#Covid-19: Here's why Irish people are doing push-ups to support healthcare workers
"They say 'your health is your wealth' but this applies to an entire nation."
A new campaign has been launched in aid of Ireland's healthcare workers - and the key to supporting it is by being active.
The Push-Up Challenge is encouraging people to get their biceps out to support those working the frontlines of the Covid-19 outbreak, both physically and mentally.
Started by Emma Coffey Nguyen, the campaign is raising vital funds for mental health services and ICU equipment for the Mater Hospital and Mercy University Hospital Cork - all the while encouraging people to keep active in self-isolation.
Emmy tells Her that while the government are preparing for the influx of new patients the coronavirus will undoubtedly trigger, hospitals, doctors, and nurses are going to need all the support they can get during the pandemic.
Having worked with UNICEF and visited Sierra Leone in the past, Emmy knows first hand the effects pandemics can have on healthcare workers and their communities.
So, she decided to get in touch with her uncle who is in the ambulance service and a friend who is a trainee doctor to see what she could do to help.
"After speaking with them and doing additional research I knew I had to do something, even if it was from my living room," she says.
"As an athlete, I knew it would be important to stay on top of training and keep mentally strong too. And thus, the Push-Up Challenge was born."
The idea for the challenge is simple: film yourself doing as many push-ups as possible from the comfort of your home, nominate three friends to do the same, post the video with the hashtag #thepushupchallengeIRE, and donate what you can to the cause.
The challenge has already raised almost €3,000 for both hospitals, with more donations (and more push up videos) appearing by the day.
Emmy says that she didn't expect the campaign to get as much traction as it has - but even her own gran has gotten involved.
"People genuinely want to help and do something during this confusing time," she says. "It’s been really heartwarming to see.
"My gran has even got involved. Her questionable push-up involves lifting a packet of Cadbury mini-rolls over her head! It’s made me incredibly proud to be Irish seeing people pull together."
But despite the positive response during this tough and uncertain time, Emmy says that it is going to be an "exceptionally difficult" few weeks for hospitals and healthcare professionals in particular.
"We need to keep the positivity train moving for our ICUs," she says.
"They say 'your health is your wealth' but this applies to an entire nation; that point is being proven right now.
"We need to step up and protect our healthcare workers; that means their mental health, protective clothing and better pay for our nurses and student nurses. We need to help them, so they can help us."
You can check out Emmy's Push Up Challenge GoFundMe page here.