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Moderna Vaccine Chandelier on Display at Foothills Hospital

Moderna Vaccine Chandelier on Display at Foothills Hospital

Boulder County Public Health (BCPH) nurse, Laura Weiss, created a beautiful, one-of-a-kind piece of art using 271 empty glass Moderna vaccine vials, paying tribute to her fellow healthcare workers.

This incredible chandelier – titled “Light of Appreciation” - is now on display in the lobby at Foothills Hospital (4747 Arapahoe Avenue in Boulder) until Dec. 28, 2021. The unique item shines a positive light on all those who have received COVID-19 vaccines, the brave healthcare workers who have cared for ill patients for almost two years, and for the compassionate, caring nurses who are vital to a successful ongoing vaccine effort.

Chandelier of Moderna vaccine vials

“I created the chandelier as a means to recognize and show appreciation for my colleagues and all health care providers, who worked during the pandemic, and who continue to offer compassionate care during these challenging times,” says Weiss, a Boulder resident of 47 years and a nurse of 33 years.

Laura’s first step in coordinating the set-up of the chandelier was obtaining permission from her BCPH supervisors to use the empty Moderna vials.

“I drilled holes in both sides of the vials, cleaned them and strung them with (red) beads and crystals,” Weiss said. “These were attached to a chandelier base, which I purchased on Craiglist.”

The story of the chandelier then went viral and has now reached over 11 million people. Laura’s chandelier has been featured by countless media outlets, including CNN. The chandelier and Foothills Hospital are also included in a November issue of People Magazine. 

As Weiss was vaccinating the community with COVID shots and the bottles piled up, she thought they were too beautiful to be thrown away.

"It was healing for me thinking about what each vial represented— potentially saving people from a lonely death," Weiss says in People Magazine. "Making this piece felt so much better — like, wow, look at what we've done."

At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in early 2019, Weiss had been retired from nursing for two years. During her career, she worked in a variety of fields, including mental health, hospice, homecare, community health and as a nursing faculty member at Regis University. She re-entered the nursing profession in Feb. 2021 as a public health nurse administering vaccines with Boulder County Public Health.

In the summer of 2020, Weiss wanted to mark the 200,000 lives lost to COVID. She strung together 10,000 American flags and wrapped them around a kiosk on the Pearl Street Mall. Each flag represented 20 lives lost and this is how the idea for the chandelier took form.

“At the time, I wanted to recognize the lives lost. After working as a nurse vaccinator for a few months, I wanted to create something that would honor the lives saved and the healthcare workers who were involved,” Weiss says. “It was a way for me to shine a light on the hard work and compassion of nurses and the hope for a brighter future.”

With the attention from the chandelier, Laura is hoping to raise money for underprivileged, aspiring nursing students. She created the “Chandelier Nursing Education Fund” – to support nursing education for a brighter future.

To contribute or learn more, click here.

Donations received through the Chandelier Nursing Education Fund will benefit students who aspire to complete a bachelor of science (BSN) in nursing from the Loretto Heights School of Nursing at Regis University in Denver. Scholarship funds will support high school students who have limited financial resources and who wish to pursue a nursing education at Regis. All donations are tax-deductible.