By Clayton Warren, a Vitals contributor
When Intensive Care Unit nurse Shelby Delaney shared a photo of herself one year ago wearing Stephen Curry’s Golden State Warriors jersey under her scrubs, she had no idea that she would become an inspiration to so many of her fellow co-workers as they cared for patients during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I was getting ready for work one morning and I found myself feeling powerless,” Delaney wrote on Facebook. “It was in that moment that I knew I needed to summon my inner warrior so I threw on my Stephen Curry jersey under my scrubs and started brainstorming how I could be part of the solution.”
About a week later, after learning Delaney was wearing his No. 30 jersey, Stephen Curry surprised her and her ICU nursing colleagues at Sutter’s Alta Bates Summit Medical Center with a FaceTime call that was a big morale boost for the hospital team.
One year later: connecting in real life
Recently, Delaney’s husband Robert Crowley texted her with fantastic news: the couple had been given courtside seats at the Chase Center for the Warriors vs. Sacramento Kings game.
Delaney wore her Curry jersey, and she and Robert sat courtside cheering on the Warriors and Curry –who scored 37 points in a win. But it’s what happened after the game that was the most exciting moment for Delaney.
Curry met Delaney on the sidelines and personally reconnected with her. Before he headed back to the locker room, Curry took off his uniform, signed it and gave it to this extra-special nurse.
“Steph Curry is an incredible and unique human being,” Delaney said. “He is so humble. He can relate to other people and put himself in their shoes. One of the greatest nights of my life hands down.”
Delaney said her conversation with Curry centered on continuing to keep inspiring people and sharing the love with everyone with whom they come into contact.
“I’d always dreamed of talking to him, mostly to thank him, because he really has made such an impact on my life and how I carry myself,” said Delaney. “It kind of helped me, the whole ‘I can do all things,’ but also the way he believes that and the way he lives his life is through that, with joy and love. So he really inspired me.”
Delaney says her FaceTime call with the two-time MVP a year ago as the pandemic intensified, “Really uplifted a lot of folks, like all the other nurses, the other staff members, everyone got a lot of joy out of that.”
Delaney believes she is a better nurse having gone through the pandemic, supporting her patients with love and care when they have nobody else.
“It’s an intense job, but I do love it a lot,” Delaney says. “Doing it with love, I think I’ve become a better nurse over the past year.”
Delaney plans to frame her signed jersey and hang the special memento in her home with pride.