Fundraiser honours step-father, will help buy PPE for other respiratory therapists

A fundraiser has been created by a former Sudbury resident who says it's to honour her step-father, a now-retired respiratory therapist (RT). Christa Pare says the Nam Le Respiratory Therapist PPE fundraiser will raise money to buy personal protective equipment for other RTs at Health Sciences North.

The Nam Le Respiratory Therapist PPE fundraiser to raise money to buy personal protective equipment

Nam Le was working as a respiratory therapist in Sudbury during the SARS outbreak. He is seen here in this picture from 2003, wearing his personal protective equipment. He is retired now. (Supplied by Christa Pare)

A former Sudbury resident has created a fundraiser to help respiratory therapists (RTs) at Health Sciences North.

Christa Pare started a GoFundMe page to raise money for the hospital in Sudbury to purchase personal protective equipment (PPE) for those working in the respiratory therapy department.

The fundraiser is called the Nam Le Respiratory Therapist PPE fundraiser, named in honour of her step-father, a now-retired respiratory therapist.

Respiratory therapists are one of several types of health care workers on the front-line of the COVID-19 pandemic, as the virus is a respiratory illness.

"It's the respiratory therapists that are in the thick of things," Pare said.

"I wouldn't want any of his former co-workers to not have the protective equipment they need." 

In just two weeks, Pare has raised more than half of her $1,000 goal on the fundraiser.

Nam Le is a retired respiratory therapist, who worked at all three sites of the hospital in Sudbury, which is now known as Health Sciences North. (Robin De Angelis/CBC)

Before he retired a few years ago, Le spent most of his years as an RT working at the three former hospital sites in Sudbury, now known at Health Sciences North.

Pare says Le also has quite an amazing personal history too, coming to Canada from Vietnam in 1979.

He was a doctor in his home country, but went back to Canadian medical school to re-certify. Canada is also where Le went to school to specialize in respiratory therapy.

Pare calls her step-father an amazing man and 'the most shining example of a true professional in his field."

Le worked during the SARS outbreak, and so knows the importance of wearing PPE to stay protected from threats like COVID-19.

"We should have inventory for this kind of thing," Pare said in reference to having enough PPE for all health care workers.

"We should have learned from SARS, but since we haven't we have to take some responsibility to make sure these people have the protective equipment they need, cause too many of us are dying, and the health care workers are a big part of it."

"The second part of [the campaign] was just my thought that people don't really know what respiratory technologists are or respiratory therapists are," Pare said.

She wants more people to know about the important work RTs are doing during this health crisis. That's why she's partnered with the Canadian Society of Respiratory Therapists for the awareness piece of the campaign.

Pare says she wants more people to know about the "incredibly difficult job [respiratory therapists] are doing every day".

"They're the ones doing the intubation; they're the ones that are doing the oxygen; they're the ones that are clearing the lungs."

"They deal with COVID-19 every single day, and they should not be without any personal protective equipment," Pare said.

"It is essential for their health."

With files from Angela Gemmill


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