Flatbush resident Shelley Worrell is fundraising for 20 tablet computers so that coronavirus patients who are near the end of life can video conference and look into their their loved ones’ eyes at least one last time.

COVID-19 patients are mandated to hospitalize alone to curb the spread of the virus– a very heartbreaking aspect of the disease for both patients and their family members.

The request for the tablets initially was introduced to Worrell by Brookdale Hospital’s Board Chair. Worrelll, who is the founder of I Am Caribbeing and Caribbeing Inc., a Brooklyn-based lifestyle brand that highlights Caribbean culture, felt it was a vital issue to solve, and quickly began working to fund this cause on behalf of her organization.

Brookdale Hospital hopes to receive 20 new tablets in upcoming weeks.
Photo credit: Millenium Medical Solutions Corp

She launched a GoFundMe campaign created only earlier this week which is now rapidly approaching its goal of $4,740 goal.

“I know what it feels like to have a loved one die alone. It is something that just should not have to happen, said Worrell. “This personally resonated with me, as someone who was unable to connect with [my] loved one during those moments.”

Initial efforts of the campaign included trying to source the tablets from tech companies, but that proved a  challenge, as many were “not allocating resources towards these issues” they said, an interesting response coming from multi million-dollar tech companies, given the magnitude of the virus’s grip on the planet.

After no proven success calling tech companies, the campaign took to GoFundMe and started with the goal of 20 tablets. Residents responded quickly, donating from $10 to $250.

Recently, Kings Plaza reached out to Caribbeing to donate 10 tablets to the fund, leaving Caribbeing to fund just 10 to 12 remaining tablets. Worrell says she has no plans to expand the current GoFundMe campaign, as already, it has met its goal of 20 to 23 tablets. Unless and until, of course, they receive another request.

And while Worrell and Caribbeing are grateful for those who have donated and hope the tablets bring some relief and joy to those who patients and relatives dealing with the virus, Worrell says enough praise cannot be given to the healthcare staff and first responders who are working around the clock to save lives.

“I just want to say thank you to the workers at Brookdale and to everyone on the front lines for the work they are doing,” said Worrell. “Not just for the safety of their patients who are affected, but [also for] their colleagues and friends.”

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Kimberlean Donis

Kimberlean Donis is a journalist based in Brooklyn. She is a student at Williams College majoring in Political Science and Art History.

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