Westmead Hospital anaesthetist Dr Kanan Shah and neonatal intensive care nurse Masieray Bangura received a much-welcome shock on Australia Day when their faces illuminated the sails of Sydney’s iconic Opera House.
The two were chosen as part of a tribute to frontline workers including firefighters and healthcare staff.
The Australia Day ‘Concert for the Country’ was broadcast live on ABC featured a host of famous Australian performers, with Kanan and Masieray’s photos appearing during Delta Goodrem’s rendition of I Am Australian.
Maiseray was stunned when her sister called to say she’d just seen her on TV.
“It feels amazing. I feel very emotional, it’s just unbelievable and super exciting,” she said.
“To see my face with those words, ‘I am, you are, we are Australian’ is beautiful and very significant. It was a precious moment for me, something I’ll never forget for the rest of my life.”
Masieray moved to Australian from Sierra Leone in 2004, and started working in the neonatal intensive care unit at Westmead Hospital four years ago.
She said she cares for every newborn as if they were her own, and was extremely grateful to be recognised for doing something she loves.
“All the frontline workers are in this together. It’s very meaningful.”
Kanan was out having dinner when she started receiving texts from friends who’d seen the coverage.
“It was a bit bizarre. There are hundreds of people who are more deserving than me. I wish every single frontline worker could’ve been up there,” she said.
“I am honoured and very privileged to represent anaesthetists and all hospital staff in this way. If there’s one positive from COVID-19, it’s the recognition of healthcare workers.
“I love what I do and it’s nice that other people have a better understanding now.”
Both the photos were taken by Western Sydney Local Health District Corporate Communications.