After the closure of his school due to coronavirus concerns, 7-year-old Zohaib Begg decided to use his free time to help support local healthcare workers’ efforts.
Zohaib had the idea to visit hotels in his hometown, Ashburn, VA, in order to source protective gear like shower caps to be used as sanitary head covers in hospitals.
“It turns out that not only did the hotels have shower caps to donate, but they had a lot of gloves and face masks,” Zohaib’s mother, Isma Begg, said.
Half a dozen hotels handed over their stores of shower caps, gloves, and face masks to the elementary school student. Zohaib and his mother were able to collect more than 6,000 items for healthcare workers to use as personal protective gear.
“Really wonderful things have happened since he did it. We’ve been getting great responses,” Isma said.
The CEO of Cisco, Isma’s father’s employer, contacted the family with plans to contribute to Zahaib’s efforts with additional donations.
And Obama gave him a shoutout because of it:
So many Americans right now are stepping up to help their communities. Zohaib Begg, a 7-year-old from VA, is one of them. This inspiring kid has been gathering supplies from hotels to donate to the medical professionals at his local hospital. https://t.co/K8Pvp9Cyaq— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) March 30, 2020
The number of COVID-19 cases continues to rise in Virginia as more and more patients infected with the deadly virus are admitted to hospitals. 460 cases have been reported in the state, since Thursday, and 13 have died.
Zohaib and his mother had heard that hospitals were running out of face masks, and after Zohaib’s aunt, an emergency room worker, told Isma the ER had a shortage of caps, the mother and son came up with the idea to source supplies from hotels.
Zohaib will donate the protective items to Inova Fairfax Hospital where he had emergency surgery to remove an abdominal tumor when he was 3 years old.
“He’s lived there and gotten care there. His hematologist who cared for him was there. He chose to donate locally to that hospital because he’s a patient of that hospital. He was motivated to give back there,” Isma Begg said.
Isma hopes children and their families elsewhere will follow suit and contact hotels in their own communities for donations. “We want to motivate kids in other areas,” she said.
The Beggs are trying to make the best of this period of self-isolation. Young philanthropist Zohaib continues schooling, taking lessons remotely.
Isma Begg said, “We’re just like everybody else. We’re looking up new recipes, we’re going on walks, our basement is a playground, and we do a lot of FaceTime with grandparents and the rest of the family.