Uppers Raise Personal Protective Equipment Funds for Local Hospital

As the U.S. now leads the world in the number of confirmed cases of Covid-19, healthcare workers are feeling the strain of shortages in personal protective equipment (P.P.E.). To aid in the relief effort, students as part of the Sykes Medical Initiative (S.M.I.) are holding a fundraiser on to donate P.P.E. to Lawrence General Hospital (L.G.H.).

The group’s statement reads, “This initiative will benefit the dedicated healthcare professionals at L.G.H. We will use the funds to purchase masks, which L.G.H. lists on their website as a ‘top priority.’ On average, one surgical mask costs 0.50 dollars, so 2000 dollars would get us around 3400 masks (plus shipping costs). Providing L.G.H. with these masks will help alleviate the stress caused by scarce supplies and help ensure the safety of hospital staff and patients alike.”

Miraya Bhayani ’21 is one member of S.M.I., along with Sofia Cordover ’21, Zach Moynihan ’21, and David Zhu ’21. She explained how the group was created, along with its original plans for Spring Term.

“S.M.I. started in February when we started talking to Dr. Amy Patel, [Medical Director], about ways we can get involved in our community. The first thing that she mentioned was Lawrence General Hospital. Lawrence General Hospital takes high school volunteers in the pediatric emergency care zones, and she told us that we should volunteer there and we were invited to, but because of Covid-19 we weren’t able to. [The Rebecca M. Sykes Wellness Center] has been really supportive of helping us find opportunities in other ways,” said Bhayani

Bhayani shared how the group decided to fundraise for P.P.E. when volunteering onsite was no longer an option.

“We wondered how we can help L.G.H. in another way. Since David lives in China, he was able to purchase surgical masks and ship them to frontline healthcare workers in the U.S. On L.G.H.’s website they listed funds for masks as a high priority for them; our mission is to benefit those dedicated to their health profession at L.G.H. as they put themselves at risk taking care of patients with Covid-19,” said Bhayani.

Moynihan shared that the group was inspired to launch the initiative after watching Patel donate a supply of N95 masks to local hospitals with the help of a team from Sykes.

“After the pandemic started and we were no longer able to volunteer at L.G.H., we started brainstorming ways we could still help out. Just a couple weeks ago, we were inspired to see Dr. Patel, along with her team at Sykes, donate masks to local healthcare workers in need. While we don’t have a mask supply ourselves, we thought we could raise money to purchase some and donate them to L.G.H. Overall, this is an effort to take the burden off of medical staff when they need to be worrying about the health of their patients and families,” said Moynihan.

Both Bhayani and Moynihan encouraged people to help their communities in combatting the pandemic in whatever ways they can.

“Some of the best ways other people can help out, even if they’re not going to or in the position to donate, is to share the GoFundMe link with others because sharing is the next best step to donations. We encourage everyone to share the link with everyone they know so that we hopefully have people donate to this important cause. Also educating people with why mask wearing is important [which is why] we want to provide L.G.H. with these masks so that we eliminate the stress of a limited supply and ensure the safety of hospital workers and patients alike” said Bhayani.

For Bhayani, her interest in medicine couples with her wishes to support her community. As Co-President of the Students in Medicine club, she enjoys the work that she and her peers are able to accomplish with this initiative.

Bhayani said, “I’ve always been interested in medicine and healthcare initiatives… When David told me that he was going to renew this movement that the Seniors created last year, I was really excited to join, especially because it entailed volunteering with L.G.H. That’s what I really love to do, working at hospitals. I worked in a hospital last summer and I really enjoyed my experience there, and I wanted to continue that at Andover.”

Editor’s Note: Zach Moynihan is the Executive Editor of The Phillipian. David Zhu is a Photo Editor for The Phillipian.