A Northern Regional College employee recovering from COVID-19 has led on efforts by her Scout Group to collect nighties and pyjamas, towels and toiletries for Craigavon Area Hospital.
Dr Catherine Guy, Learning and Development Manager at the College, tested positively for the virus on 2nd April, necessitating several trips to the dedicated COVID-19 A&E facility at the hospital for scans and treatment required because of an ongoing chronic respiratory condition.
Inspired by the dedication and selflessness of the hospital’s frontline workers, Catherine wanted to do something that would both show appreciation for staff and support other COVID-19 patients.
“Having been in and out of hospital with COVID-19, I experienced first-hand the amazing work that the staff at Craigavon Area Hospital are doing,” she explained.
“While medical staff were working with me, I was aware of the many other patients also being treated in what was an intense, emotional and frightening atmosphere for everyone.
“My niece – an auxiliary nurse at the hospital – told me that some patients are admitted to hospital without even their own basic personal comforts such as sleepwear and toiletries and their families are unable to provide these necessities because of concerns of contamination.
“Thinking that just a few simple items could make what is a daunting experience more comfortable for patients, I knew exactly where to turn to help with donations.”
While recovering at home, Catherine posted a message to the parents and leaders of the Scout Group via WhatsApp to request their support.
Donations of nightdresses and pyjamas, towels and toiletries, as well as cotton sheets to make PPE face masks, were dropped off at the Group’s Scout Den in Portadown.
“As Group Leader for the 2nd Portadown 8th Armagh Scout Group, I knew that all of our Group Scout leaders, parents and scouters would welcome the opportunity to do something to help the NHS and the most vulnerable in our society at this time,” she continued.
“Scouts never fail to step up to a challenge and, as expected, we were completely overwhelmed by the incredible generosity of the Group. Within days my husband, along with a Cub Scout parent, filled two carloads of donations and dropped them off at the hospital laundrette.”
All clothing and sheet donations were subject to a deep sanitation process before being sent to wards or being forwarded to make PPE face masks, with toiletries thoroughly disinfected before being distributed to patients.
Last week, hundreds of Dr Guy’s colleagues at Northern Regional College took part in the College’s first ever dedicated Volunteer Day.
The initiative saw employees across the Ballymena, Ballymoney, Coleraine, Magherafelt and Newtownabbey campuses channel their energy and enthusiasm into a wide range of volunteering activities and fundraising challenges to support people most affected by COVID-19.