Sunnybrook community unites to support COVID-19 care and research with multiple coordinated acts of giving

April 29, 2020

At a time when physical distancing has become necessary to slow the spread of COVID-19, people are finding new ways to come together while apart. Sunnybrook is pleased to celebrate several acts of generosity that showcase the strength of our social fabric and the giving spirit of our community in the face of adversity.

Community answers call to donate masks and other PPE to help keep Sunnybrookers safe

To help nurses, doctors and other frontline health professionals combat COVID-19, Sunnybrook needs equipment to keep us and our patients safe. That’s why we issued a plea to the community to donate unused and unopened masks, gowns and eye protection to those who need it most. The response was overwhelmingly positive, demonstrating the giving spirit of people during these unprecedented times.

Already, 505,000 pieces of protective gear have been donated to Sunnybrook, where it’s most needed. This includes more than 40,000 pairs of medical-grade gloves generously donated by eBay Canada, who responded to Sunnybrook’s call to action by asking their team to work with their sellers to get critical items to the frontlines.

To everyone who has contributed personalized protective equipment ranging from specialized N95 masks to surgical gowns, hand sanitizer, goggles and surgical masks, our frontline staff couldn’t be more grateful.

$1-million investment made to establish research group dedicated to fighting COVID-19 at Sunnybrook

Sunnybrook has been at the global forefront of the COVID-19 pandemic since the first Canadian case was identified, both clinically and on the research front.

Infectious diseases physician and microbiologist Dr. Samira Mubareka, along with clinical microbiologist Dr. Robert Kozak and a team of close collaborators, has led Sunnybrook’s research response efforts since the earliest days of the pandemic. Their work has been globally significant, leading to early implementation of a hospital-based COVID-19 test. Most crucially, in March 2020, their team isolated the agent responsible for the ongoing outbreak of COVID-19. The isolated virus is helping researchers in Canada to develop better diagnostic testing, treatments and vaccines, and gain a better understanding of the virus’s biology, evolution and clinical shedding.

With these crucial tools in hand, a Sunnybrook donor saw an opportunity to give this research a major boost at a critical juncture. QuestCap Inc. has made a $1-million investment to establish the Sunnybrook Translational Research Group for Emerging and Respiratory Viruses (SERV).

To be led by Dr. Mubareka, SERV’s work will focus on three crucial streams of research: vaccines and therapeutics, virus biology and transmission prevention. Dedicated investment in SERV means Sunnybrook will be able to accelerate the pace of further research into COVID-19 at a crucial time.

Donors rise to the occasion to match funds pledged by Sunnybrook’s closest friends

Sunnybrook’s COVID-19 response efforts have received a tremendous boost thanks to the support of some of its closest friends.

The Nanji Family Foundation and The E. & G. Odette Foundation each pledged $100,000 to match community donations to Sunnybrook’s COVID-19 research and care. In response, 1,200 donors from across the GTA, Ontario and Canada contributed $209,000.

Three more matches are currently underway, with the Liu Fu Yu Charity Foundation having pledged a minimum of $100,000 to match community donations to COVID-19 research. The Don and Nita Reed Family Foundation has stepped forward with a $100,000 match as well, towards an upcoming clinical trial called CONCOR-1 that will test the plasma of recovered patients as a treatment for those who are hospitalized with the COVID-19 virus. eBay Canada is matching gifts between $10-$100 made via its Gifts That Give Back program to Sunnybrook until the end of May, with proceeds also going to support the CONCOR-1 trial.

With the COVID-19 situation evolving rapidly, these funds are essential. They provide the hospital with the ability to direct resources to where they’re needed most.

iPads purchased to connect patients in hospital with loved ones

In recent weeks Ontario hospitals – including Sunnybrook – have taken the necessary step of restricting visitors, adding extra strain on our patients during an already difficult time. Finding new ways to connect our patients to their loved ones is imperative to encourage the social support that is so important for healing.

Thankfully, Toronto-based corporate law firm Wildeboer Dellelce LLP and the WD Group of Companies stepped up by creating a special initiative to bring iPads and tablets to patients receiving care at Sunnybrook. Now hospitalized patients can communicate “face-to-face” over video with loved ones. Each iPad and tablet will have a waterproof cover that will be cleaned and sterilized between uses.

A social worker in Sunnybrook’s Schulich Heart Program was recently able to connect one of her patients with his spouse using an iPad so they could celebrate their 49th wedding anniversary. The couple was thrilled to be able to see each other on the screen. This kind act was made possible through the generosity of a group of donors who saw a need and came together to help.

Community group raises nearly $72K in 48 hours to bring an advanced ventilator to Sunnybrook

On March 20, Jerry Jin, a member of the Bayview-York Mills Chinese Community (BYCC), a community group that supports each other online, reached out to raise funds to help Sunnybrook care for patients recently admitted with COVID-19. Their community response was overwhelmingly positive.

BYCC raised an impressive $71,866 in 48 hours to support the purchase of an advanced portable ventilator that will help treat critically-ill patients with COVID-19 at Sunnybrook. This generous gift is a perfect example of what is possible when people unite around a common goal. 

From our heroes to you

At Sunnybrook, our health-care workers truly are heroes. So is everyone who steps up to support them. Sunnybrook Foundation is deeply grateful to our community for banding together in such a meaningful way through such challenging times. Together is how we’re going to win.

Support Sunnybrook's COVID-19 response fund »