Sony Foundation Donates 6,500 face masks to vulnerable Australians

01 May 2020

Cancer Patients and Front Line Health Workers 

As we adjust to the reality of social distancing and protecting ourselves against COVID-19 for some time to come, we realise those most at risk of contracting the virus are health care workers and cancer patients who have suppressed immune systems.

Masks and personal protective equipment are in high demand, with access for some of Australia’s most vulnerable becoming a major issue.

Recently, Sony Foundation was able to donate 6,500 disposable masks (5,000 clinical masks, 1,000 surgical masks and 500 KN95 masks) to our You Can Community and the Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital, the home of our QLD You Can Centre. We are sincerely grateful to all those involved in this initiative to support those who need it most, in particular Sony Music Australia for establishing the connection with the supplier and for assisting with distribution.

You Can Champion, Hannah was one of the recipients who shared this personal letter of thanks.

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Personal letter of thanks from You Can Champion, Hannah 

The current COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic is scary to anyone – job security, stress, anxiety, paranoia about whether you could catch the virus. But as a cancer patient, it’s even tougher, especially undergoing chemo treatment while all this is happening.

10 years ago, I was diagnosed with GIST (Gastro-Intestinal Stromal Tumour). At 18, young, fit, healthy, and with no history of cancer in my family, it was out of the blue, to say the least. I had surgery to remove the tumour and then started on oral chemo shortly after recovering. The oral chemo that I have been on for the last 10 years supresses my immune system, which automatically puts me in a high-risk category for COVID-19. I cannot stop taking the chemo that supresses my immune system for fear of the cancer returning. I am left worrying that any interaction that I have may expose me to COVID-19.  This adds further to the stress, anxiety, and fear of the situation.

Can I still go in for my periodic treatments? Can I still have routine scans and check-ups with my oncologist? What if I’m exposed to people with COVID19? What if I can’t fight it? Is it safe to go grocery shopping? Visit my family? What about the pharmacy? Could it affect my cancer? Can I go to work? Will I be one of the statistics? My immune system is suppressed on chemo… SO WHAT DO I DO!?!

Those are pretty much the thoughts going through my mind at the moment. Mix that in with a full-time job – it’s a lot on one’s plate.

So thank you, thank you so much to the wonderful supporters of the Sony Foundation. I now can wear masks when I go outside and while I do my grocery shopping.  It is one more piece of armour that makes me feel protected! I really am so appreciative of the donation – it is one less stress on an already packed plate for us cancer patients to deal with! I’ve been struggling to find masks either in-store or online, particularly when even hospitals were running out of masks. I really am grateful for the protection you are providing to me, and other cancer patients through the Sony Foundation! 

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