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‘A lot of the professors were happy they could donate and be helpful’
As COVID-19 sweeps across the country and people are urged to stay home, many are feeling helpless as they watch the impact it’s having on our health-care workers.
Ryerson’s Faculty of Science came together this week in support of the front-line health-care workers and donated around 73,000 gloves, 100 goggles and other medical supplies to Toronto hospitals to help fight the virus.
Chemistry professor Daniel Foucher came up with the idea and communicated it to chair program chair Andy McWilliams and other staff, who got in contact with local hospitals that responded right away.
“I have a niece and several other family members that are front-line workers and I couldn’t imagine them without the proper personal protective equipment to save lives and protect their own,” said Foucher.
Foucher volunteered his lab supplies since they were not being used and reached out to others to do the same.
Chemistry technologist Rob Denning said it required co-ordination between departments, as everyone is working from home and off-campus. Over the next two days, Denning and chemistry professor Rob Gossage, who had access to the labs, went in and collected the glove supply at Kerr Hall to put together the donation.
“The majority of what we donated was gloves and some safety gowns,” said Denning. “We originally sent the first large part of the pile to [St. Michael’s Hospital] and the Women’s College Hospital, but later a connection was made at Sunnybrook.”
Denning said different departments worked together to ensure all the stock went into the shipment. “Once the stockpile was made, there were arrangements with shipping and receiving to get it off to the different hospitals and [Ryerson’s environmental, health and safety department] was vital to making contact with the hospitals,” said Denning.
Ryerson president Mohamed Lachemi said he is very proud of the teamwork and generous spirit displayed by our community.
“The level of co-ordination to make this happen in such a timely way excels,” said Lachemi.
Foucher said everyone is feeling “very tense” and that people are trying to stay calm despite what is seen on the news. “There’s always something that you can do,” said Foucher. “This was a small thing and we all have to think of the ones we care about.”
Denning agreed, saying that “there was an overall sense of helplessness as this pandemic swept over us and a lot of the professors were happy they could donate and be helpful.”