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A Call-To-Action from Jos Schmitt, President and CEO

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Significant efforts have been made by Canadian governments and public health authorities to provide guidance and mandate measures to #flattenthecurve. The vast majority of people have observed these measures closely and, although we have likely not yet hit the peak of the pandemic, Canada has made great progress in avoiding the worst-case scenarios.

While it is critical, more than ever, that we continue to observe social distancing, we also want to make sure that we don’t lose sight of those who are working on the frontline – the emergency medical technicians, the nurses, the doctors, the scientists, and all other caretakers and workers who are risking their lives each and every day to contain the virus, save and protect lives, and prevent pandemics like this from happening ever again.

With unprecedented demand on our healthcare system, a dire scarcity of resources, and the omni-present risk of contamination, the physical and mental pressure these frontline workers face is staggering. And this is not just idle talk based on what I have read in the media; these are first-hand observations relayed to me by my own brother who is a doctor on the frontline in Europe.

Here at NEO, we have shared our thoughts about the importance of flattening the curve and have tried to leverage our own public presence to spread the word. But talking about this is not enough. Those who can, must do more!

Like all other organizations around the globe, NEO has been affected by the COVID-19 crisis. Although we are still a very young organization and, as I often say, not sitting on stockpiles of cash, the nature of our business allows us to navigate these turbulent waters with greater ease than many others. It is for this reason, combined with the urgent need in our healthcare system, that we have decided to sponsor a funding campaign for frontline workers. NEO itself will donate $25,000 and, my wife Tanya and I will personally match that amount.

The recipient of these donations will be the Sunnybrook Foundation COVID-19 Fund. For many years, I have been a personal advocate and supporter of Sunnybrook, a world-class hospital which is also home to Canada’s largest trauma centre. During the 2003 SARS crisis, Sunnybrook treated the largest number of infected patients in Canada and today, once again, they are at the front of the front line.

Every dollar donated to Sunnybrook’s COVID-19 Fund will be put to immediate use, providing tools and equipment for front line workers, enabling vital research to expedite diagnostics and vaccines, and caring for patients currently affected by the virus.

I hope our initiative will act as a catalyst for other organizations and individuals who are fortunate enough to be carrying on, relatively unscathed, during these trying times.

Please join us in offering support for those who risk their lives every day to save and protect ours. We’re in this fight together, and collectively, we can make a difference.

Stay safe and care for each other.



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