Helping people cope with traumatic circumstances. Providing support to help businesses and individuals through the unexpected. Sharing expertise when everything seems like a big unknown.
As an insurance company, Zurich Canada knows about managing risk and helping people and businesses cope when the unthinkable happens. So when the company was considering how to make a difference to the COVID-19 response in Alberta, it decided to support the critical needs of patients, residents and families at Covenant hospitals and continuing care facilities.
“Canadian frontline health workers obviously are caught in a fight with COVID-19 and need our support,” says Ray Chaaya, employee experience and culture lead with Zurich Canada. “They are tired and anxious, and yet every day they go back to work to protect us. So, we just felt strongly about protecting them, too.”
Zurich Canada employs about 400 employees across the country, including in Edmonton and Calgary, and Chaaya says the company has been eager to make a difference and help support the health of fellow Canadians.
They’ve been creative with their fundraising, including a project where employees were asked to share photos of themselves staying physically active. For each photo, the company made a donation on their behalf. The company’s private foundation, Z Zurich Foundation, also supported the $15,000 gift.
The important role that Covenant has in providing care at both acute care hospitals and to seniors and others in continuing care facilities is at the root of Zurich Canada’s decision to give to Covenant Foundation.
“The pandemic is affecting many of our most vulnerable citizens, especially older adults,” Chaaya adds.
“Our patients, our residents and their families are our first priority and this donation goes a long way in helping us achieve what we are here to do,” says Lynn Klein, senior director of operations for Edmonton General Continuing Care Centre.
Gifts to support the COVID-19 response by Covenant also make a tremendous impact on the efforts of people like Chelsy Vanderberg, who works as a nurse in the emergency department at Covenant Health’s Grey Nuns Community Hospital.
Vanderberg says the emotional struggle facing nurses like herself has been one of the most difficult challenges in the ED where she’s worked for nearly a decade. She used to find strength with a simple smile from a colleague. Now Vanderberg and her colleagues have to be creative at supporting each other and their patients from behind the mask.
“I’ll walk in and I’ll say, ‘Hello, my name is Chelsy. I’m going to be your nurse today. I’m smiling underneath this mask,’” she describes.
“Because it’s little things like that I think that just give people a tiny bit of comfort. That they realize there is a human, there is a person with compassion behind that mask because it’s really scary for people to come into an emergency department for anything, how big or how small, it’s terrifying and I think it’s really hard when they can’t see what you’re feeling.”
It’s the kindness of people and organizations like Zurich Canada that’s making the challenges of working the frontlines a little easier for Vanderberg and her colleagues.
“I don’t know that it’s anything but overwhelming,” Vanderberg says. “A lot of us go into these careers with the idea that I just want to help people. I just want to be there for people in their toughest times of need…so for someone to come forward and thank us, I’m just speechless.”
Please join Zurich Canada and others supporting the COVID-19 response in Alberta by clicking here to make a gift today. We are all in this together – and together we can make a real difference. Thank you for supporting our patients and residents in need.
Written by: Laura Ehrkamp