Corona victim launches non-profit to help others
31st March 2020
A cancer survivor and now recovering Corona Virus victim* is using the knowledge developed while helping people with cancer to help others with the virus.
Dr Shara Cohen, founder of Cancer Care Parcel, has pulled together a team of people who are working pro bono to promote and deliver the special Corona Virus Care Parcels.
The idea of the parcels came about by accident when, while self-isolating, Shara tried using some of the items in her cancer care parcels to alleviate her Corona Virus symptoms such as neck cushions and a thermometer. It occurred to her that she had stock of these items, as well as hand sanitizers and tissues, which other people who are self-isolating like her may need.
Shara, an author and former research scientist with a Phd in Immunology, decided to use the knowledge and the contacts she has developed while setting up her business Cancer Care Parcel to launch the not-for-profit Corona Virus Care Parcel. The cost of the package and contents varies depending on the products, some of which are being donated, and postage and packaging.
Shara explains. “I was lying in bed feeling poorly and decided I wanted to help. Many of my current clients are vulnerable because of their cancer treatment so I wanted to see if I could help them and others. My Cancer Care Parcels receive very positive feedback and I thought using the same concept and offering people something really useful to help the Corona Virus symptoms would be my way of contributing and helping. I thought people might want the parcels for themselves, or to send to friends or family.
“It’s such a difficult time and I know from personal experience that that it’s really tricky to know what to do if you hear a friend or family member has the virus. Gifts like flowers and chocolates are nice to receive but do not last long and aren’t useful. Being able to send a useful gift is also helpful when you can’t visit the sick person because of the lockdown situation.”
Shara added: “I ran the idea for the Corona Virus Care Parcel past a number of people and a few said it would look like I am profiteering from the pandemic, but I can reassure people that I am not. We just want to support the community and play our part in helping people.”
The contents of the package may include items such as:
✔️ Hot water bottle – for the chills
✔️ Sleep mask – to help get rest in the daytime
✔️ Foot massager – pampering and for aches and pains
✔️ Water bottle – to help stay hydrated
✔️ Anti-bacterial wash or soap
✔️ Thermometer – to keep an eye on the symptoms
✔️ Two Neck Pillows – to stay comfy in bed
✔️ Peppermint tea – help with nausea and when people don’t want to eat
✔️ A wind up hand fan – for comfort when having a high temperature
The people and companies donating their services SO FAR and collaborating with Shara on this project include:
- Web developer Hassan Aaqib
- Luis Johnson who is part of the fulfilment company Tarlu which will pack the goods and despatch them
- Mark Henderson who is photographing the packages free of charge
- Christine Chung and Melissa Joralemon who are approaching companies for donations
- Blueberry PR
Dr Cohen started her working life as a research scientist and lecturer with over 100 peer-reviewed scientific publications.
She followed a classical scientific career until she left mainstream science in 2000 (which coincided with the birth of her first daughter) to establish a Life Science Communications company (which she sold in 2016).
In 2013 she was diagnosed with Cancer and set up Cancer Care Parcel and in 2020, after getting the Corona Virus, Shara set up the non-profit project Corona Care Parcel project.
*Shara has not been tested for Corona Virus as she did not require hospital admittance but she had many of the symptoms associated with the illness.
** Courier charges are payable
Note to editors: Dr Cohen BSc (Hons), PhD, CBiol, FWIF, FRCPath, FIBMS, FRSB has been active in the scientific community for over 30 years. She started as a member of the British Association of Young Scientists at the age of 15, obtained her first science degree at 21 and her Immunology PhD at 25. She has been a research scientist and lecturer in prestigious institutions around the world [including Addenbrookes’ Hospital (Cambridge), The Kennedy Institute of Rheumatology (London), The Mount Sinai Hospital (New York) and The Royal Postgraduate Medical School (London)]. Shara left mainstream research in 2001 to follow her passion of science communication both within the scientific community and the general public. In 2001 Shara established Euroscicon Ltd (which she sold in 2016) and in 2005 she founded the Mums in Science Network. She also writes, edits and produces books for both scientists and the layman.