Hayley Wickenheiser and Ryan Reynolds team up to get PPE to frontline healthcare workers in Toronto
Former Canadian hockey star and Olympic gold medalist Hayley Wickenheiser is doing her share to help out with the COVID-19 outbreak by seeking donations of personal protective equipment (PPE).
Wickenheiser, who is currently in medical school training to become a doctor, put out a call on Twitter this past weekend looking for donations of PPE, such as masks and gloves for frontline health care workers.
She says she will personally pick up items from people in Toronto with proper distancing and will offer a small return like signed jerseys or smiles.
1/2 After desperate pleas from my front line friends in Toronto, I have decided to put an ask out. These items are not for my use at all. I’m not seeking cash, rather these items: 1350 N95 (68 boxes)— Hayley Wickenheiser (@wick_22) April 5, 2020
13,500 surgical masks (135 boxes)
13,500 gloves (135 boxes)
1,350 chemo gowns
Maybe you’re a sick son of a bitch and want me to sign some Green Lantern shit. Well guess what? I’ll sign that too, you sick son of a bitch. I’ll even raise your children as if they were my own - which trust me, you do NOT want. Any help will be rewarded generously.— Ryan Reynolds (@VancityReynolds) April 6, 2020
On Monday, the pair of stars connected with the organization, Conquer COVID-19, so that they could work together to gather and distribute more medical supplies.
This is what a damn miracle looks like. Do you need #PPE? Do you have PPE to donate? Visit https://t.co/tKovcCGHhK and join the drive this Saturday from 9-5 in Toronto: XYZ Storage (459 Eastern Avenue) 🇨🇦🙌 @conquercovid19 @etalkCTV https://t.co/aQNFeNzl4L— Ryan Reynolds (@VancityReynolds) April 7, 2020
Conquer COVID-19 is a grassroots organization comprised of physicians, business leaders, entrepreneurs and volunteers aiming to ensure that frontline workers have access to essential supplies in treating patients and minimizing the spread of the virus.
Currently, they are focusing on allocating supplies to hospitals, nursing homes and especially doctor’s offices, who don’t have the same access to the wholesale of supplies.
“Somebody on our team saw [Hayley’s] tweet and responded to her and from that everything snowballed,” said Jodi Echakowitz, a representative from Conquer COVID-19.
“Ryan and Hayley are good friends, so through the awareness between both of them, it has really helped to just generate a huge number of inbound queries, both from those who are looking for PPE, as well as those who want to donate.”
Dr. Kashif Pirzada, a medical advisor with Conquer COVID-19, says they are trying to prevent medical centres from closing down due to a lack of equipment.
“Many hospitals are maybe one to two weeks away from running out,” Pirzada said. “At some places, they’re assigning workers one mask for the whole day. Hospitals can go through hundreds of N95 masks and tens of thousands of surgical masks in one day, so our goal is to continuously keep trying to find new supply.”
Darren Greenspoon, a camp director at Camp Green Acres in Markham, Ont., was one of the first to respond to Wickenheiser’s request on Twitter.
Hi Hayley. I’m the Camp Director at @campgreenacres in Markham, Ontario and I have 660 N95 masks to donate (33 boxes of 20). I opened the brown shipping boxes to make sure they are all in date!! They are all yours to distribute to the front line workers!!! pic.twitter.com/IMLP0wyhHf— Darren Greenspoon (@dgreensp) April 5, 2020
After finding out over the weekend that his camp had 660 extra N95 masks that they use for copper enameling, he wanted to figure out how he could donate them.
“On Sunday, I saw this tweet from Hayley Wickenheiser and I’m not much of a social media person, but I looked at my wife and said, ‘I'll respond to this tweet, I know she’ll get it to the right people.’ ” Greenspoon said.
Help @VancityReynolds, myself and @conquercovid19 get #ppe to front line workers. Go to https://t.co/ntuOSLLuXn for more details and stay tuned tomorrow for our drop site. ❤️🇨🇦👍🙏 pic.twitter.com/mDEvWlfxJO— Hayley Wickenheiser (@wick_22) April 7, 2020
Greenspoon met up with Wickenheiser in Burlington on Monday evening to deliver the supplies. Although he originally just wanted a photo with Wickenheiser, he, along with other donors, even got a chance to share a FaceTime video call with Reynolds.
“She FaceTimed [Reynolds] there and he introduced himself to all the people who made donations and he basically thanked them and said how incredible the Canadian spirit is.”
Thrilled to team up with @wick_22 to support healthcare workers! We will be hosting a PPE drive EVERY SATURDAY in Toronto from 9am-5pm at XYZ Storage (459 Eastern Ave). Visit https://t.co/oeQDg9TA68 if you need PPE or can donate PPE to our upcoming drive. #conquercovid19 pic.twitter.com/6eSXUopm3J— 🇨🇦Conquer COVID-19 🇨🇦 (@conquercovid19) April 6, 2020
The efforts to field medical supplies are already in full swing. With both Wickenheiser and Reynolds' help, Conquer COVID-19 will be hosting a PPE drive every Saturday in Toronto from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at XYZ Storage at 459 Eastern Avenue.
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