UVA student shares hidden stories of Filipino nurses

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (CBS19 NEWS) -- A nursing student at UVA is shining a spotlight on the hidden stories with Filipino nurses in Central Virginia.

Ren Capucauo, the project director, said he was inspired to put together the exhibit by his mom, who is a Filipino nurse.

"I feel like all of their stories are a part of me. They're my story too," Capucao said. "With this project, I wanted to learn more about myself, my mom's past and the broader history of how this all came to be and my place in the world."

The exhibition Capucao is putting together includes a film, photo exhibit, and an interactive migration map to show how nurses migrated from the Philipines to Virginia.

"All the Filipino nurses attending this event will pin where they started at in the Philippines, or even in the United States, and show how they got to Virginia," Capucao said.

With help from his professors at the University of Virginia School of Nursing, Capucao met Daisy Denham and Estelita Davis.

Denham and Davis moved from the Philippines to the United States to pursue careers in nursing.

"I wanted to be a nurse since I was in the fifth grade," said Davis.

Their path led them to UVA Medical Center, where they worked to help the Charlottesville community.

"We took care of everything," Denham said. "All surgical patients from open-heart surgery, burn patients. We took care of everyone."

Through photos and memories, Davis and Denham shared their stories with Capucao for his exhibit.

Through this version of the "hidden nurses" project, Capucao hopes he can show the community how much of an impact Filipino nurses have made while following in his mother's footsteps.

"It's been my job for a long time to always give back, not just to patients, but also to the nursing profession and to my mother as her son," Capucao said.

The exhibition will be presented at the Philippine Cultural Center of Virginia in Virginia Beach on Aug. 10 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The event is free and open to the public.

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