A South Langley woman with close ties to the Semiahmoo Peninsula – and who is well-known internationally in both the wellness and equestrian worlds – has donated hundreds of designer scrubs in an effort to boost the comfort and safety of frontline staff at Peace Arch Hospital and Evergreen Heights.
Noel Asmar said she was motivated to make the offer after watching news clips regarding the pandemic and how the novel coronavirus is transmitted.
“Obviously with COVID, the entry point (being) the mouth, the nose, the eyes of the face and that’s why everybody’s trying to cover, the more traditional medical smock, you have to put it over your head to take it off and get into it,” Asmar said.
“We designed tunics for wellness professionals, most of them have a zipper down front so you can literally walk in and walk out of them without having to pull them over your face.
“So it is a lot safer of a uniform to get in and out of.”
Asmar – who began designing wellness uniforms in 2002 and later expanded to include spa and hospitality wear – said between 300 and 400 uniforms were donated in all. At Evergreen, where a close family member of Asmar’s lives – and where a COVID-19 case was confirmed in late March – the shipment was quarantined for three days, then distributed early last week to nurses and care aides, she said.
In addition to being an opportunity to give back to the community, the donations are part of a “pivot” taken by Asmar’s company as a result of the pandemic. With revenues from spa and hospitality clients in sharp decline, she said she is now marketing her designs to the medical industry, and has added face masks to her list of products.
The latter – some of which she also plans to donate – will be available for shipping at the end of May.
Another way Asmar is trying to help is through the equestrian side of her business, which launched in 2011. The Asmar Equestrian COVID Assistance Program offers those in the industry whose income has been affected by the pandemic an opportunity to earn commissions on purchases made through a unique referral link.
Asmar – whose line outfitted the Canadian Equestrian Team for the 2016 Rio Olympics as well as the 2018 World Equestrian Games – said she is a self-taught designer.
The products donated to Evergreen and PAH staff are “really functional” and designed for highly active roles, she said.
“It was an opportunity to do something in our own backyard,” she said.
“I’m hoping they love it.”