'The world needs strong leaders': Alberta's medical face of COVID-19 shines light in dark times
'What would Dr. Hinshaw do?' T-shirt raises thousands for food banks and hungry schoolchildren
A Calgary school's assistant principal was so inspired by the daily COVID-19 updates from Alberta's chief medical officer of health she came up with a shirt that is raising thousands of dollars for children and food banks across the province.
"She is just so remarkable in the way she manages this massive amount of information in a way that makes people feel calm and supported," Alison Van Rosendaal told CBC News.
"She does it with a generosity of spirit."
Van Rosendaal says Dr. Deena Hinshaw is more than just a reliable source of information many Albertans have come to count on.
"The world needs strong leaders. Recently, leadership has become this highly-politicized, binary, shallow, partisan phenomenon. In Dr. Hinshaw, we see someone who is deeply immersed in high-quality information who is not discriminating between individuals in society," Van Rosendaal said.
"She's making decisions about the greater good and doing things with an abundance of care."
One night last week, Van Rosendaal tossed and turned in bed, until an idea came to her.
"At 2:30 in the morning I took a screen capture of Dr. Hinshaw, traced it, made the caption and emailed it to a T-shirt company, asking for 10 of them," she explained.
Van Rosendaal thought she would take two or three of them and auction off the rest.
That was, until her sister, noted food columnist and regular CBC News contributor Julie Van Rosendaal, tweeted the design and got things rolling.
You guys, LOOK WHAT MY SISTER MADE!! <a href="https://twitter.com/CMOH_Alberta?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@CMOH_Alberta</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/drhinshaw?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#drhinshaw</a> <a href="https://t.co/VeeSztJEsi">pic.twitter.com/VeeSztJEsi</a>—@dinnerwithjulie
"There was a rush of interest," Van Rosendaal said.
That initial 10 she had in mind, quickly turned into about 750 based purely on demand, within 12 hours of a fundraising website a Red Deer friend set up for her.
As of Sunday afternoon, Van Rosendaal had sold about $9,000 in T-shifts with proceeds going to food banks and programs that address food insecurity among schoolchildren.
'What would Dr. Hinshaw do?' was a no-brainer, Van Rosendaal said, because it works on so many levels.
"Her responses are completely non-judgmental," Van Rosendaal said.
"They invite us to be our best selves and take care of one another without judging or excluding anyone."
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Dr. Hinshaw says fundraisers like Van Rosendaal's are fine if they are carefully monitored.
"I am aware of a number of fundraising campaigns that are using my image to bring attention to COVID-19 and support charitable organizations. I am supportive of these type of initiatives if proceeds go to charities and not for personal gain or profit," Hinshaw wrote in a emailed statement to CBC News.
"We are all in this together, and we all need to do our part in response."
It is by helping one another that we will overcome <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/COVID19AB?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#COVID19AB</a>.<br><br>I would like to call on Albertans to share the acts of kindness that they have experienced in their community during this difficult time.<br><br>Please join me in using <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/AlbertaCares?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#AlbertaCares</a> to spread some light.—@CMOH_Alberta
Van Rosendaal has a statement for Hinshaw, too.
"I want to be her when I grow up," Van Rosendaal said.
"She is the leader I aspire to be."