VALDOSTA – Joyce Liu has returned home to help area senior citizens during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Liu, an 18-year-old pre-medical sophomore at Emory University, was one of multiple college students to found the state chapter of TeleHealth Access for Seniors in June.
TeleHealth Access is a national nonprofit that gathers used camera-enabled phones and other devices to donate to senior citizens and hospitals to connect seniors to medical services, grocery and pharmacy deliveries and family or friends.
Since May nationwide, more than 1,000 devices have been donated and more than $30,000 raised to purchase low-cost devices, Liu said.
“I got involved in the program because I was deeply touched by how hard health care workers have been working, especially with COVID-19, and I wanted to be able to help out somehow,” she said.
“I also can't imagine how difficult it must be for seniors to be isolated during this period of social distancing, and I wanted to help them connect with others and access their everyday needs, such as going to doctors' appointments and buying groceries.”
Liu’s brother, Jon, has been a key figure in collecting donations for TeleHealth Access, she said.
Classifying health care as a fundamental right, Liu said she believes everyone should have access to health care, adding she draws inspiration from college students and community members uniting to support one another.
The Valdosta native – who volunteered for South Georgia Medical Center as a Lowndes High School student – donated cell phones to SGMC’s diabetes management center Tuesday, July 22. She said SGMC patients can use the phones to access their virtual doctors’ appointments.
Tax-deductible monetary donations can be made to a Go Fund Me at https://bit.ly/3jwbVn4. Liu asks donors mention her name to ensure funding goes to Georgia patients.
Visit telehealthforseniors.org to donate devices or get more information.