Like “social-distancing” and “stay-at-home orders,” over the past few months, the initialism “PPE” (Personal Protective Equipment) has entered our common vernacular. Eddie Bricio ’22 has been spending part of his “stay-at-home” time making sure first-responders and other frontline workers can keep themselves safe. The construction of each mask requires strong attention to detail and taking each step in order.
Way to go, Eddie, for channeling your Charger spirit and helping members of our community from your kitchen table!
Creating Simple, Low-Cost Ventilator Solutions in Sydney
May 22, 2020
After completing her studies at Boston University, Claire Bridges ’11 found herself as a Faculty of Medicine and Health PhD candidate at the University of Sydney. These days, she works on a multidisciplinary team of students and faculty hoping to create a “simple, low cost ventilator solution to assist the COVID-19 effort.”
Working in partnership with other top Australian public health agencies and experts, this team has already created a prototype of the “CoVida”, a ventilator that is easy to manufacture and provides the same level of respiratory support. In fact, “university students and academics have helped to create the first prototype using modern design tools and 3-D printing in a matter of weeks.”
Suki Bristol ’19 recognized that individuals working on the frontlines too often don’t have the time or energy to refuel while on the job. Therefore, this innovative CA alumnae started a campaign on CustomInk where people can purchase t-shirts or sweatshirts with “give.” written simply across the chest. Each order would translate into donations for these “modern-day superheroes.”
As Suki shares: “While being overworked, some are also unable to return to their loved ones due to health concerns. By buying a t-shirt, sweatshirt, or simply donating money, you can do your part. 100% of the profits will go towards obtaining meals from locally-owned restaurants (in an effort to support those who are struggling financially), and the meals from these restaurants will be delivered to the front-line workers. Donations are warmly welcomed as well by Venmo to @sukibristol, please specify that you are donating to “Feed Our Front-Line” and 100% of your donation will be put towards these efforts! “
Melissa Colantuoni (mother of Anderson ’23 and Ashleigh ’24) sees herself merely doing what everyone else is doing right now: whatever she can to make someone else’s life a little easier, healthier, safer.
Before more restrictions took effect on retail businesses, Melissa and a group of volunteers relied on JoAnn’s Fabrics to procure their cloth for much-in-demand face masks. This group visited several times a week (as Melissa shares, “it was great camaraderie. We would share tips and tricks and alternatives to use when supplies weren’t available. We compared notes on all the patterns.”)
Now, it is more difficult to find the supplies needed to make masks. Places are either sold out, and online shopping for fabric is not ideal. Fortunately, fellow Chargers have stepped up to help. CA parent and Development Team staff member Kelly Cotronis (mother of Caleb ’22 and Landon ’23) donated bolts of cloth she had at home for Melissa and her group to keep on sewing.
Melissa has shared her passion and knowledge of sewing with others who wanted to learn and help. She has donated her masks to hospitals and several care facilities. One of the more unusual places that her masks have ended up has been Gonza Tacos y Tequilia restaurants around the Triangle! As Melissa explains: “I made masks for my best friend’s family. They were made with fabric that had the Day of the Dead Pattern. This family happened to own several taco restaurants and he loved them so much, he asked me to make 20+ for his restaurants.”
Thank you, Melissa, for spreading the values of collaboration and innovation, one beautiful mask at a time!
CA Alumnae in healthcare opens up, shares what she’s learned
April 16, 2020
Erin Carriker (’14) posted this message on Instagram: “Tomorrow, the family medicine clinic I have called home for the past nine months is becoming a respiratory care clinic.”
After graduating from Davidson in 2018 ( go Wildcats!), Erin earned her Masters of Science in Biomedical Science last May from Duke University.
In her Instagram post, Erin shared some of the challenges she’s been grappling with since this transition was first announced to her and the team. Fear, worry, and uncertainty were at the top of the list. But, gratitude rose to the top. As Erin writes: “I am grateful to the coworkers who have become family, to the mentors that nurture me, to the patients that are now an integral part of my life. Being forced out of ‘normal’ is difficult, yet I am so thankful for all the learning still to be done. I am thankful for this incredible opportunity to participate in healing. This is teaching me that fear and courage are not mutually exclusive, that though our voices may shake we are still able to shout ‘we are ready’.”
Thank you Erin for being of the countless frontline healthcare workers putting your own health and safety at risk to provide comfort and care to members of our community!
#GoPack: Elayne Courts makes masks regardless of Wolfpack affiliation
April 14, 2020
ACC loyalties aside: Elayne Courts, along with many other local residents, has been using her skills to make masks for healthcare employees. She continues to refine the design in order to make them more protective for frontline workers. Any Wolfpack fans out there will be EXTRA happy to don one of Elayne’s masks!
From Elayne: “I have given many different people masks: some to a vet clinic, some to a fellow CA parent who runs a nursing in-home service, and some to an ear, nose, and throat clinic. Right now, I seem to be giving them to individuals who need them when they are out shopping for groceries or running any kind of errands.”
Elayne is following a pattern she found online. She shared that there are several different patterns circulating, and all of them work. As noted earlier, Elayne has made some adjustments as she has continued this project: “The first ones I made only had two layers, but now I found a very thin felt like fabric that acts as a filter and I’m lining them with that so now they have three layers. They don’t filter everything out, so hospitals themselves can’t use them, but they’re asking if people use them when they run errands. I know the Ronald McDonald House needs them for staff and employees as well for the families living there. Medical professionals are stressing the importance of wearing masks to help stop the spread of the virus.”
Elayne and husband Chris have three Chargers currently enrolled: Parker ’20; Wyatt ’21; and Tess ’24. Here’s a snapshot of WRAL’s coverage of Elayne’s selfless actions. Way to be a role model for #CAGivesForGood, Elayne!
Sandra Gutierrez opens her kitchen – and her heart – to hungry viewers
April 11, 2020
As a CA board member and parent of two alumni, Sandra Gutierrez knows the importance of keeping stomachs full in order to maximize learning. She has channeled her knowledge and passion into not one, not two, but FOUR cookbooks!
This Cary-resident chef and author is now bringing her love of food and family to Facebook in a weekly cooking series geared towards all levels of kitchen prowess.
At noon, Sandra greeted visitors from around the world into her home — virtually. Her easy-to-follow recipes feature common pantry items (and don’t sweat: she offers substitutions!). Ready for fun, exquisite, and healthy food? Plan to spend an hour with Sandra each week to discover what new flavors you can bring to you and your family’s dinner table. Thank you, Sandra, for offering joy and creativity, from your kitchen to ours, as #CAGivesForGood.
Leslie Williams offers “technical” help for protecting people
April 9, 2020
Leslie Williams, Cary Academy MS teacher, is working with NC State University in conjunction with the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) to 3D print parts for face shields, which are the highest requested Protective Personal Equipment (PPE) currently.
Mondays at 9:30 am aren’t typically a good time to volunteer in the calendar of Katie Todd, your CA Fund Director. But, with schedules a lot more flexible these days, Katie had the chance to join dozens of other volunteers on Monday, April 6, to support Meals on Wheels in Durham. Staff and volunteers loaded cars with boxes full of a week’s worth of frozen meals for MOW clients. Moving to once-a-week deliveries is intended to keep both seniors and volunteers safe.
With her meals on board, Katie drove to her delivery destination, having the chance to deliver meals to eight residents of a historic apartment building in downtown Durham. Each interaction included smiles, well wishes, and gratitude. Katie hopes to continue delivering meals each Monday while her schedule allows. Check out her message above on how she is participating in #CAGivesForGood. Thank you, Katie, for bringing nutrition and smiles to residents in our community!