Area nonprofit needs volunteers to solicit, collect medical supplies | AspenTimes.com

Area nonprofit needs volunteers to solicit, collect medical supplies

Andre Salvail
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO, Colorado

ASPEN – The Aspen coordinator for Project CURE says the nonprofit sorely needs volunteers to assist in securing donations throughout the Roaring Fork Valley.

The Centennial-based organization solicits and collects medical supplies and distributes them to foreign countries where the need is great. Haiti was a target area after the devastating earthquake in 2010; other countries that have received aid from Project CURE in recent years include India, Nepal, Mexico, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia and Ghana.

Alison van Sax, who has been working with local health care facilities for about three years to obtain unneeded medical equipment, said that with more help, Project CURE can expand to the lower Roaring Fork Valley. Her email is avandoorninck@yahoo.com.

Hospitals and medical clinics often discard equipment and supplies that have gotten old or no longer fit, van Sax said. Usually the items are still functional, and health providers can find a use in countries that lack sufficient resources to purchase large amounts of equipment and supplies on their own.

“That’s where I come in,” she said. “If they have this perfectly usable stuff, they need to get rid of it, and Project CURE can take it and send it where it’s needed. Otherwise, it’s going to the landfill.”

Currently, van Sax secures supplies from Aspen Valley Hospital and the Aspen Senior Center; Aspen Orthopaedic Associates in Aspen and Basalt; the Midvalley Ambulatory Surgery Center in Basalt; and Heritage Park Care Center in Carbondale.

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The types of items that Project CURE accepts vary greatly, ranging from operating room equipment such as surgery kits, lights, ventilators and monitors to laboratory supplies like blood analyzers, microscopes and incubators. Van Sax said she either picks up the donations herself or arranges for their transport to the organization’s 85,000-square-foot warehouse near Denver.

“I’ll get a call from the airport saying, ‘Someone left a wheelchair, and I don’t know what to do with it.’ I’ll take it,” she said.

For large items, such as hospital beds, she coordinates pick-up and delivery through a special arrangement between Project CURE and American Furniture Warehouse.

Van Sax said that since the nonprofit’s inception in 1987, it has never lost equipment or supplies to piracy, theft, manmade accidents or natural disasters. Project CURE sends items only to places with a particular need and a system that ensures that supplies won’t be wasted.

asalvail@aspentimes.com

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