BY Ama Nunoo, 12:02pm May 11, 2020,

Ajón Crump, the woman donating free sneakers to nurses fighting coronavirus

Ajón Crump, Photo: Twitter

A woman in New York is raising funds to get nurses across the country comfortable footwear with her ‘Nikes for Nurses’ campaign. Up until the coronavirus pandemic hit its peak, many underrated the importance of healthcare workers, especially nurses, but most of these nurses are up on their feet most part of the day.

The world is going through a phase that has many front line workers constantly putting themselves at risk to try and restore things to the way they used to be.

The adverse effects of working in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic has taken a toll on many health care workers aside the risk of being directly exposed to it. According to a new research, many of them have developed mental health related issues.

Ajón Crump is the brain behind the ‘Nikes for Nurses’ campaign, which she launched mid-April that seeks to provide comfortable sneakers to nurses helping in the fight against the virus.

“My first goal was to help out in some way. It didn’t necessarily have to be in a large capacity—if I was delivering groceries, that would have been enough. And then my cousin mentioned that she wanted sneakers for her birthday, and she’s an R.N. in Florida. So, that was the first moment where I was just like, ‘Oh, nurses definitely need sneakers; [they’re] definitely an essential part of the uniform’”, Crump said.

This campaign fits right into the 2020 Nurses week from May 6 to May 12. However, the American Nurses Association believe the celebration should span the whole of May. Just as the Word Health Organisation has declared 2020 as the Year of the Nurse and Midwife.

The 26-year-old student is yet to officially hear from Nike about the campaign. “I am still working on that because any form of participation on Nike’s part would be greatly appreciated,” she said.

“I think that any form will maximize the awareness of what we’re doing, and that’s going to both bring us more donations and bring us more nurses that we can accommodate. So, if that happens, that would be certainly the icing on the cake to this whole experience,” she added.

Ajón Crump, the woman donating free sneakers to nurses fighting coronavirus
Photo: Ajón Crump

She chose to donate the Nike Air Zoom Winflo 5 because she believes they are best suited for the purpose she intends the sneakers to serve for the nurses.

“[Nike] is a company that I’ve always admired for their core values and how people-focused they are,” Crump said while taking a few minutes to chat by phone from her home in Long Island, N.Y., where she’s still working full-time.

“I really appreciate the role that they took in COVID-19 relief, even as it first started, when they mentioned that they were closing their stores and paying their retail employees. Those are all things that I like to see and all things that mirror the company that I work at, so that’s why Nike.”

When she began her project, she used social media to announce the sizes that were up for the giveaway, but now she takes custom orders with the help of her five-member all-female volunteers. Crump now adds personalised thank you cards to her recipients.

 “I love when loved ones of nurses reach out to me because then I can include part of their story in the thank-you card,” she said. “I wrap the boxes as if they’re Christmas presents.”

Since the inception of the campaign, Crump has solely relied on the benevolence of donors and with their help she delivered 70 pairs of sneakers bought at full price to nurses across the country in April alone. Her current target for her GoFundMe is $15,000 which will help to provide 200 sneakers to 200 nurses.

“I don’t plan on stopping really until I get to a point where I’m not receiving enough donations to really cover sneakers in a large scale—and even then, there’s really no reason to stop to me, even once the COVID-19 crisis is over; if it can really be over,” she stated.

“And then, even beyond that, I think we’ve gotten to the space where we’ve realized how important all health care officials are and essential workers are. Their experience, it’s not going to change what they’ve gone through just because it’s over. So, I think that they are always going to be deserving of new sneakers. If we could provide them, that’d be ideal.”

This philanthropist appreciates the support she has garnered since the campaign started and even more thankful to all the nurses and frontline workers because, according to her, they are the “heart and brain” trying to restore the world to normalcy and helping to keep us all alive.

“Honestly, we get good news every day,” she remarked. “I get a $1000 donor and I’m like, ‘Wow, people really understand what we’re doing.’ We think of essential workers and what the world needs to run right now, but really, they are that foundation. They are the bloodline—they are the heart, the brain, all of it—they’re the people that are really keeping us all alive,” she added.

Last Edited by:Kent Mensah Updated: May 11, 2020


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