The COVID-19 pandemic has had a way of bringing people, and companies, together.
This rings particularly true in Fargo, North Dakota.
Recently, volunteers from Microsoft’s Fargo campus donated 2,000 3D mask mates to Sanford Health‘s Fargo campuses. A mask mate allows nurses to tie masks around their head instead of their ears, which can be painful if worn for an extended period of time. The two ear loops hook onto the narrow mask mate band in the back of the head.
Where it came from
The idea stemmed from Microsoft technical advisor Ryan Borstelmann, who’s married to Brandi Borstelmann, a registered nurse at the Sanford Roger Maris Cancer Infusion Center in Fargo.
“I actually saw it on the internet of all places. Somebody had posted on Reddit and said, ‘Hey, I donated a couple hundred of these to my local hospital.’ It was on a Sunday afternoon, and she (Brandi) was working Monday morning.”
“I asked, ‘Hey, what are the thoughts of you guys using something like this? I know a bunch of people with 3D printers,'” Ryan said.
He used his 3D printer to make “a quick batch of 50” for Brandi’s center.
Brandi says throughout the pandemic, Sanford Health hasn’t experienced a supply shortage, but these ear savers provide a luxury other masks don’t.
“They’re really comfy,” she said.
“It’s not necessarily whether we need it. I think it’s just something easy that these guys can do. Our ears aren’t bleeding and they’re not falling off, but it’s just such a nice gesture.”
Small start, big finish
What started at 50 quickly grew into the thousands.
“We received about 2,000 so far. They asked us initially how many we would like. It’s such a nice gesture of theirs. It’s almost tough to ask for a total of number of what would be helpful,” said Clint Rossland, a health systems engineer for Sanford Health.
“We said we have about 10,000 employees in Fargo, and every person is going to be wearing a mask, so it really could benefit every employee.”
And every employee now has a mask. Ryan dropped off their final batch of straps May 21st, putting meeting the goal of 10,000.
But why stop at there?
“The results were extremely positive. Here we are, coming up on 13,000 for Sanford, and a couple other places as well,” Ryan said.
Despite the large number, the Borstelmanns say it’s still a small gesture.
But, Brandi said, in times like these, small gestures still make big differences.
“It doesn’t have to be something even physical. Even just things that people say is enough to make your day better.”
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