Looking at the pictures and video coming out of Indianapolis this weekend, you would almost think it was race day. A long line of cars approaching the famed Indianapolis Motorspeedway at 16th and Georgetown. This time, the public was allowed to drive through the main gates, cruise through iconic Gasoline Alley then into one of the 20 Formula 1 garages for a drive-through vaccinationl the most unique pit stop ever.
The four day campaign wrapped up on Monday, March 8th, 2021, and helped vaccinate over 16,000 Indiana residents. Indianapolis Motor Speedway is the perfect facility for such a campaign. The sheer size of the facility, plus years’ of experience dealing with large crowds, made it uniquely suited.
To visit the home of the Greatest Spectacle in Racing is too much to pass up for die-hard race fans. For some, there were closer vaccination clinics…but IMS provided the incentive of being the fastest way to get vaccinated in Indianapolis.
Human interest articles or ‘feel-good’ stories are hard to find some days. But motorsports can always be counted on to make people smile.
News broke today that the latest mass vaccination site in Indiana will be at the corner of 16th and Georgetown in Indianapolis. That’s right…residents of the speedy state will be able to get their shot of the vaccine at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Shots will be administered between March 5th and 7th (this weekend) and in the spirit of the Indy 500, drivers will stay in their car during the vaccine pit-stop.
Drivers will head into the Formula 1 pits for the injections, before speeding through Turn 1 and into the parking lot to pit for 10-15 minutes before being cleared to head back out onto public roads. With such a huge facility accustomed to handling massive crowds, the hope is that many residents will be vaccinated…allowing some to return as spectators for the upcoming Indy 500!
The sacrifices Canadians have been making are working to stop the spread of the virus. Ontario reported only 1,172 more virus cases on Wednesday (after counting 1,969 and 1,848 cases in previous days) prompting the provincial government to announce that schools in Toronto, Peel Region and York Region will reopen for in-person learning on Monday, February 16th, while students in Durham and Halton regions and those outside of the Greater Toronto Area will return to classroom this coming Monday, February 8th.
The pandemic has been scary for kids, and the nervousness of returning to class can be eased if teachers in Ontario follow the lead of Jennifer Birch Pierson, a Kindergarten teacher from Texas, who followed guidelines to have all desks 2m apart, with shields in front of each one. But Pierson used cardboard, paint, and a little creativity to turn desks into Jeeps that look like they’re all driving down the road.
Pro Racing Ontario and Daniel Demaras helped Michael Garron Hospital reach its target of 10,000 3D printed face shields during the peak of the pandemic.
Now, things are getting better, and starting to return to normal. Race tracks like Mosport Karting Centre are carefully re-opening as part of Ontario’s Road to Recovery, but Timmers, Fox and Demaras continue to help healthcare heroes by 3D printing ‘ear-savers‘.
Anyone who has worn an ear-loop mask (surgical mask) knows they can become very uncomfortable after a few hours of use. An ‘ear-saver’ is a lightweight, 3D printed strap worn behind the head, allowing the ear-loops to hook onto the ‘ear-saver’ rather than the wearer’s ears. It is designed to ease pressure and friction on the ears, making it much more comfortable to wear a mask.
This first batch of 100+ ‘ear-savers’ are being donated to front-line workers at Michael Garron Hospital who have to wear face masks for hours a day to protect themselves and their patients.
The plan is to continue 3D printing ‘ear-savers’ for local hospitals, until all the donated filament is exhausted. The ‘ear-saver’ is a small, simple thing, but it helps front line medical staff, who are working hard to take care of the rest of us!
A nice ‘thank you’ letter from Michael Garron Hospital Foundation, acknowledging Demaras Racing’s support PPE donation initiatives. This was a group effort from Bill, Chris, Daniel, Michelle, Jennifer, including Darryl and Curtis from PRO, plus the enthusiastic support of Mary and Clare at MGH.
The Demaras Racing team, plus PRO Racing Ontario, and some new friends from Michael Garron Hospital, pulled together to make this week’s visit to MGH a success.
Darryl Timmers and Curtis Fox from PRO really got behind the PPE project. They ran their 3D printing equipment 24/7 to make face shields, with Darryl even bringing the equipment home so he could print overnight. PRO took on huge new challenges this year, making the Mosport Karting Centre their new home track, and becoming the Ontario distributor for the Charles Leclerc kart, yet they made time to help their community in a time of crisis.
