As you may know, India is currently fighting a second variant and wave of COVID-19. This variant, known as B1617, is much more contagious and fatal. With over 21.5 million cases in India as of May 5, the country is suffering terribly. Only 2.1% of the population is fully vaccinated and there are no more vaccines to give. They truly need our help, and The Smiling Foundation is working to help those battling COVID-19.
Because the coronavirus directly affects the lungs, oxygen concentrators are some of the most essential pieces of medical equipment to help increase oxygen levels in patients. Through donations, we are purchasing and shipping 10 liter oxygen concentrators to multiple regions in India. The concentrators collect outside air and filter it to help support COVID patients struggling to breathe on their own. A concentrator is especially valuable because unlike oxygen cylinders, which have a fixed amount of oxygen to disseminate, concentrators draw from outside air, of which we have an infinite supply. Not only that, but these concentrators can be used at home. Treating the virus in its early stages, patients have a better chance of recovering and avoiding hospitalization all together. As a result, hospitals are also more readily available to help more critical patients.
We have the opportunity to lend our support to those in India who desperately need it. Each concentrator costs $1,500. Donors will be kept updated on the placement of the purchased concentrators, so we can all see efforts of the TSF come to fruition. Please join us in our journey to help India combat the global pandemic.
Day 1 : We set up our GoFundMe page with a fundraising goal of $50,000. Patrons could also conveniently make donations through Venmo and Zelle. On our very first day, we received $7,052 in donations. Additionally, we were constantly communicating with suppliers including DHL, FedEx, and USPS to determine the most efficient way to transport 10 Liter concentrators to India. The shipping cost was originally $1,500 to $2,000, but with the help of a personal contact, we were able to get the shipping cost down dramatically to $450 to $500.
Day 2 : With over $7,000 collected, we began searching for concentrators to ship to India. Ultimately, we purchased four oxygen concentrators. We sent them off to ship to India and they were set to land the next day. In addition to the concentrators, we also worked towards procuring medicine and food for families in need. We continued to collect donations on our GoFundMe page, as well as through Venmo and Zelle.
Day 3 : Three concentrators landed in India, and we organized for volunteers in India to retrieve and drive them to the homes of COVID patients. We were happy to hear that the equipment was confirmed to be extremely helpful to recipients. Additionally, in just three days, we reached our very first donation milestone of $10,000.
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The Smiling Foundation was presented with an amazing opportunity to hold a Q&A Webinar with rheumatologist, Doctor Dipti Doshi on February 11th, 2021. Together, she was able to answer some of the most frequently asked questions about the COVID-19 vaccines and debunk myths as well. In this session, some of our youngest volunteers also were able to ask questions regarding future predictions about the vaccine while our highschoolers were also able to gain a general knowledge about what to expect in the coming months.
With the vaccines just becoming available to the general public, many were skeptical on whether or not it is safe and how good the efficacy rate for each vaccine was. After clearing up some common misconceptions, we went on to talk about the vaccine itself and how it may affect society within future months! We were also able to conduct a Zoom Session, Facebook, and Instagram Live for our virtual viewers. If you are interested in seeing the recording for yourself be sure check out the videos now available on Spotify and Youtube!!
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The Smiling Foundation held its second successful Webinar on April 9th, 2021 with lung specialist, Dr. Manoj Majmudar. In hour-long discussion, the TSF team was able to ask questions and discuss relevant topics regarding current COVID cases and how specifically COVID-19 affected the lungs. Some of our youngest volunteers ranging from the age of nine, all the way to the age of 18 were able to learn something new about the most recent FDA approved vaccines and what they could mean in the future for our society.
A large number of the TSF team was able to ask Dr. Majmudar questions in person while our virtual members and attendees were online. After our pre-made questions for the session, we were also able to open up the floor for questions from the audience to answer as well. Overall, the session was a major success and we definitely recommend you check it out! If you would like to see the recorded webinar for yourself, they are now available on Spotify and Youtube!