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Monday 25 January 2021

Medical students lead national Covid-19 fundraiser

Two undergraduates are raising money in their capacity as members of the British International Doctors Association Student Wing

Two University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) medical students are leading a national fundraiser to help the families of healthcare workers who have died from Covid-19.

Sai Pillarisetti and Mustafa Boorenie want to raise money for those who were fighting on the frontline during the second wave of the pandemic.

The duo, who are in their fourth year of their Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS) course, are leading the drive in their capacity as members of the British International Doctors Association (BIDA) Student Wing.

Sai, Founder and President BIDA Student Wing, said: “As student doctors, we feel strongly in paying tribute to the families of our brave NHS healthcare workers who have sacrificed their lives in their selfless service to our nation and we hope you will join us by contributing to our cause.”

"As student doctors, we feel strongly in paying tribute to the families of our brave NHS healthcare workers who have sacrificed their lives in their selfless service to our nation"

Sai Pillarisetti, fourth year medical student

A British Medical Association report has revealed that while 21% of all NHS healthcare workers are Black, Asian or Minority Ethnic (BAME), 63% of frontline Covid-19 deaths were from the BAME community. Sadly, these figures are even more pronounced in the medical doctor community where 44% of NHS doctors are BAME, but 95% of doctor deaths were BAME individuals.

Sai commented: “These miserable statistics desperately highlight the need for organisations like BIDA to step in and continue to fulfil their long-established duty, by coming to the aid of its stakeholders. The BIDA Student Wing was inspired by our parent organisation’s heart-warming tribute and this time, we would like to take the lead in fundraising for this noble cause.

“Whether Covid-19 discriminates based on race is up for discussion, we will not make that distinction with regards to our proceeds and we intend to donate the money raised to the families of BAME and non-BAME healthcare workers who sadly died fighting on the frontline during the second wave of the pandemic.”

In addition to collecting donations via Justgiving, they are launching a creative philanthropy initiative. Students from across the UK are invited to submit BAME related artwork, illustrations or photographs which represent the theme 'Beauty in Diversity'.

"As a medical student, I see how Covid-19 has affected the NHS first-hand. And I know this is a difficult time for many people, especially those who lost loved ones in this pandemic"

Mustafa Boorenie, fourth year medical student

The project is running until mid-April and there will be prizes for the winning pieces of artwork. The BAME themed pieces of artwork will be sold to BIDA members to display in their GP Surgeries and NHS Trusts and the proceeds will also be added to the fundraiser.

Mustafa, National Outreach Officer of the BIDA Student Wing, said: “As a medical student, I see how Covid-19 has affected the NHS first-hand. And I know this is a difficult time for many people, especially those who lost loved ones in this pandemic. Thus, it is also the time where we must extend our support to those who sacrificed the most. I am proud to be part of this movement and hope that everyone can join our mission to immortalise our legends using the power of art, and the beauty within diversity.”

Dr Chandra Kanneganti, BIDA National Chairman and Deputy Lord Mayor for Stoke-on-Trent City Council, added: “All of us at BIDA are very proud of this initiative being launched by our newly formed Student Wing. The legacy of our Covid heroes who fought on the front lines must never be forgotten and this fundraiser to support their families is a wonderful tribute. I am sure that our cause will resonate with others and we hope they will join us in supporting the families of our fallen heroes.”

Details about how to submit artwork to the project can be found on the BIDA website.

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