NYC health care worker a COVID-19 hero, awarded $10K from L'Oréal for giving self care packages to frontline workers

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An NYC health care worker was awarded $10,000 and recognized by  L'Oréal Paris with the COVID-19 Hero Award after founding a group to donate beauty and self-care supplies to women on the frontlines of the pandemic.

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Patrycja Golak, a social worker, and her philanthropy partner Anesa Abdullah started Mask2Mask, a Brooklyn based charity that distributes beauty products to multiple hospitals across New York City.

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"Healthcare workers are surrounded by tragedy every day, but now more so than ever. Many have shared that they’ve never witnessed so many deaths at once," Abdullah told Fox News. "Mask2Mask aims to make self-care effortless for our women in healthcare."

"This pandemic has only highlighted how important our healthcare workers are and how important it is for us to take care of them so they can continue to take care of us," she said.

Since beginning its mission in May to give back to women on the frontlines who have suffered their own personal tolls throughout the pandemic, Abdullah says they've been able to reach nearly 2,000 healthcare workers across the city. The group hopes to fundraise $10,000 to reach at least 10,000 healthcare workers by June 2021 and expand its reach to other states.

The group also works to support businesses forced to shut down or restrict services due to the pandemic, receiving almost 8,000 self-care beauty products in donations valued at $68,000. They have also fundraised $5,000 to purchase gift cards ranging in nail services and spa treatments as well.

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"During the peak of COVID-19 back in March-April, Patrycja was on the frontlines and saw how hard our healthcare workers were working around the clock for our city and saw that there was a need to acknowledge this hard work and give back to our women on the frontlines," Abdullah said.

Patrycja, a social worker, facilitated countless video sessions for families to bid goodbye to loved ones suffering from the virus but who could not see them in person and provided emotional support to prevent mental health issues.

"Healthcare workers have been tasked with being more than just a nurse, or a doctor, or a social worker during this pandemic and instead have worn multiple hats in the field," the pair told Fox News. "Due to visitor restrictions, families are not permitted to visit."

"We have become a patient’s family, companion, and confidante. We have all held a patient’s hand while they were dying, so they wouldn’t have to die alone. We have all hugged them tight when they shared how scared they were of this virus and we have all provided comfort to families assuring them their loved ones are not alone. The emotional toll has been indescribable, along with the physical toll of long hours in PPE."

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