OLD WESTBURY, N.Y., April 29, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- What started as a casual conversation between two lifelong friends, one an ER doctor and hospital administrator, the other a recently retired business owner, has grown into a nationwide network of volunteers who send daily get well cards to Northwell Health's New York hospitals. In less than two weeks, over 700 uplifting cards have been printed for free from the OperationGetWell.com website and distributed to patients at several hospitals including North Shore University Hospital in Manhasset. Each day, a different hospital in the Northwell system receives a set of cards for patients who are unable to receive visitors due to COVID-19.
Paula Rosenthal and Teresa Murray Amato met in the late 1970's at what was then known as Jericho Junior High School. They have remained close friends for nearly 40 years as they each nurtured their careers and raised families. Dr. Amato is currently the Chair of Emergency Medicine at Northwell, LIJ – Forest Hills and Ms. Rosenthal has owned several businesses, most recently a gift business, but has since retired. During a recent conversation, Ms. Rosenthal, who was finding it difficult to be idle as the pandemic crisis unfolded, asked what she could do to be of assistance. "You know," Dr. Amato replied, "patients aren't able to have visitors. It would be nice for them to receive get well cards." They hung up the phone and Ms. Rosenthal and her husband, Howard, immediately got to work. While he coded a custom website, she started designing bright and colorful get well cards with messages of comfort. With the help of Facebook and other social media she has been actively promoting Operation Get Well. In less than two weeks she has amassed over 200 members in the Operation Get Well Facebook group. Members are assisting by sending cards, sharing posts and submitting new card designs.
Cards have come from many states around the country and teachers nationwide have assigned Operation Get Well submissions as classroom assignments. They're cheering up not only patients, but also hospital staff and the people who send them. "In a time fraught with anxiety, feeling helpful and expressing empathy is important for those who can only sit on the sidelines as we watch our healthcare and first responder communities handle the crisis," said Ms. Rosenthal. She plans to continue the initiative until hospitalized patients are able to receive visitors from family and friends again.
To send free get well cards, visit the website at OperationGetWell.com. Operation Get Well has set up a fundraising team for Northwell Health's COVID-19 Emergency Fund to raise money for COVID-19 research. Visit https://www.northwellcovid.com/team/operationgetwell and click on the "Support Us" button to make a donation.
SOURCE Operation Get Well