GLENDALE, AZ — Hospitals more than ever are trying to help families stay connected with their loved ones but, that is not always feasible. A Valley woman has decided to help in the effort, after seeing first-hand the impact COVID-19 has had.
Whitney Yates says her father Michael has been fighting COVID-19 at Banner Thunderbird in Glendale since January 6. The hardest part she says is not being by his side.
"Hard. You can't call them, you can't hear their voice, so it's difficult. It's actually the most difficult thing I think I've ever gone through,” says Yates.
In speaking with nurses, Yates says she learned the ICU only had a few iPads available. She says there is even a waitlist for families which in some cases, is the only means of communication with their loved ones.
"The nurses are doing a fabulous job trying to be there for the family; they're basically the family replacement right now. They are doing everything they can to make that normal but it will never be the same. So, the iPad kind of helps alleviate some of the pain the family is going through,” says Yates.
In that moment, Yates felt that she could turn her struggle into a solution. She is hoping to not just help her family but many others. Yates is collecting iPads, hoping to get one into every room of the ICU.
"I thought what an easy way to help alleviate a family's pain. It’s painful when you don't, you're not there and you just get one call a day. If you could spend as much time as you want on that call, how nice would it be,” says Yates.
Yates says her father has always been a philanthropist, on the board of the Make-A-Wish Foundation and Phoenix Children’s for many years. It’s only fitting the family would do this in his honor.
"He would love this idea, helping other people and trying to make the situation better,” says Yates.
They have collected around 25 iPads so far and hoping for many more. Family and friends have been dropping them off at Michael’s long-time business, a car dealership in Goodyear. If successful, Yates is planning to expand the idea to other hospitals, helping more families in need.
"In the chance that he can hear us, we want him to know we're there,” says Yates.
To help in the Yates Family iPad Drive, you can drop off at:
Yates Buick GMC
13845 W. Test Dr.
Goodyear, AZ 85338
Any used, refurbished or new iPads are appreciated and will be dropped off at Banner Thunderbird in Glendale. A live submission form will be on the business website: yatesbuickgmc.com.
Banner Health says anyone looking to make any type of donation on their own, must fill out a Gift in Kind form through the Banner Health Foundation.