Support for Stony Brook University essential staff continues to flow in from caring friends near and far. “Our community has been so incredibly generous during this crisis,” said Joan Dickinson, Director of Community Relations at Stony Brook University and coordinator for the relief effort on campus. “Seeing so many people — who are facing hardships of their own — find ways to spread a little happiness to our essential staff and our patients has given us the strength we needed to continue the fight.”
Providing Much-Needed Cheer
Twenty-nine 10- and 11-year old cheerleaders found a new way to spread happiness by banding together with their families to help feed frontline workers at local hospitals across Long Island, including staff in 16 different departments at Stony Brook University Hospital.
The Sachem 11s Cheer Team, a Sachem Sports Club based in Holbrook, has raised more than $18,000 and has fed healthcare workers in more than 30 different hospitals as of May 1.
The idea to feed frontline workers was born when the girls were in a group chat discussing how they could support several of their Cheer moms, who are nurses working 12-hour shifts. They decided to send them lunch in appreciation of their dedication to helping the community. The team started planning and began with a bake sale to sell goodies to their families. Then their moms (including some Stony Brook staff members) joined in by posting on social media, and the fundraising took off. The girls teamed up with Mangiamo’s Restaurant in Ronkonkoma, which provides the meals directly to the healthcare workers. While the girls themselves could not be involved with delivering the food for safety reasons, they were happy to see photos of staff with their meals and the thank you cards they made for them.
Once a Seawolf, Always a Seawolf
Four young mathematicians — Li Long, Yao Chengjian, Wang Bing and Cai Minglian — have stepped up to donate more than 11,000 surgical masks to the University. An incredible gesture, made even more impressive as the mathematicians are all currently living abroad and had to overcome considerable shipping challenges to get the masks safely into the hands of Stony Brook University Hospital essential workers and staff who work in the Department of Mathematics.
According to their friend and colleague, Professor Xiuxiong Chen from the Department, the group of two graduates and two visiting researchers had “a great time while they studied or visited Stony Brook, and they wanted very much to do their share. They have tried their best to help our Department and the University get through this difficult period.”
The Department was home to Li Long and Yao Chengjian for many years as they earned their PhDs in Mathematics in 2014 and 2015, respectively. Wang Bing, PhD, was a research assistant at the Simons Center for Geometry and Physics from 2011 to 2012 and Cai Minglian, PhD, was a visiting professor in the Department.
For many years, Beverly Rivera was Stony Brook University’s Registrar and was known for being kind, friendly and concerned about her staff and students. Now many years after her retirement from the University, she is still trying to help others, this time by organizing a fundraiser in her Central Islip neighborhood. She and her husband raised over $700 and were able to provide three breakfast deliveries to Hospital staff through Meal Train. “Our family and neighbors were so generous,” Rivera said. “Everybody that helped us wanted to do something and didn’t know what to do. We did everything through Bagel Express, and they were wonderful.”
And Rivera isn’t stopping there. She recently purchased a sewing machine and has started making masks.
Dedicated to Serve
Christopher Lyons, a member of the Cops Helping Cops organization, is relentless when it comes to helping his community. Since his wife Vicky is a nurse at Stony Brook University Hospital, Lyons has adopted the University’s cause to provide its frontline healthcare providers and their patients with personal protection equipment and comfort items. Lyons, a specialist in search and rescue, convinced friends and other organizations to donate the much needed and appreciated items. He rallied Walmart to donate sweatpants for patients and chocolates for nurses and doctors. And he worked with a local agency to provide Stony Brook with 5,000 three-ply masks, 200 N95 masks and two boxes of hand sanitizers. Lyons is committed to helping out hospitals and nursing homes across Long Island and in the city, showing daily how kindness can impact the world for the better.
The response to the call for donations has helped Stony Brook University Hospital through a very challenging time, and the campus community is very grateful for the support. The donation site will be closing on May 15, 2020. Please email COVID19donations@stonybrook.edu if you would like to donate before then.
— Shelley Catalano