SAN DIEGO (KGTV) -- Frank Sturniolo, a registered nurse at Rady Children's Hospital, will tell you himself that gestures of gratitude -- big, small, and from people of all ages -- provide a boost of inspiration, especially in these challenging times.
"As we're working and giving care to the community and each other, our fuel tank gets empty, so this is the stuff that refuels it," said Sturniolo. "It really validates what we're doing."
He stood with other nurses outside the hospital this past Monday, awaiting a surprise from a former patient, 10-year-old Lilah Perry.
"I'm so grateful for all you guys that I wanted to make bracelets for you," Perry announced to the group.
She made dozens of bracelets for Rady Children's frontline workers to thank them for their service. The wristwear included letter charms that spelled the words "gratitude," "hope," "together," and "hero."
Other bracelets even had a message we've all probably thought about at least once this past year.
"One of them said 'COVID sucks,' that was first to go," said Perry.
Perry wanted to give back in a small way to those who protected so many in a big way, including her own family.
"When I heard my grandma and grandpa were getting vaccinated, I was so grateful for them [nurses], and that's why I wanted to make them," said Perry.
Perry is no stranger to the facility off the 805 freeway. A few years ago, she was a patient following an infection. She said the nurses help kids forget where they are.
"They made me feel special, and they brought stuff for me, and they made me feel really good," said Perry.
She's now hoping she can return their kind gesture that will leave a lasting impression.
"I really want them to realize people are grateful for them and to remind them of that," she said.