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Push-Ups For Our Hospitals

The simple push-up is being used by one Irish athlete to get people helping intensive care units in hospitals. It’s an Instagram challenge with a difference, and an easy way for us to fight Coronavirus without even leaving the house.

Emmy Coffey-Nguyen is better known to sports fans for her high-jump skills but as she says we can all do a push-up. Her message is simple: Push-Up, Nominate, Share, Donate.

You can share your videos to her Instagram account here, and donate to a GoFundMe page here.

So far there is over €2,600 in the fund, so why should you get involved?

Emmy says: “There are a lot of challenges around online, I wanted to do something with a purpose behind it. We’re all at home at the moment, that’s doing one thing to flatten the curve. I felt so helpless, I wanted to do more.”

When she started the Challenge on St Patrick’s Day, her focus was first on fundraising for ventilators. The HSE said a few weeks ago they had just 500 ventilators nationally, and at that point the government was predicting up to 15,000 cases by the end of this month. About 20% of cases get so sick they need a ventilator to help them breathe.

Since the campaign got going, Emmy has been in touch with the fundraisers at the Mercy Hospital in Cork and the Mater Hospital in Dublin. They will be two of the main centres for treating patients with Coronvirus.

She says: “After talking to them, what really stood out for me was the lack of support for healthcare workers. One hospital has just one psychologist on duty for all of the staff, I can’t imagine the stress they are under.”

So the money you raise now with your push-ups is going straight to the ICU units in these hospitals, and they will use it either for equipment or to support staff. Coronavirus cases from all over Leinster and Munster will be sent to these two hospitals.

Emmy will get a detailed breakdown from them on where the money goes, and that will be shared on her Instagram for everyone to read.

She works with Saleforce now, but in a past career working with UNICEF she spent time in West Africa. Countries like Sierra Leone were devastated in 2015 by the Ebola outbreak so Emmy knows exactly how bad things could get here if we don’t contain Coronavirus.

“We can make a difference. It’s been so nice getting messages on Instagram from people doing the challenge, one guy said he feels better someone is doing this. Another said his sister is a nurse in the Mater so this is his way of helping. I hope everyone feels their push-ups can make an impact,” she said.

There’s no set amount expected, donations online at the GoFundME page so far range from €5 to €100 so whatever you can manage, she says.

And from Cork Dr Helen Richards, clinical psychologist at the Mercy hospital says: “Protecting the mental health of frontline staff is important for the control of COVID-19 and the care of patients in the weeks and months ahead, and for the long-term mental health of staff.”

Lots of us clapped and cheered out the window on Thursday evening for the HSE staff. This is a way to do something else to help them.

“It’s for a serious purpose, but it’s not all serious,” Emmy says. “My granny did arm push-ups with Cadbury’s mini-rolls, it’s not a push-up but the donation is still valid. Someone else dressed up like a super-hero for the video. It’s all good.”

Follow Emmy on Instagram here

Donate on GoFundMe here:

Emmy Coffey Nguyen
The campaign was started by Emma Coffey Nguyen (pictured).

Niamh Griffin (IG: @realgirlsport)

Niamh Griffin is a sports journalist who previously competed in MuayThai. Niamh has a huge passion for sports and is keen share the stories of women in sport to inspire the future generation. Instagram: @realgirlsport

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