A beautiful moment gone viral on social media was captured on camera when an oncology nurse was captured singing along with her patient in the hospital.
Nurse at Sarah Cannon Cancer Institute, Alex Collazo, and longtime Nashville guitarist Penn Pennington came together for an acoustic duet of “O Holy Night” in the video filmed by Pennington’s daughter.
Pennington, 67, was diagnosed with low-grade follicular lymphoma in 2010, and after 6 chemotherapy treatments, it went into remission. But now he was told it had returned. “I’ve been told that it’s more life threatening, it’s more aggressive, fast-growing non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma,” Pennington said.
“The particular plan for treating this strain of lymphoma has been inpatient in the hospital, five days worth of chemo. Because it’s so aggressive, we’re having to hit it really hard.” Pennington was emotionally down when he was taken for treatment to the Cancer Institute, “To find out the cancer is back … it’s not something that anybody really wants to hear about themselves,” he said.
But after meeting his nurse, Alex Collazo, he is in better shape. “I wanted to do something for him to help him forget that he was in the hospital and just bring him some happiness,” Alex Collazo said.
“When she came into the room, she was just so bubbly and so positive about trying to make sure that I felt comfortable, that I felt reassured that they were going to be on top of this and that they were going to be here for me,” he explained. “And she asked me, ‘Tell me something fun about yourself.’ And then I said, ‘Well, I’ve skydived 1,252 times.'”
They soon realised that they both shared a common passion for music, Pennington, who played downtown bars and even the Grand Ole Opry, was gifted a guitar at the age of 9 by his father, and has been playing it since. Collazo too revealed that she loved to play the guitar, and this formed a beautiful bond between the two.
“We connected with our musical interest and I wanted to do something for him to help him forget that he was in the hospital and just bring him some happiness,” Collazo, 24, said “So I brought him my guitar and here we are now.”
After Collazo brought in her guitar, the pair first sang a cover of Elvis Presley’s “Can’t Help Falling In Love With You.” But it was their duet of the holiday classic “O Holy Night” that was captured on camera by Pennington’s daughter, Brandi Mykle Leath, that ended up going viral after she posted it on Facebook.
Watch: Nurse and patient perform a Christmas duet
“I’ve made it a point in my career to bring happiness and laughter to my patients because they’re going through such a dark time in their lives,” Collazo explained. “They’re having a rough go and I really wanted to make a point for all my patients to help them forget that they’re in the hospital and what they’re going through for a few minutes, whether it’s joking around with them or telling them crazy childhood stories or I guess, now, playing music.”
The video has got more than 225,000 views, more than 4,000 shares and over 500 comments.
“Absolutely beautiful voice. This nurse is amazing. Prayers for you and all those taking Chemo treatments,” wrote one person.
Another commented, “Wow. Her voice made me tear up. Absolutely beautiful show of compassion on so many levels.”
Collazo says, “there’s so much negativity in the world,” and their story brings so much positivity in the world. “You watch the news and you go on the internet and all you see is just all these bad things happening, whether it’s shootings or accidents, people dying,” she added. “We as humans like to hold onto the little bits of positivity and those moments that show true human compassion to let people know that there’s still goodness in the world, you know, and that we’re not all doomed.”
“I think if it helps touch somebody’s heart and makes them feel warm, I’m all about it,” Pennington said of his viral moment. “I think it’s wonderful, if they can share it and maybe spread the love, maybe the world would be a little better place.”