Cambridgeshire couple’s visor venture – from their garage!

“I am exhausted! It’s like having a 2 year old again, you have to get up early to set everything up and get the printer going…but it’s more than worth it.

 

“It’s taking away the frustration during these times – it makes us feel like we’re actually helping to stop the spread of the virus and helping people who we all really need at the same time.”

Community aware couple, Sam and Steve Newland from Cambourne, felt so determined to try and make a difference during these challenging times, they set their minds to make a charity donation of a different kind. Utilsing a 40th birthday present of a 3-D printer that Sam gave to Steve (previously only used to make Star Wars toy guns and storm trooper masks), they set to work in their garage at home; printing and producing much needed visors for frontline medics.

Just a couple of weeks ago, Sam and Steve’s local charity Magpas Air Ambulance were in serious need of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), with supplies diminishing. During these unprecedented times, having the right PPE is crucial for the charity’s enhanced medical team to continue delivering vital, lifesaving medical treatments and interventions direct to the patient at the scene e.g. Aerosol Generating Procedures such as putting an Endotracheal tube in a seriously ill person’s Trachea (windpipe), to ensure vital oxygen gets into their lungs. Steve and Sam, who are both scientists by profession and used to working in labs wearing basic PPE (lab coats and safety glasses), fully appreciate the need for a well fitted protective kit; so, they decided to take their donation to a whole new level.

Wearing PPE can be hot, draining and stressful for a clinician; as they breathe out whilst wearing a FFP3 respiratory mask (for example), air escapes out of the bridge of the nose and this can cause normal glasses and protective goggles to fog up – which in turn can cause difficulties for the doctor or critical care paramedic, whilst trying to see a patient’s airway clearly. Specially designed visors can help to make a real difference and it’s these (community designed versions) that Sam and Steve chose to make.

Steve and Sam may have already had a 3-D printer, but they also needed the approporiate materials such as acetate and elastic, so they set up a GoFundMe page. To date, thanks to the generosity of many local individuals, an impressive £2,445.00 has been raised – by some people the couple already know and others they’ve never met before! The next step was to make sure they could make enough visors to go around (bearing in mind it takes 2 hours to make each visor); so Steve also reached out to his local 3-D printing community, in his area, to ask if anyone could help. Subsequently, 10 people who live in and around Cambourne (8 of whom Steve and Sam had never met before) have responded and donated their printers to enhance Sam and Steve’s visor making home hub!

The Newlands have since set up their own production line; after printing, they put the visor together (including an elastic fitting), Sam then sets to work disinfecting and packaging everything up; with their eldest daughter helping by making Mum a cup of tea along the way!

Almost 400 visors later and Sam and Steve explain how they feel about doing this (having also been up for most of the weekend just gone); “There are lots of people feeling as if they’re bouncing off the walls, who feel like they’re not able to actually make a difference. Doing this enables us to feel more healthy during these times and know that we’re helping someone somewhere.”

“It doesn’t matter that we don’t know them or may never meet them face to face…it just helps to know that we are able to help the Magpas Air Ambulance clinicians to continue providing A&E level care – without that added pressure of not having the right PPE equipment.”

The Newlands want to make it clear that this visor making mission has only been possible thanks to the generosity of those around them who have chosen to step in and help. Steve says, “This highlights how much of a connection you can make with the people around you…despite us all being socially isolated. This shows how our social presence can extend beyond the house…essentially, this is our way of giving back and our way of coping.”

Please support Magpas Air Ambulance during this national emergency: This is a difficult time for everyone. Our usual fundraising activity has stopped, but the Magpas medical team continue to work on the frontline, 24/7. As a charity, we need you now more than ever. We’ve created a virtual donation bucket so the communities we serve can still help to keep us flying: https://www.justgiving.com/campaign/magpasvirtualbuckets If everyone gives a little and shares a lot, with you, we can continue to save lives. Thank you.

This is a difficult time for everyone. Our usual fundraising activity has stopped, but the Magpas medical team continue to work on the frontline, 24/7. As a charity, we need you now more than ever.

We’ve created a virtual donation bucket so the communities we serve can still help to keep us flying. If everyone gives a little and shares a lot, with you, we can continue to save lives. Thank you.

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