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Family takes Zoom calls to new level during pandemic

It started as a simple touch-base, but Flemings now have speakers and agendas and hundreds of members across two countries.

GOLDEN VALLEY, Minn. — As the pandemic drags on most of us are getting tired of Zoom meetings, but one family is taking the virtual calls to a whole new level. They’ve upped their game for the betterment of both their family, and the community.

The Flemings weren't going to let a worldwide pandemic stop them from connecting with each other. Even though they had met in person for 55 years... yep, 55... they decided to give technology a try.

"The zoom calls that were initially started as just a touch base. It led into how can we support each other?” says Myriam Roby.

Support, in the form of some 200 family members across 40 states and two countries checking in on each other weekly. 

“When we first got (to Zoom) on we couldn't mute each other, it was so chaotic,” says Brianna Nelson.

As things do, those calls evolved. The family started scheduling topics and agendas and speakers. With that many family members someone has expertise on just about any subject, from finances to health care.

“A couple of family members reached out to me and said we really need to try to tackle this COVID vaccine hesitancy with our family, and would you be the one to spearhead that conversation?" recalls Myriam.

Roby is a hospitalist and Certified Nurse Practitioner at Methodist Hospital. She jumped at the chance to inform her family about vaccinations, presenting facts and talking abut the vaccine, side effects and the dangers of getting COVID. Myriam then open things up for questions, talking with family members in private to help them make the most informed decision.

“And then it ended up we had about 50 members, and actually one of my 16-year-old cousins ended up getting vaccinated two three weeks ago, at about 51 members at this time," Roby says. 

Among those 51 family members was Myriam's cousin Brianna.

“'When Myriam had spoke of the vaccine, and that we as a family should be thinking about doing this in order to come back to our family reunions, and being able to travel and being around elderly people in our family, I was on board,” Brianna says.

Myriam Roby isn't surprised so many in her family were willing to step up, because even though they may be in 40 states and two countries, they're in life together.

“I wanted to make sure that my family knew that this was not a place of judgement even though I come as a medical professional to them, I'm speaking to them as a family member. And you know what, I'm willing to do for myself, my then 14-year-old daughter, husband, this is the same thing that I want for them."