As the world rallies together to stop the spread of COVID-19, Sounders FC is highlighting members of the community who have gone above and beyond to make a positive impact. These folks are fighting on the frontlines, putting in heroic efforts to ensure that we can all come through this crisis stronger together.
Judy Ferraz would never call herself a hero.
A member of the oncology team at CHI Franciscan’s St. Joseph Medical Center in Tacoma for the past 25 years, Ferraz has spent the last decade as a nurse care manager, working with cancer patients to arrange their care plans for after they leave the hospital. Depending on the patient, that could include finding a suitable nursing home, teaching families how to administer medication or any combination of critical details to ensure their continued health.
According to her daughter Mariah, an immigration lawyer in Tacoma, Ferraz’s favorite aspect of the job is establishing lasting, meaningful connections with each of her patients.
“She always makes an effort to treat people as individuals,” Mariah said of her mom. “If somebody doesn’t speak English, she tries to learn a couple of phrases in the language that they speak.”
Ferraz smiles in her lab coat (left) and poses for a photo along the water sporting her Sounders scarf (right) | Photos courtesy of Mariah Ferraz
In the new normal of COVID-19, some of Ferraz’s favorite aspects of the job – being there for her patients and providing emotional support as they undergo physically grueling treatments – have been complicated by the virus.
“One thing she’s mentioned is it’s been hard for her during this pandemic is that she can’t touch her patients – no pats on the shoulder or holding hands,” said Mariah. “That’s very hard thing for her to deal with.”
A humble, altruistic person by nature, Ferraz views the doctors and nurses providing direct treatment to COVID-19 patients as the real heroes.
For the past couple of months, Ferraz has brought in donuts from Connie’s Donuts, a local confection shop in Tacoma, once per week for all of her fellow nurses. In her spare time, she’s prepared home-cooked meals and desserts for all the attending physicians. Ferraz’s most recent production included a spicy chicken curry soup and an individual cheesecake for each of the doctors.
“It doesn’t surprise me that it’s something she would do,” said Mariah. “Maybe it’s because she can’t do as much direct caring for patients that she’s doing some of that for her coworkers. She always has been somebody that really cares for the people around her.”
Judy and her husband, Frank, have been diehard Sounders fans for years. According to Mariah, both of her parents were overjoyed at the 2019 MLS Cup when the Sounders won the championship. After the 2018 playoff tilt with Portland, her mom couldn’t speak for a couple of days, as she’d lost her voice cheering on the Rave Green.
When Mariah saw that the Sounders had partnered with CHI Franciscan to spotlight the work of people making a positive impact in the community, putting her mom’s name forward was a no-brainer.
Ferraz and her husband, Frank, take in a Sounders match at CenturyLink Field | Photo courtesy of Mariah Ferraz
“It’s easy to nominate somebody as a hero when they’re somebody you look up to,” she said. “For me, this is a person that maybe doesn’t see herself as a standout or a hero, but I definitely do. It was an opportunity for me to say that.”
Ferraz’s favorite players are Stefan Frei, Nicolás Lodeiro and Gustav Svensson because they always leave everything on the pitch, pushing their bodies to the limits to help their teammates achieve their objective. She might not see it in herself, but her daughter – and everyone at Sounders FC – would like to applaud her for applying that same selfless work ethic as a nurse care manager.