Donors step forward to protect our frontline health heroes

The COVID-19 pandemic is unlike anything humankind has witnessed since the Spanish Flu swept around the world in 1918. While much of the public has been asked to do our part and stay at home to slow and prevent infection, healthcare workers must put themselves at risk daily, particularly those in emergency departments and intensive care units.

Many of Toronto General and Toronto Western hospitals’ frontline staff worry about the risks associated with returning home to families following a long and tiring shift of caring for patients with COVID-19. They fear putting their loved ones’ lives in danger as many also care for older family members or those who are immunocompromised.

In addition, during the COVID-19 pandemic, University Health Network (UHN) has asked that frontline staff avoid taking public transit, which, for most, leaves driving and parking at UHN’s parking lots as the only option to get to and from work.

To address this challenge, Toronto General & Western Hospital Foundation (TGWHF) will provide the hospital with $450,000 per month to support frontline health workers at UHN in the form of free hotel rooms ($250,000) and free parking ($200,000). The Rest Safe Program was conceived and made possible, in part, by a matching fund created by a consortium of local business leaders to help subsidize these costs for UHN frontline staff. This group of generous donors will match every donation, up to $700,000, made to the program.

“The Rest Safe Program will provide welcome relief for UHN’s courageous frontline teams,” says Dr. Kevin Smith, President & CEO, UHN. “It’s incredible and humbling to have donors step forward to protect the health and well-being of TeamUHN and contribute to keeping them and their loved ones safe.”

The next couple of weeks and months are crucial as cases of COVID-19 inevitably surge. Not properly protecting frontline workers could threaten the entire healthcare system.

“We are all in this together,” says Tennys Hanson, CEO, TGWHF. “Philanthropy can ensure UHN’s healthcare heroes have access to the resources they need at this critical time.”

For anyone looking for a way to help during this uncertain time, please consider making a donation to the UHN emergency COVID-19 fund.

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