Now is the time to step up. Now is when leaders prove themselves. And that’s exactly what a group of students from Syosset High School are doing, as are some Nassau County politicians.
Uma and Eesha Kaushik are sisters currently attending Syosset High School. Since the school is currently closed due to the coronavirus pandemic, they quickly found a way to make a positive impact during their time at home.
“Our message is simple,” the sisters said in a joint email. “Believe that you have the power to make a big difference in the world. It all starts with a small step. With good intentions and dedicated effort you can reach your goals. If your intention is to help others, people will support you.”
The siblings’ father is Dr. Neeraj Kaushik, who is a top-rated gastroenterologist and endoscopic doctor, and they quickly understood the need to support healthcare workers. So the dynamic duo created a GoFundMe page to raise support for St. Francis Hospital in Roslyn, as well as other area hospitals.
“We feel the urgent need to provide our healthcare heroes with the right protection to fight this war,” the sisters said. “Our father is a doctor and we cannot even imagine him going to work every day, treating patients with no protective gear. Hence, we decided to create a GoFundMe to support our doctors, nurses, and other healthcare heroes, so they can effectively treat patients while staying safe themselves.”
The Kaushik’s campaign can be found at www.gofundme.com/f/helpourhealthcarehero. After just four days, they raised more than $5,000.
“We are in touch with the chief medical officer and chief procurement officer of Catholic Health Services of Long Island,” the sisters said in an email. “We have also contacted physicians at Stony Brook University Hospital, Downstate Medical Center in Brooklyn and Lincoln Medical Center in the Bronx. We are grateful for everyone that has supported our initiative and with the donations collected so far we have been able to order gowns, gloves, masks, face shields, hand sanitizers, etc.”
And they aren’t the only Syosset High School students who are lending a helping hand.
Sabrina Guo, also a member of the Braves community, created a campaign on March 24, raising more than $3,500 in just a day.
“I created this GoFundMe to raise money for medical supplies for these front-line workers and to show our solidarity, appreciation and support for the enormous sacrifices they are making to keep our communities safe and healthy,” Guo said.
Guo, who is a student-journalist, penned a column thanking first-responders and healthcare workers. She is currently working with Syosset Hospital and Plainview Hospital to order N95 masks. But that’s not the only thing she wants to do.
“We need a lot more funds to acquire more personal protective equipment (PPE), as the mayor of New York City has already announced that hospitals will run out of PPE in seven days,” Guo said. “Stand with us, and them, and help by donating to this cause and sharing this page with someone you know.”
Visit www.gofundme.com/f/lilacovid19 to donate to Guo’s campaign.
And, of course, there are the politicians who are going above and beyond, offering much more than just “thoughts and prayers.”
Two of them, in particular, who are stepping foot into the community are Nassau County Legislators Joshua Lafazan (D—Woodbury) and Delia DeRiggi-Whitton (D—Glen Cove). On top of Lafazan’s impressive social media campaign, in which he spread his “Ways To Help Your Neighbors During COVID-19” (see page 23), he also held a supply drive this past Saturday for healthcare workers.
Lafazan and his team collected everything from surgical masks to goggles, no-touch thermometers, filters for ventilators, hand sanitizer, disinfectants, gloves and more.
DeRiggi-Whitton helped pass a bill in the Nassau County Legislature last week to enable the county’s Office of Emergency Management to accept assistance in the form of much needed medical supply donations for hospitals and clinics to combat the COVID-19 virus. The bill was signed into law by County Executive Laura Curran on March 25, stating that “non-monetary gifts or grants of real or personal property can be accepted from any public or private source. Medical supplies most needed are N-95 and surgical masks (in unopened containers), eye protection like goggles, face shields, antibacterial and disinfecting wipes like alcohol and bleach-based (unopened), disposable medical gowns (paper fluid-resistant or plastic), hand sanitizer, disinfecting wipes, nitrile gloves (new, in unopened box and not expired), shoe covers/booties and no-touch thermometers.”
The items, according to county officials, will be sent to hospitals, nursing homes, assisted living facilities and other areas of need.
Through this bill, residents can bring donations to the public safety building in Eisenhower Park by parking field No. 3, located at 1899 Hempstead Tpke. in East Meadow. It will be open through Friday, April 3.
“Through these unprecedented difficult times, I am seeing the good in people coming out so strongly,” DeRiggi-Whitton said. “Aside from the amazing level of devotion to their patients that all of our healthcare workers, fire, police and EMS are demonstrating, citizens are truly coming together as a community to support one another.”
Of course, these are not the only fundraisers going on in Nassau County. These are just some examples as to how a community becomes one in the time of a crisis.