Whipps Cross cleaner Hassan boosts COVID-19 donations  

22 Apr 2020

When volunteer cleaner Hassan Akkad posted a photo of himself on Twitter, little did he know that it would go viral and lead to international media attention.

By shining a spotlight on our emergency COVID-19 appeal, Hassan has helped to raise thousands of pounds for staff and patients across Barts Health NHS Trust.

Originally from Syria, Hassan came to London as a refugee in 2015. He documented his 87-day journey for a film Exodus: My Journey to Europe which won him an Emmy and a Bafta.

When the coronavirus outbreak hit, Hassan wanted to volunteer for the NHS and found a job cleaning at his local Whipps Cross Hospital, saying he was “honoured to join an army of cleaners disinfecting COVID wards… the least I can do is make sure my neighbours and the amazing NHS staff are safe and sound”.

Hassan tweeted a photo of himself wearing full PPE which quickly went viral. Soon he was invited for interviews across the media. During his appearance on Good Morning Britain, Hassan suggested that anyone who wanted to support the NHS should make a donation to Barts Charity, who would spend funds where they are most needed on the front line at the Barts Health NHS Trust.

We saw a huge boost to donations to our COVID-19 appeal and many heart-warming messages accompanying them:

  • “Hassan, cleaner of the COVID-19 ward from Syria, blew my mind. One word: hero.”
  • “As a thanks to Hassan Akkad who shared the appeal on Twitter and is helping keep the NHS safe by keeping hospitals clean. Thank you.”
  • “I am making this donation after having read a Twitter post by Hassan Akkad today. Thank you to everyone at Barts for what you do.”

We’d like to say a huge thank you to Hassan, both for his work at Whipps Cross Hospital during this hugely challenging time and for his support of Barts Charity.

Thank you to everybody who has supported our COVID-19 Emergency Appeal so far. You’re helping us provide urgent funds for staff like Hassan who are working tirelessly across Barts Health NHS Trust. Donations are being used in many ways across our hospitals - from 3D-printed visors to protect front line staff, to iPads for isolated patients to speak with their loved ones.

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