Thanks to the hard work of a Dawson County man and dozens of generous community members, the Intensive Care Unit at Northside Hospital Forsyth now has iPads for each of its 24 rooms.
After Rick Wiggins of Dawsonville recovered from COVID-19 in July, he vowed to raise money and donate it to the local hospital, so other people recovering from the virus would be able to Facetime their friends and family outside of the hospital. Earlier this month, Wiggins was able to not only meet his fundraising goal, he exceeded it, and presented hospital staff with one iPad and a check for $8,000, enough to buy 24 more.
He and his wife personally delivered an iPad and check to ICU staff, which Wiggins said was a great experience.
“I went down to the hospital and the director of the ICU and quite a few of the ICU nurses came down, so I was able to tell my story and a lot of them remembered me,” Wiggins said. “My wife and I told them how we had [gotten Covid-19] and expressed to them how appreciative we were of how much they had done for our family and all the families.”
Wiggins said that both he and the ICU staff were surprised by how quickly they were able to raise money for the iPads.
“The director of nurses said that when I first called her she didn’t expect me to raise the money that quick, so when I called them back and told them I had the check they were ecstatic,” Wiggins said. “It was a very humbling day; I was very pleased at the outreach of people that made donations and helped me to exceed my goal in such a short time.”
Wiggins said that once the check is spent and the iPads delivered to the hospital, he is looking forward to hearing back from the ICU staff.
“I’m anxious for them to call me once they get all the iPads in and in place,” Wiggins said. “They’re gonna send me some photos and then my whole family is gonna go down once they place them all to see what we did.”
For Wiggins, the thing he is happiest about is being able to make a positive impact on patients who are currently going through what he endured.
“We knew that this was something that needs to be done for the patients to be able to stay in contact with their families because they’re still not allowing families in to be with their loved ones,” Wiggins said. “That was my goal to try and ease the pain of the families not being able to be together.”
Story by Erica Schmidt, Dawson County News