RANDOLPH, NJ- Randolph resident Tiffany Basdekis helped pack a big suitcase for her husband on the morning of Thursday, April 2, before sending him off to work unsure of when he would return. As an anesthesiologist on the front lines fighting COVID-19, her husband George is now staying in a medical school dorm to reduce the risk of spreading the virus.
“Me and my two kids said goodbye to my husband last Thursday, not knowing when we will see him again,” said Basdekis. “His hospital is now organizing housing for physicians battling this deadly virus, so they are close by and do not have to go home and spread risk to their families.”
With doctors and nurses from local NJ and NY area hospitals posting pleas online for Personal Protective Equipment ( PPE ), Basdekis is doing what she can to help support the cause.
“Masks are in short supply, so my husband and I personally imported N95 masks to give them as donations,” said Basdekis. “But we need help raising money in order to donate more to our local hospitals. It scares me to the core to think of the people on the front lines risking their lives every day without the necessary safety apparel.”
Basdekis set up a Go Fund Me to support Morristown Medical Center and two other hard-hit area hospitals - New York Presbyterian/ Columbia University Medical Center (NYC) and Northern Westchester Hospital (Westchester County, NY). These three areas are extremely hard hit and represent the "epicenters" of the virus in our area.
Some news reports have cited statistics showing that as many as 20% of those infected with the coronavirus are healthcare workers. One of Basdekis’ husband's colleagues died of COVID-19 and two additional coworkers of his are in the ICU with it currently.
“Unemployment is sky-rocketing, and everyone has some sort of fund or another that they're asking friends and family to give to,” said Basdekis. “Ours is one of the few specifically dedicated to emergency funds at hospitals to obtain PPE, and it is the only one in our geographic area.”
All funds raised will be split equally between the three hospitals, specifically for fighting COVID-19. The funds will go toward critical preventative measures such as PPE (gowns, medical hoods, N95 masks, face shields, goggles, etc.) and other preventative measures to protect healthcare workers.
Basdekis is also trying to spread some positivity by touting the idea of the “Front Porch Project” that has picked up momentum across the country. Photographers nationwide are taking pictures of families from 6 feet or more away on their front porch in exchange for a donation to an organization targeting COVID-19 victims and healthcare workers.
Below is a link to a DIY virtual, online version. As the community has been told to stay indoors and not travel unless it is essential, this page is designed to capture the original spirit of creating positivity and giving back to those struck by COVID-19. Please share an image of your family, yourself, your pet on your front porch (or anywhere in your home you would like, get creative!) on this Facebook page.
The Gofundme raised $6,565 so far, but more is needed for these hospitals and front liners.
You can view the gofundme and all the updates explaining the fund and what it will be used for here: https://www.gofundme.com/f/the-virtual-front-porch-project
You can view the Facebook page and Facebook group here: