AZ Heart & Sol: Tucson nurse holds off on retirement to help others during COVID

Instead of retiring last summer, Sara Little buried herself in work when the pandemic hit in 2020
Published: Apr. 8, 2021 at 6:51 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - Every week, KOLD News 13, in partnership with Casino Del Sol, is showing appreciation to people in the community who are going above and beyond.

Sara Little is the infection prevention manager at the University of Arizona Campus Health and the nursing manager for the school’s vaccination POD.

Instead of retiring last summer, she buried herself in work when the pandemic hit in 2020. Prepping for a vaccine roll-out and gathering equipment for the eventual time, she couldn’t let her team face the pandemic without her. Her coworkers at campus health and the vaccination POD said Little is passionate and caring.

“She just cares about our protection and the safety of our staff and students,” said Ciera Lammers, who nominated her.

Little makes sure everyone has the equipment they need, the support they need, and that everything is running smoothly for the nearly 4,000 vaccine doses administered at the UArizona POD daily.  However, even being an infection prevention specialist, she wasn’t immune from the deadly virus she is now fighting to prevent. Contracting COVID-19 in December, she nearly went to the hospital several times.

“It felt like my lungs were filled with glass particles. It was something I wouldn’t wish on anyone,” said Little. “In addition to my own battle, I know people who have passed away from COVID, and that’s why it’s really important for us to vaccinate as many in our community as we can.”

She continued to push through her own struggles and losses to continue to save lives and prevent more suffering. When awarded her $300, she said she would likely pay it forward.

“I feel like I’ve been doing my part, but there’s always more to do, and I don’t feel that I’ve done anything special,” she said. “I’m a nurse, and that’s what nurses do. I think all the volunteers here are really the people who should be getting the kudos.”

She still plans to retire, eventually.

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