Ally Fazio is on the front lines of the battle against the coronavirus pandemic.
Prior to the historic COVID-19 outbreak, the former Andover High three-time basketball state champion and lacrosse MVP was working as an oncology nurse.
When coronavirus hit, Fazio stepped up to battle the crisis.
“I’m now picking up shifts at Boston Hope (the new medical center at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center for coronavirus patients) caring for patients recovering from COVID,” said Fazio. “I’m definitely working a lot more, but I’m happy to be helping in some small way.”
Fazio, a 2012 Andover High graduate, said her life as a nurse has changed dramatically due to the coronavirus.
“It’s definitely been a whirlwind,” said Fazio. “We are constantly adjusting and on our toes. There are a lot of emotions that come with working in healthcare right now, but ultimately the job of helping others doesn’t change.
“It is hard to say I’m not at all worried for my health. But I do feel safe while working. It’s a lot of hand washing and wiping down surfaces. We are provided with personal protective equipment (N95 masks, shields, gowns, and gloves). I’m constantly trying to stay aware/cautious of my surroundings and actions.”
FAZIO THE ATHLETE
Fazio — the daughter of 31-year Andover boys basketball coach Dave Fazio — made a major mark in two sports at Andover High.
A 5-foot-3 guard, Fazio helped lead the Golden Warrior girls basketball team to three straight Division 1 state championships (2010-12), teaming with the likes of legendary Nicole Boudreau. As a senior, Fazio averaged 9.2 points a game.
Fazio was an even bigger star in lacrosse, earning All-Scholastic honors as a senior after scoring 66 goals and leading Andover to the Division 1 North Final.
“There were so many great memories at Andover!” said Fazio. “The team and experience are memories we will never forget.”
Fazio then moved on to become a lacrosse standout at the University of Connecticut, where she was named an All-American and scored 57 career goals as a midfielder, and was a captain as a senior.
BECOMING A NURSE
Fazio began to pursue a career in nursing at the end of her time at UConn.
“I was a psychology major in college,” she said. “When I graduated and thought about what was next, nursing seemed like the perfect profession for me. It allows me to help people by creating connections. I’ve watched loved ones go through some difficult diagnoses, and always recognized the impact nursing has during those times.”
This spring, Fazio, who now lives in Charlestown, finished her final class towards her Master’s degree in nursing — she plans to become a nurse practitioner — while working at MelroseWakefield Radiation Oncology.
“My day-to-day duties were managing patients during their cancer diagnosis and triaging sick calls,” she said.
When the COVID-19 outbreak began, Fazio joined the fight.
“We see a lot in the healthcare profession,” she said.” But this was unlike anything that had come before. The spread of this virus was fast, and that was something that stood out to me.”
Fazio believes that her experiences as an athlete have been immensely valuable.
“I always say that athletics and being part of a team prepared me for every obstacle that has come into my life, especially during this pandemic,” she said. “We all have to be very flexible and comfortable working in a team. We are learning and adjusting day to day as this progresses.
“I’m working every day with other nurses, physicians, medical assistants, physical therapists and occupational therapists. It may be a different team than my high school and college days, but still a strong team!” Fazio also does her best to make sure her family isn’t too concerned.
“I’m sure they are a bit more worried than they lead on, but I think we are all worried,” she said. “It is absolutely a scary and uncertain time.
But, I think they understand this is the profession I chose and that I absolutely love it. My family is for sure the ones keeping me going during this time.”
Former Andover High star Ally Fazio was thrilled to see the Andover girls basketball team crowned Division 1 co-state champions this winter.
Fazio was a member of the Golden Warriors’ last girls basketball state champs, winning three straight from 2010-12.
“Seeing Andover do so well brought back some great memories,” she said. “(Basketball teammates) Nicole (Boudreau), Devon (Caveney), Natalie (Gomez-Martinez), the Alois sisters (Jackie and Rebecca) and I all stay in close contact and reminisce on those days.”