Photo by: SARA ALVES/OPEN MEDIA GROUP

X-ray unit donated to Faro Hospital after Algarve residents raise over €400,000 for coronavirus fight

A portable X-ray unit was delivered to Faro Hospital on Tuesday morning (April 7) by the Algarve Biomedical Centre (ABC), thanks to a fundraising initiative created by the ‘Helping Algarve’ movement, which has already raised over €400,000 to buy much-needed equipment for health professionals in the Algarve.

The movement is made up of around 60 foreign residents in the Algarve, most of whom from Quinta do Lago, who have banded together to help the region’s health services face the coronavirus pandemic.

In just over a week, the group was able to raise over €350,000. The sum has already topped €400,000 according to the group’s GoFundMe page, which has opened up the fundraiser to anyone interested in making a donation.

Douglas Irvine, spokesperson for the group, told the Resident that it all started as a “handful of like-minded friends who wanted to help medical workers who are putting their lives at risk every day”.

“We pledged to help them and agreed that working with ABC would be the fastest route to doing so,” he said.

While the initial group included mostly foreign residents from Quinta do Lago, it quickly grew to include people from all over the Algarve, including many Portuguese nationals and companies.

“Very quickly, the Quinta do Lago resort came in and gave a very generous donation which we would like to thank them for. Several other generous anonymous donations have also been made,” he added.

Douglas confirmed that the sum raised so far is at around €400,000, although the group expects to see it increase thanks to the GoFundMe page.

“So often in these modern times, it seems like we don’t look after each other anymore. It is great to see that the community here in the Algarve still does,” he added.

Earlier this week, Douglas had said in a statement that everyone can help by “donating money to the health system locally for the frontline professionals”.

“It is what we have done. We have united around a cause that, while having been created by a foreign resident community, will help the whole population,” he added.

Douglas described the donation of the portable X-ray unit as the “first demonstration of the efficiency” of the initiative, with the plan being to continue raising money to purchase even more equipment.

All donations go the Algarve Biomedical Centre (ABC), the consortium which is leading many of the region’s initiatives to contain the pandemic and is able to supply the Algarve University Hospital Centre (which manages the region’s three public hospitals) with “adequate protective clothing for health professionals as well as ventilators and any other equipment needed” to fight the pandemic.

“We are liaising with ABC directly,” Douglas told us, adding that it is the centre that contacts with the hospitals to find out what pieces of equipment are badly needed.

“Recently, we have offered to pay for the installation of a CT scanner, which would be quite a large donation. We are expecting to have more news in the coming weeks,” he said.

Says the group, “ABC bypasses the normal administrative red tape of the hospital system, so it can get the funds and equipment where they are needed a lot quicker than normal.

“Commissioned by the government for some time to provide Covid-19 equipment and testing, ABC as a public entity is bound by a legal duty of transparency on where all donations go and how they are invested,” it explains.

Together, the members of the group appeal to everyone who can to donate.

“If each of us donates meaningfully, we can make a huge difference, help save many lives and protect our community and loved ones. Lastly, do not sit back having made a donation, please ask others to donate to this cause. Spread the word, not the virus.”

(Click here) to make a donation on the group’s GoFundMe page. You can also follow the group’s Instagram page at ‘Covid19_Algarve’.

People can also transfer their donations directly to the Algarve Biomedical Centre’s bank account.

Transfers made from Portugal:
Name: Algarve Biomedical Centre
IBAN: PT50 0035 0303 0010 5008 130 31
Reference: “FTC” and then your name
For international transfers:
Name: AD CENTRO ACADEMICO IFBA AD ABC
Reference: “FTC” and then your name
Account: 0303105008130 – EUR – Contra Extracto
IBAN: PT50 0035 0303 0010 5008 130 31
BIC/SWIFT: CGDIPTPL
BANK: Av. João XXl, no 63, 1000-300 LISBOA

michael.bruxo@algarveresident.com