Nurse Lori Marie Key first went viral for singing the classic hymn to patients and coworkers. Now, she’s offered the same to American families who have lost loved ones to COVID-19.
LIVONIA, Mich.—In April 2020, COVID-19 was feared nearly as much as it was misunderstood. Doctors and public health experts were at a loss. Neighbors, friends, and even families were suddenly distanced from one another. And before anyone could even dream of an effective vaccine, all Michiganders wanted was hope.
That’s exactly what St. Mary Mercy Hospital Nurse Lori Marie Key brought.
First, to her patients and colleagues in the hospital’s COVID ward where she worked. Then, to hundreds of thousands of Michiganders who saw the viral video of her singing “Amazing Grace” in a hospital lounge.
Then, Nurse Key inspired the nation.
“We could all use a little more prayer right now,” Key told CBS This Morning’s Robin Roberts after the Instagram post captured the country’s attention.
The soft spoken Michigan nurse’s powerhouse vocals returned to comfort Americans at the COVID memorial on the National Mall. She sang the same hymn after being introduced by Kamala Harris who would be inaugurated as the first woman US vice president in history—notably as also the first Black and South Asian person to serve in the position, too.
Since Key’s moving performance at the COVID memorial, more than 400 Michiganders have died of the virus.
But much like the hope Key’s voice brought to millions last April and again last week, local officials now report that more than 150,000 doses of the vaccine have been administered to Michiganders.
Nurse Natosha Stafford of Beaumont Health told The ‘Gander that she hopes to help instill vaccine confidence in other Black Michiganders.
“I feel like this is my chance to be an example to my community,” Stafford said of her personal reasons to get vaccinated.
Key is still reeling from her renewed fame after last week’s performance.
“It’s just an honor to be here in DC at this moment in history,” she said to CNN from the National Mall on Wednesday night.
“Singing by the reflection pool, just thinking back to [Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s ‘I Have a Dream’ speech, it’s humbling to see how far [Black Americans] have come.”
For more information on Michigan’s vaccination efforts, monitor The ‘Gander’s MI Vaccine Hub.