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Donations of handheld devices keeping our most vulnerable connected during COVID-19

Donations of handheld devices keeping our most vulnerable connected during COVID-19

April 16, 2020

When Michael Cole learned of the difficulties some hospital patients and senior care home residents are experiencing communicating with loved-ones, he began to make some calls.

As the COVID-19 pandemic rages on, hospitals and care home facilities are taking all necessary precautions to prevent the spread of infection, and protect those most vulnerable. Some of these measures include severely limiting guests and visitors, and in some cases eliminating them completely. An unfortunate side effect has been increased social isolation for patients and residents, and the inability for families to check in on their sick or elderly parents and grandparents.

Listen: Michael Cole on CBC Radio, The Early Edition with Stephen Quinn

Cole, who serves on the Board of Trustees at Burnaby Hospital Foundation, decided that if physical distancing is a necessity, then the least he could do is help provide a digital solution. After reaching out to friends and family, Cole had managed to collect more than three dozen ipads, tablets, and other handheld devices to donate to Burnaby Hospital and Fellburn Care Centre.

When Cole’s teenaged step-daughter, Natasha Wilson, heard about the project, she reached out to her own network of friends to step forward. While youth in this city don’t always have the same kind of financial resources some of us enjoy to donate, Wilson and her friends have shown that the desire and will of our younger citizens to give back, however they can, is strong. Together, they managed to add another dozen to the number of devices Cole had secured.

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With the donation, and some help getting them set up and connected with wifi, patients and residents at Burnaby Hospital and Fellburn now have over 50 handheld devices available for keeping in constant contact with their loved ones during these difficult times. It’s an amazing comfort for those families, and a beautiful reminder of the importance of connectivity and the difference community spirit can make in bringing us all together.

To help support donations like this, as well as important medical equipment and frontline emergency needs, Burnaby Hospital Foundation has established the COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund. Contributions are gratefully welcomed HERE.

Special thank you to volunteer, Mahmood, and the team at Annex Group for setting up the devices for use!