Not all heroes wear capes—some wear PPE and fight on the frontlines against COVID-19.

One of those heroes is Rachael Faustino, an advanced nurse practitioner who, at 28 years of age, relocated hundreds of miles from Blackpool to London in order to help those at the forefront of the outbreak in the capital. As a reward for her valiant efforts, she was chosen as one of 20 winners of an initiative spearheaded by the Barbados Tourist Board to receive a free seven-night stay on the beautiful island.

Faustino's willingness to put herself in harm's way, knowing that many doctors, nurses, and other healthcare workers were catching the virus and dying from it, did not go unnoticed. She was nominated for the initiative and chosen by a panel of judges, including legendary DJ Carl Cox, who was born in Barbados but grew up in London.

While working at Blackpool's Urgent Treatment Centre in April, Faustino took notice that though the number of COVID-19 cases was on the rise, the number of patients she was seeing in her unit was actually on the decline. However, the outlook in London was steadily getting worse by the day, so she felt compelled to put her intensive care skills to good use. "I decided to do it because I felt I could utilise my skills better by going to where the greatest demand was," she said. "I used to work in the major trauma centre of the A&E of St Mary's Hospital in London so I thought I could go down there again and make a difference."

Faustino left her friends and family to join the NHS Nightingale team as a critical care nurse, not only helping patients, but also serving as an educator for the nurses who have never worked in critical care before. 

"It was very busy and very hectic at the Nightingale and I had done nothing like it before, but what was good about it was the way all the different skills of the team came together," Faustino said. "We had eye specialists there, dentists, all kinds of different health professionals working really well as a team."