COVID-19: Finding the best of humanity at the worst of times.
Categories: Past Event Articles
Thursday April 23 2020
My name is Sabiha Sabur, a Global Business Analyst for pharmaceuticals by profession, but when coronavirus hit us there was a sense of a loss of control. Our whole lives changed. I lost control through being furloughed from work, from being unable to attend hospital for my own medical needs and like everyone else lost the physical embrace of those not in my household.
The biggest battle faced was the one in my head and finding a way to take back that control. I couldn’t control the mortality rates that BBC keep updating us with, I couldn’t control the lack of personal protective equipment (PPE) the NHS have and I couldn’t control the spread of fake news on WhatsApp.
I did however control the use of my time through volunteering with MEND.
I collaborated with an NHS doctor Dr Mohammed Abu Asi, and MEND volunteer who called out for volunteers to join him in creating Wellness Boxes for NHS staff in Guys and St Thomas’ Hospital.
The Wellness boxes are present type boxes filled with loads of goodies that have been generously donated. An example of what was in each one includes lotions that relieve dermatitis which is an issue from constantly wearing PPE.
Building these wellness boxes for those on the frontline of COVID-19 was something I could control and deliver with love to help the mental health of these front-line NHS soldiers. A close NHS doctor friend working on the frontline opened up to me and feared of a “Post COVID-19 PTSD” which gave me even more strength to build more boxes, call other volunteers and generate ideas to expand.
Meeting other MEND volunteers who were of the same mindset led to building 100 boxes in under 2 hours, which was soul-enriching. Finding out their stories and how coronavirus has impacted their lives and how they took back control actually brought us together through solidarity. When delivering the boxes to St Thomas’ hospital I met with disaster response volunteers, who helped me store the boxes and I was inspired by their speedy work and huge hearts.
Due to health risks I could not deliver these boxes myself, however another doctor virtually showed the impact of our work, which made me swallow back my tears and hold my head high.
Through this work I was able to get a glimpse of what life is like on the front-line. If you too would like to get involved please contact [email protected] to register your interest.