying to stay safe and happy during the COVID-19 pandemic.
For their first three years, twins Ian and Isaac got all their nutrition from feeding tubes. Then they learned to eat.
After an extremely complicated pregnancy, Mallory Hoeve delivered a healthy baby girl. “We know how blessed we are,” she says.
Lexanne Sherrell lost her twin sister in utero. Soon thereafter, the 1-pound-5-ounce preemie forged her own path to graduate from the NICU.
Lonnie Martin, 48, loves cruises. But then a cruise left her feeling like she’s forever on the high seas.
Those seeking to learn whether they have already suffered through a COVID-19 infection are now able to find out.
A new portable intubation chamber may protect frontline health care workers during the pandemic.
Little Tinley never stops smiling—from adoption as a baby through months of leukemia treatments and, now, a happily ever after.
June and Glenn Troyer, a couple in their 80s, both fell ill with COVID-19. After spending 10 days apart, they reunited in physical therapy.
Through a window and whiteboard, patients share their love and insights with community and family members.
To put patients at ease, hospital team members have honed the perfect blend of helpful and friendly.
Getting tested for COVID-19? Thank the dedicated laboratory services team for getting the results for you.
After a 99% blockage and double bypass, James Cook turns his health around by cutting dairy, oil and meat from his diet.
With great determination—and with the gift of new lungs—John McKay begins a new life with his wife and family.
She thought she might have COVID-19. She soon learned she’d suffered a severe heart attack.
After childhood heart surgery, Brent Morton didn’t realize he needed follow-up treatment as an adult.
Work-at-home insurance coders join Spectrum Health’s fight against the virus, deploying to the front line to sanitize hospital touch points.
Kaitlyn Seykora baffled medical professionals all her life. Just last month, a geneticist provided a diagnosis—one so rare, not much is known about it.