Saskatchewan's Michael Scissons helped get thousands of N95 masks into the hands of health-care professionals in New York. (Photo: Michael Scissons)

Usask unites: Alumni crusades to get protective equipment to hospital staff

Since the first cases of COVID-19 were announced in the province, members of the USask community have come together to support one another in these uncertain times.

Extraordinary circumstances have brought out extraordinary responses from members of our USask community. From frontline health-care workers to researchers looking for a solution to this global health threat, there are so many stories about people are working to make our home communities safer and healthy. Here are a few of the inspiring stories of our students, staff, faculty and alumni.

When COVID-19 started making news in January, University of Saskatchewan (USask) graduate Michael Scissons (BA'06) instinctively started collecting N95 surgical masks.

In a recent interview with CBC News, Scissons said his "paranoia" came from his dad, a polio survivor with a fear of pandemics. But with the demand for personal protective equipment (PPE) growing daily, Scissons donated his modest collection of 30 masks to a hospital at New York University (NYU).

"A nurse literally ran after the car to thank me with tears in her eyes. I knew I needed to do more until the government catches up," he told CBC News.

From his relationships with friends in various companies, Scissons managed to track down 10,000 masks and 7,000 pairs of gloves, which he also delivered to NYU.

After graduating from USask, Scissons moved to New York where he works as a venture capitalist and a self-described internet entrepreneur.

When he later heard of similar concerns in his hometown of Saskatoon, he offered his services to health authorities in Saskatchewan.

"I fear that it will come for Saskatchewan in a real way and that the medical system will need significantly more protective supplies than they have," Scissons wrote on a GoFundMe page launched recently.

He has 3,000 N95 masks being delivered to Saskatchewan, and hopes to inspire others to donate their own resources to the frontline health-care workers who need them the most.

Read more on this story at CBC News.

Share your stories with us: We are collecting the stories of resilience and good spirit from our USask community. Please send story ideas and photos to news@usask.ca.

As a community it is critical that we support each other and remain respectful during what is a difficult time for all of us. Please follow all guidelines and take all precautions to prevent the further spread of COVID-19 in our community.

How you can help our students during the COVID-19 pandemic: https://alumni.usask.ca/news/2020/covid-19-how-you-can-help-our-students.php

For the latest developments and information about the University of Saskatchewan's response to COVID-19, please go to www.usask.ca/updates.

The University of Saskatchewan is undertaking critical research and contributing to global efforts to combat COVID-19. The University of Saskatchewan's Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization (VIDO-InterVac) is a world leader in developing vaccines and technologies to combat infectious diseases. Your support of the COVID-19 Research Fund supports the increased efforts of researchers at the University of Saskatchewan to develop vaccines and treatments for COVID-19. Donate now.

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