Everyday Hero: Couple raises funds for tablets to keep patients connected

May 19 2020, 4:50 pm

Everyday Hero is an initiative by TELUS, in partnership with Daily Hive, that puts local people doing good in the spotlight. If you know an everyday hero who you would like to nominate, click here.

Social distancing has placed a strain on how everyone connects to their loved ones. For patients in hospitals, though, in-person visits from their friends and family is a crucial part of their day.

To protect those who are already immuno-compromised, visitation restrictions have been enforced, meaning that patients in hospitals are no longer able to have physical visitors by their side.

The removal of this key support system — which plays a huge part in not only patients’ wellbeing, but also their road to recovery — has been a challenge for both them and their loved ones.

But thanks to people like Cristina Ferreira and her boyfriend, Matthew Joyner, patients at the Leukemia Bone Marrow Transplant (BMT) unit at Vancouver General Hospital (VGH) can still receive the support and connection they need.

With the help of Joyner, who works at TELUS, Ferreira was able to receive funding from the telecom to purchase tablets for the patients so they can now video chat with their friends and family.

Ferreira, who is a registered nurse on the unit, was informed of a hospital-wide visitation stoppage in mid-March. “She wanted to find a way to keep her patients connected with their families during this time and came up with the idea to fundraise money for tablets,” Joyner said in an interview with Daily Hive.

I reached out to my manager, Ron Pong, and general manager, Ned Hodaly, to see if TELUS would like to help. TELUS answered the bell, and within a week we had funding for $1,500 worth of tablets,” Joyner explains.

He says the most rewarding part of the community donation was hearing about the patient’s reactions when they were able to video call their loved ones.

“Knowing that the patients have a means to communicate with their loved ones is a very good feeling. It has made me realize how fortunate I am to be in the situation I am currently in,” says Joyner.

Staff at VGH/Matthew Joyner

Without being a TELUS Team Member, Joyner says it wouldn’t have been possible for him and his girlfriend to provide the tablets to patients at VGH’s BMT unit.

“I reached out to my manager about a possible donation only because I knew TELUS’ values aligned directly with giving back to the community,” says Joyner.

The company is known for giving back to the community through its ongoing initiatives. Since the beginning of March, TELUS has committed $150 million to support Canadians through the COVID-19 crisis. TELUS team members across Canada have been volunteering (while adhering to safety protocols) from coast to coast to help create stronger and healthier communities. TELUS encourages all Canadians to #StayGiving in their own communities.

With that in mind, Joyner says, “I felt confident that they would step up, as they have in many other cases. It was not a surprise to see TELUS get involved and we are extremely grateful for their donation.”

It’s hard to imagine how challenging life is for patients in the hospital in regular times, let alone in a time where they are unable to see their loved ones in real life. Yet, it’s heartwarming to know that there are heroes out there like Joyner and Ferreira who can make difference — no matter how small — to the lives of others.

Even though the pandemic has impacted everyone on some level, it’s also provided some with a humbling perspective into the importance of good health.

“I have learned to be more grateful and appreciative for my own situation. I consider myself extremely fortunate to be healthy and working,” says Joyner.

If you’re thinking about getting involved and giving back to your community, Joyner recommends small gestures that can make a big difference.

“A single random act of kindness can inspire someone to reciprocate that action forward to someone else,” he says.

As for his source of everyday inspiration, Joyner says that he gets it from Ferreira, who is always “looking to find different ways to put a smile on her patients’ faces.”

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