Jojo Sebastian is well known to the Filipino-Australian community as a talented singer and emcee. He has received awards and citations from the community organisations he has extended his help. The latest of such recognition was being selected as the Best Pageant Host/Emcee in the inaugural Australian Golden Sash Awards [AGSA]. Before he was conferred this award, Sebastian has emceed twelve pageants during 2018 and 2019. He has also performed as support act in several concerts and fundraising events from 2016.
In a totally different role, Jojo is the Nursing Unit Manager, Orthopedic in the Northern Beaches Hospital. He has been nominated by the hospital for 'Service Excellence in Healthscope" which covers forty four hospitals nationwide. Jojo completed the degree in Nursing with High Distinction in 2013 at the Australian Catholic University. He has come a long way since coming in 2010 to Australia to study Nursing. He undertook his New Graduate Program at Mona Vale Hospital during Aug 2013 – Dec 2015. Thereafter he moved to Prince of Wales Hospital where he stayed till mid September 2018, then to his present position.
Jojo is one of our Frontliners in our battle against COVID-19. The Australian Filipina is privileged to share his message to the community at this worrying time.
As I am writing this letter there were 937,130 confirmed corona cases and 47,267 deaths worldwide. In Australia, there were 5,137 confirmed corona virus cases and 25 deaths.
Five weeks ago, no one ever thought that Australia and the whole world would be in this crisis. This type of public health pandemic seemed only possible in movies and fictional stories. But at present, we are faced with this inconceivable epidemic that has claimed lives and has caused serious health issues, fear and worry amongst everybody. As a result, businesses closed, jobs lost, and the way of life has drastically changed.
On my way home from a long day's work, I observed a lot of alarming things. I noted the mother and daughter waiting at the bus stop, an elderly pushing her cart from grocery shopping, a group of 6 teenagers horse playing by the park, individuals closely exercising along the road and cars with passengers driving through all directions.
I saw a lot of people going about their day as if nothing is happening. I saw them standing right next to one another socialising, not adhering to restrictions. This is despite an anxious and concerned plea from the Prime Minister these past few days.
I do not get it!
As I almost reached home, I suddenly experienced chest pain and shortness of breath. No, not because of the COVID-19, but because of what I witnessed as I drove home. My heart aches. It is painful to see many not minding what’s happening in our community. I cannot understand how some individuals seemed insensitive and oblivious to the danger posed by the virus.
I take pride on going to work daily and assisting the other frontliners in this fight against an invisible enemy. However, what hurts is that it appears some think that is huge joke. By acting like this, I feel you do not respect what I do.
During this isolation you are given the chance to spend quality time with your family, and yet I have to isolate myself from mine to protect them. I am baffled and puzzled. I just want to cry. I am anxious and nervous. What would it take for you to take this seriously? A death of a loved one, a death of a child, a death of a partner, or a death of a parent? I really hope it does not get to that. I need you to be with us in this fight.
We (frontliners) cannot do this without you. Keep us strong! Keep us in your mind, heart, and prayers. Make us feel like you are with us in this fight; that we are all on this together.
Remember, I cannot stay home for you. Please stay home for us.
Nurse Jojo Sebastian