A Member Of The TRP Community Won’t Let A Pandemic Stop Her From Care Mongering
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MHSc in Translational Research

While we are encouraged to stay home as much as we can during the COVID-19 pandemic, there are many situations in which volunteers can make a difference.
When Saddaf Syed heard about the impact of Covid-19 on her community, she wanted to do something. Syed works with the Arts & Science Coop team at UTSC, but this past fall, she also graduated from the Translational Research Program, with a master’s degree from U of T, the Institute of Medical Sciences. She started doing research to find out what health care workers needed and reached out to doctors she knew at Michael Garron hospital to ask exactly that.
The hospital jumped on the offer, putting out a challenge to have 1,000 masks made in a week. Syed was up for it and got the ball rolling with calls to a few friends, asking if they could help too. “I told them, ‘I really want to do this!’ and drummed up enough interest to get 25 women on board,” she says. “We raised funds, got supplies, and began the mission.” With a few sleepless nights, a drive to make it happen, and dedicated women wanting to make a difference, the mission began.
Um, one problem, though. Syed isn’t actually a sewer. But when her mom came to visit from England, she bought her a sewing machine. That was 15 years ago. Syed dusted it off and got to work, making more than 70 masks herself. In a week, 1,000 masks were ready.
“Stitching was never my thing, but I wanted to do everything, to make a difference,” she says. Using patterns sent by the hospital, she put her mind to it and got it done. “When I told my mom, she was thrilled that the sewing machine came in handy for a good cause!”
Syed and a few friends collected the masks from the women and arranged for pickup from the hospital (the hospital would handle sanitizing the masks before use), and they received a huge thank you from the director. In addition to the masks, they also collected more than $300, which they donated to Lakeridge Health. “I was happy we were able to make a bit of a dent in helping others who are helping us,” she says.
The original article was written by Donna Paris of UTSC and you can find the complete article here