A family in the Oklahoma City area donated 43 iPads to 10 local hospitals and one nursing home to help patients connect with loved ones.
Shane and Cassie Williams began collecting donations in March to honor their father, Charles Foughty, who died from COVID-19. Because of a limited in-person visitation policy, Foughty’s family coordinated with staff at the Oklahoma City VA hospital to use an iPad to see and talk with him.
“We prayed with him, told him we loved him, we sang with him and played music for him. You could watch on his heartrate monitor, it would go up,” Shane said. “We didn’t get to hold his hand the last few days, but the VA nurses were basically our hands and voice for us when we couldn’t be there.”
To show their gratitude, Cassie and Shane said they wanted to donate an iPad to the VA hospital. Their idea quickly expanded to collecting $10,000 to buy iPads for multiple hospitals.
Since March, Shane said donations came from individuals across Oklahoma and the United States. They surpassed their goal and raised roughly $15,000 for the devices.
“This would have never happened without everybody,” he said.
The family gave multiple iPads to the OKC VA Hospital, Oklahoma Heart Hospital’s north and south facilities, Mercy Hospital, OU Children’s Hospital, Integris Southwest Medical Center, Integris Baptist Medical Center, three SSM Hospitals in Oklahoma City, Midwest City, and Shawnee, as well as Sienna Extended Care & Rehab in Midwest City.
“We really want our patients to have that interaction with their families,” said Stephanie Lewis, the head nurse of Mercy Hospital’s COVID unit. “You could tell that immediate relief that they got just from hearing their voice.”
With help from a fellow Oklahoma City firefighter, Shane got each of the iPads engraved with Foughty’s name and rank in the Air Force before delivering them to hospitals.
“We aren't meant to be alone. People aren't meant to be alone,” Cassie said. “Both of my parents, I think, are smiling down from heaven.”