Celebrating OCA Champion, Dr. Emily Howell
Donated 500+ masks to Michael Garron Hospital and Fred Victor Homeless Shelter
Dr. Emily Howell became a chiropractor out of a deep dedication to care for patients. During the COVID-19 pandemic, her commitment grew: “As doctors, we are here to take care of people,” she says. Dr. Howell was born and raised in East Toronto and is the clinic director and owner of Ashbridges Health Centre.
When Dr. Howell heard that the Michael Garron Hospital Foundation launched a 1000 Mask Challenge (#MGH1000MASKS), she didn’t think twice to pull out her old Singer sewing machine. Using remnants of Wonder Woman fabric, she began sewing masks for patients leaving the hospital and visitors, so that the hospital could preserve N95 masks for frontline staff and patients at risk.
In 2007, Dr. Howell was diagnosed with thyroid cancer and underwent surgery at Michael Garron Hospital (part of the Toronto East Health Network). For her, helping others by participating in this challenge was “something tangible” that she could do.
To date, Dr. Howell has sewed over 500 masks that she has donated to the hospital. She’s also donated masks to the Fred Victor Homeless Shelter after learning about the risks to vulnerable people in her community. Dr. Howell accepts no payment for her masks. Instead, she simply asks people to “pay it forward” by supporting local small businesses or donating back to Michael Garron Hospital or The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids).
With two children at home, it has been organized chaos for Dr. Howell. At one point, her sewing machine gave out, but luckily a friend brought her a new one so that she could keep working. In between sewing, Dr. Howell has also produced a YouTube video called Sewing Ergonomics and Stretches with helpful tips and stretches for those who are sewing masks. As of April 4, 2020 the video has received over 800 views!
Thank you to Dr. Alexander Zivontsis for recommending Dr. Howell as one of our new OCA Champions.