In December 2019, the first cases of COVID-19 began emerging in Wuhan, China. The world continued to spin and not much was mentioned in the United States about the illness. By Jan. 11, 2020, the first death was reported in China and just a week later, the first case was identified in the United States, creating the beginning of ripples stateside of what would become a worldwide pandemic.
As cases began to spread in China, access to personal protective equipment (PPE) became limited in the United States, as much of this equipment is produced in China and was now necessary to protect the residents and healthcare providers in that country.
As the first cases of COVID-19 presented at Baystate Health facilities in March, it became clear that this was going to be something that the health system had to adapt for, including the necessity of building a triage testing unit outside of Baystate Medical Center.
During these tense days, many donors stepped up to contribute both monetary gifts and donations of PPE. Country Bank was among the first organizations to reach out, making a $100,000 contribution toward the greatest needs of Baystate Health.
“These are challenging and ever-evolving times as we face uncertainty regarding the COVID-19 pandemic. As a community partner, we care deeply about our communities, and we wanted to support our local hospitals to help ease their financial burden as they continue to offer exceptional care to our friends and neighbors in the region,” said Paul Scully, president and CEO at Country Bank.
From there, Baystate Health Foundation was fortunate to have other organizations and individuals contribute. The outpouring of support from the community helped to lift efforts and spirits, with local restaurants coordinating food donations and neighborhood doors decorated with hearts for healthcare workers. It was a reminder highlighting how the community is in the fight together.
The support was widespread. Students from UMass FOR THE KIDS, a student-led group from the University of Massachusetts who host an annual dance marathon to support Baystate Children’s Hospital, put together a video sharing how thankful they were for the teams at Baystate Health and continued to forge forward with their fundraising, though their signature event had to be cancelled. They ended up raising $215,050 through a virtual dance marathon. Organizations near and far came together to donate PPE, including gloves, masks, and gowns, to keep healthcare team members and patients safe as the number of hospitalizations grew.
“I have many family members who work at Baystate and two of my children were born there and spent time in the NICU. When I heard that there was a need for masks, I wanted to find a way to give back and help, so I organized a mask donation drive with area contractors that we work with,” shared Adam Quenneville, owner of Adam Quenneville Roofing and Siding.
At the time of publication for this edition of Impact, we continue to see progress in fighting COVID-19, thanks in large part to continued social distancing efforts. What we also continue to see is an uptick in kindness, in efforts to help, and a true desire to make a difference for those around us. That has come from you.
Thank you to the organizations and individuals who stepped up with donations of money, PPE, and food to feed our healthcare team members. You have helped Baystate Health battle COVID-19 and, in turn, helped keep your community safe and healthy.