Compassion for Caregivers donations are making difference

Local high school student and family are supporting the Baptist Health Foundation

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After spending hours watching YouTube videos to learn patterns, the Cheng family has produced nearly 100 masks for doctors, nurses, patients and patients’ family members at Baptist Health.

In late March, the Baptist Health Foundation created Compassion for Caregivers to offer support to Baptist Health team members as they provide excellent care throughout the COVID-19 crisis. Support for the Foundation can come in the form of cash donations, as well as donations of Personal Protective Equipment and food for care teams.

Audrey Cheng, a sophomore at The Bolles School, heard about Compassion for Caregivers from her mom after watching the local news. She knew immediately she wanted to make a difference in the community as COVID-19 began impacting Northeast Florida. In the evenings after Cheng and her sister Ava, a 7th grader at Bolles, were finished with schoolwork, and their parents were done with work, they would begin making masks based on CDC guidelines. Normally, time after school would be filled with lacrosse practice, reading, or hanging out with friends, but instead, Audrey and her family have embraced this opportunity to help, even though they had no experience making face masks prior to COVID-19.

“I knew I wanted to make a difference,” Audrey said. “I wanted to help our health care workers during COVID-19. When my mom saw the news article about donations, we immediately started making the masks. I like knowing what my family is doing during this time is making a difference, while our health care workers are risking a lot to help our community.”

Pediatric neurosurgeon Dr. Philipp Aldana, co-medical director of the Stys Neuroscience Institute at Wolfson Children’s Hospital and associate professor at the UF College of Medicine – Jacksonville, was similarly drawn to the Compassion for Caregivers project. He and his wife, Carminat, were among the first to assist and coordinate donations for Baptist Health. Even though they are neighbors, the Aldanas and the Chengs initially didn’t know they were working on the same project. Once they realized, the families quickly got in touch with each other.

“Donations from our community members, like Audrey, have been tremendously helpful for our team members,” Dr. Aldana said. “We’re now requiring face coverings and masks at all Baptist Health facilities for team members, patients and visitors, so the donated masks help ensure we are meeting CDC guidelines, while also preserving our surgical and N95 masks for clinical care.

“The Baptist Health Foundation is grateful for the heartwarming support we’re receiving for the Compassion for Caregivers,” said Cindy Reynolds, senior vice president and chief philanthropy officer of Baptist Health Foundation. “The Northeast Florida community has shown the Baptist Health teams their love, ranging from making cash donations, donations of PPE, making masks and gowns for our team members to providing meals to our teams. We are inspired by the entire community.”

“My family has enjoyed making the masks. We are planning to continue to make masks, as long as we have the right amount of materials,” reveals Audrey.

“It has been great for the people of the community to be able to connect to Baptist Health and help during this pandemic. We will continue to take supplies and donations for the foreseeable future,” said Dr. Aldana.

For more details about supporting Baptist Health team members, visit giving.baptistjax.com/campaign/coronavirus-campaign/c280721.

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