When the COVID-19 pandemic prevented Rachael Dong from visiting her grandfather at St.Joseph’s Auxiliary Hospital in south Edmonton, she wanted to do something to help.
“We’re limited in how we can support him right now,” Rachael says, adding that she came up with the fundraiser as a way to bring new tools to healthcare teams on the front lines of the pandemic while also lending support to the call by public health officials to flatten the curve.
Along with her friend and fellow University of Alberta student, Mena Burr, Rachael launched a social media campaign to support COVID-19 relief at Covenant hospitals and continuing care facilities like St. Joseph’s across Alberta.
Using the hashtag #PlankTheCurveChallenge, their campaign calls on Albertans to share photos of themselves doing the plank and to tag others to do the same with a request to make a donation to Covenant Foundation’s Compassion Calls campaign.
Creativity is encouraged, Rachael laughs, acknowledging that “not everyone wants to go plank for 10 minutes.”
The pair stress the importance of putting together a project that honours the advice of public health officials to maintain physical distance.
Since the students launched the #PlankTheCurveChallenge in mid-April, they have raised nearly $1,500. All funds will support Covenant Foundation’s Compassion Calls campaign — a fund established so Covenant healthcare teams have everything they need to respond to the unanticipated but critical needs of the patients and residents they’re caring for during these very difficult times.
Like many residents living at St. Joseph’s, Rachael’s grandfather has dementia.
“Just because they have dementia doesn’t mean they don’t have feelings, and we don’t even really know what goes on in their head,” she adds. “We’ve all just been very grateful, and very happy, for the care that he’s received at St. Joseph’s.”
The two are grateful for the support they’ve received.
“I’m incredibly thankful for the amount of funds we’ve received so far, especially considering the economic situation right now,” says Mena. “Most people are struggling financially, but the fact that those who can donate are still doing so just is amazing.”
Every little bit helps, says Rachael.
“We’re just really grateful for everyone’s kindness,” she adds. “One thing that really stood out for me was that the very first name we saw was someone that neither of us recognized. That was a moment of revelation for both of us and was just really, really cool to see.”
Learn more about #PlankTheCurveChallenge.