Clare Olmstead, VP of Major Gifts and Planned Giving at the Michael Garron Hospital Foundation was receptive to the idea of Daniel Demaras dropping off the next PPE donation using his racing kart. But when Demaras arrived at the hospital, he was thrilled at the enthusiasm shown by Clare and her colleague Mary. They brought a huge checkered flag that MGH used for the Danforth Dash ‘hospital bed races’ which takes place at a local festival each year. Mary put her cinematography to work, capturing epic shots, while Clare got into the spirit of the visit by hopping into the race kart for a quick spin!
Demaras Racing’s resident father and grandfather Chris Demaras and Bill Demaras came up with the idea of zip-tying a trunk to the rear bumper of Daniel’s kart. All the PPE would be loaded in, sealed up in ziplock bags safe from exhaust gasses. After a test fitting, the race kart had been turned into a mobile PPE delivery machine!
Daniel’s task was the scariest. The kart was unloaded from the team truck close to the hospital, but Daniel would still have to risk his neck driving on public roads in a racing kart that sits 2″ off the ground. He’d have to rely on the rest of the ‘crew’ to keep him safe. In some scenes shot at MGH, cars can be seen driving near Daniel as he quickly rounds a corner to start his trip down the ramp to the receiving department. Even in that confined space, Daniel had to contend with trucks making deliveries, waiting for his turn to race down the ramp at speed.
It’s become almost cliche to say “times are tough”. Most businesses are shut down, schools are closed and the normal routines everyone took for granted are a memory. The whole idea of driving the kart down to the hospital was to bring attention to the need for PPE donations to hospitals, while doing it in a fun way.
PRO Racing Ontario and Daniel Demaras have been hard at work since March making hand-sewn masks (for the #MGH1000masks challenge) and 3D printing emergency face shields and ear-savers (for #thePPEdrive). Healthcare workers down the street are working round the clock to protect the community, but these initiatives have allowed anyone to help out while staying safe. This week, Daniel Demaras dusted off his PRO racing kart and drove it though the streets of East York to rapidly deliver the latest batch of PPE to Michael Garron Hospital on Coxwell Avenue.
The worldwide shortage of PPE caught many Canadians by surprise. Our reliance on foreign-sourced PPE left the nation at the mercy of others. It’s been encouraging to see that many local manufacturers have re-tooled to make masks, shields, goggles and gloves.
But if there’s a positive that has come out of the pandemic, it’s the level of local support hospitals have received. After a call-out to the public to donate PPE, Michael Garron Hospital was able to reach its target of 10,000 3D printed emergency face shields …all community made and donated.
An organization called Seniors Entertainment Network (www.senTV.org) made a short film hoping to inspire others to make masks for the Michael Garron Hospital Foundation. Entertaining video and comments!
Lots of racers are posting pictures of how bored they are at home, under quarantine. Demaras Racing decided to take that stoic image and use it for a good cause.
Demaras Racing has been 3D printing emergency face shields with Darryl Timmers and Curtis Fox from PRO. All the PPE has been donated to Michael Garron Hospital in East York. But there’s more work to do.
Right now, racers can’t race. But we also can’t just sit around while front-line health care workers fight the virus alone. They need our support! After gathering resources (fabric, elastic, a sewing machine, etc.) Demaras Racing started making non-surgical masks for donation. Anyone can do it!
There is a worldwide shortage of personal protective equipment. To keep our communities healthy and safe, hospitals are asking the public to make 1,000 masks a week. Click the link to learn how you can help.
Grandpa came up with the idea. He’d heard the message that Michael Garron Hospital was asking Torontonians to sew non-surgical masks to help protect the community.
Demaras had rolls of fabric in his workshop, and the instructions for how to sew masks were readily available online here and here. The next step was getting Michelle, Daniel and Chris to work cutting, folding and stitching.
Within a couple of days, the Demaras family has sewn over 100 masks while staying home and staying safe. It’s literally something almost anyone can do.
Stay home, stay safe. Practice social distancing. But also learn how you can help (even if you can’t sew) by visiting: