Olympic medalists Maia and Alex Shibutani launched a GoFundMe Charity with GetUsPPE to address the declining personal protective equipment (PPE) needed by frontline workers during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The “Shib Sibs”, who share five Olympic medals, raised almost $27,000 out of their $30,000 goal since launching their campaign on April 2. The siblings said they both donated $1,000 each and extended their initial goal of $10,000 to $30,000 due to the positive response.
They wanted to pour their resources and time into doing whatever was necessary to help, Maia told NextShark.
“When we heard about the lack of PPE, we felt a mix of emotions – disbelief, frustration, fear, admiration, and the need to act,” she said. “Food security, education, employment, and supporting small businesses are all issues that we care about, but without having healthy healthcare workers, it’s difficult to imagine any of the other issues being resolved.”
GetUsPPE is an organization created by Emergency Medical physicians Dr. Esther Choo, Dr. Megan Ranney and Dr. Shuhan He in response to the diminishing amount of PPE supplies, according to the campaign page.
The organization is partnering with the Shibutanis as well as other grassroots campaigns to ensure that their mission was directly addressed.
“At this point in the pandemic, many people and organizations have set up systems to support a variety of important causes. Start by educating yourself on the issues, and then research the organizations and funds,” they said.
The founders have been actively using social media to spread their campaign in an amazing way, Alex said. Dr. Shuhan also emphasized the hard work the siblings put in.
“The hope of GetUsPPE has always been to empower individuals to take action, and to demonstrate that none of us are alone in this crisis. Maia and Alex exemplify these values,” Dr. Shuhan said. “However, we’re equally grateful for and impressed by the level of engagement that they’ve inspired in everyday Americans who want to help. This is the true impact of Maia and Alex’s efforts.”
The efforts have given the siblings purpose, Maia said.
“Every day, I am motivated to follow a routine so that I can support the GetUsPPE team as much as possible. They are a coalition of volunteers. Right now, Alex and I are volunteers, too,” she said.
When asked what message the siblings may have for our readers, they said to think and connect with each other.
Maia and Alex said this generation has never experienced anything like COVID-19 before, and they had a message for all our readers in this crisis:
“While we are sheltering in place and social distancing, it’s okay to feel sad, lonely, and stressed. When you do, ask for help. We all need to look out for each other. Check in with your friends and family and find ways to stay positive, connected, and engaged.
When we’re facing adversity, we always try to remember and think about what we’re grateful for. Having gratitude and expressing it can empower you to believe that there is something you can do to help yourself and other people. Please continue to follow social distancing guidelines, wear masks, and wash your hands well. We may be apart for the time being, but we all have a responsibility to do our best to work together. We can get through this!”