Panthera Group co-founder Paul Hayward began the drive to purchase PPE for the hospitals on his Facebook page. Rather than asking followers for cash or donations, all he requested was that followers leave a simple “hero” emoji or GIF in a comment.
Everyone who commented had a suit donated in their name. Hayward said his project allows everyone to contribute to defeating Covid-19, even if they don’t have the financial resources themselves. “If you participate in this way, we’ll donate on your behalf. That way, people can rightly say that they have contributed a PPE suit themselves.
We wanted people to participate in this program so they could feel they were playing an important role, even with just a simple online interaction,” said Paul Hayward.
Bangkok businessman Greg Lange, whose ventures include the well-known Sunrise Tacos restaurant chain, organized the logistics for donations through his Bangkok Community Help Organization. On May 9th, he brought 200 sets of PPE suits, face shields, shoe covers, and N95 masks, along with 1,000 pairs of gloves, which were donated to Thammasat University’s field hospital. Another 60,000 Baht in equipment was given to Witalayai School Field Hospital in Nonthaburi Province May 7.
“The first thing that drew my attention was that whilst speaking to Greg, I learned that many hospital staff working in ICU wards were having to pay for their own PPE because hospitals didn’t have the budget to provide it,” Hayward said. “We called about six hospitals and asked how many suits they needed so that all their employees had the proper gear,” he continued. “Now hundreds of workers can go home without worrying they will pass Covid-19 on to parents and family members.”
Hayward concludes, “In addition to the contributions by Lange, the project would not have succeeded without the help of volunteers Friso Poldervaart, Sebastian Bergstroem, Paul Masa, Michael Andreassen and Fern Obchaey, so a big Thank You to those people who have helped with this worthwhile program.”