The COVID-19 pandemic has been hard on all of us. Parties have been cancelled. Small businesses are struggling. Families are finding it hard to stay positive despite the trying times. Despite all of this, however, we still love to make people smile, and what better way for us to bring smiles to people than breaking out the balloons?

In April, we signed up for One Million Bubbles for Hope, an initiative by balloon designers around the world to “help people find their smiles and joy” even in these uncertain times. The challenge was for balloon designers to put up their creations, either at home or in safe public places, as a way of putting out joy and happiness to the world. Some of these balloon artists have put up installations with messages like “Be Kind” and “Stay at Home,” but we wanted to make a bigger impact on our community and bring our message of hope to places and people that could use more happiness. 

That’s when we decided to bring smiles to our current hometown heroes: the medical front-liners at the UPMC Memorial Hospital. 

On April 11, my husband and I loaded up my SUV with 130 balloons that we planned to put up at the entrance of the hospital to honor our front-liners. Our balloon installation included gold letters that spelled the word “HEROES” for our front-liners. We made sure that those balloons can be seen from the street, so we brought metal stakes and sticky tape with us to keep the letters and balloons perfectly placed. The rest of the balloons were assembled as colorful sculptures to complement the letters. We even added a smiling sun balloon on one of the sculptures for added joy! 

The whole sculpture took me and Mark two and a half hours to complete on the spot, even with members of the media (from Fox43 and the York Daily Register) joining us to cover our efforts. We are proud to honor our heroes in the front lines, and we hope that our balloons have made them smile!

For more information about One Million Bubbles of Hope, visit their website at onemillionbubbles.org