Racers Continue to Help

It’s the little things that help.

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!

The race to help healthcare heroes isn’t over! Anyone can create and donate PPE for local hospitals. To learn how, visit https://www.mghf.ca/fightcovid19

Thanks from MGH

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.

Behind the Scenes

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.

Something good.

Donating PPE by Kart

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.

The race to help healthcare heroes isn’t over! Anyone can help create and donate PPE for local hospitals. To learn how, visit https://www.mghf.ca/fightcovid19

Racing Awareness

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!

1000 Masks

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.


Michael Garron Hospital is promoting a simple 2-ply, pleated mask design. Along with standard sewing supplies (sewing machine, measuring tape, etc.), all that’s needed is:

  1. Dark-coloured polyester fabric for the outside of the mask
  2. Light-coloured 100% cotton for the part of the mask that goes against the skin
  3. Elastic for ear loops (if elastic is not available, cloth ties can be used)

Michael Garron Hospital will distribute masks to hospital visitors, discharged patients, and the broader Toronto community to help prevent disease transmission.

Family Fights The Virus Together

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:


For the Health Care Heroes

In response to the urgent plea from hospitals in the GTA for personal protective equipment (PPE), Demaras Racing is working with Professional Racing Ontario to make 3D printed emergency face shields.

(Visit: https://theppedrive.com for details)

Using the 3D printers at their shop in Ajax, ON, Darryl Timmers and Curtis Fox of PRO worked all week long printing up visors, using the template provided on https://theppedrive.com/. Demaras Racing made the 60 km round trip to pick up all the visors the PRO guys made so far. As soon as the car was loaded, Darryl went back to work on producing more valuable safety equipment for front line workers, explaining that PRO ordered a second 3D printer to be able to double their output.

On the drive back to the Toronto the roads were empty, almost abandoned. The mayor’s daily pleas for Torontonians to stay home are working. But upon arrival at Michael Garron Hospital, hand-painted signs of support for the healthcare workers were all over the hospital’s facility, inside and out.

Locals bringing boxes of supplies to the donation centre had filled the area, as two hospital staff helped unload and inventory the precious cargo. All those donations to the hospital will help the fight against the virus, and create a real feeling of community involvement. The crisis is uniting Canadians to work together.

Only a week ago, Michael Garron Hospital had received only 3,000 3D printed visors. But continued community involvement from people just like Timmers, Fox and Demaras has increased so much that as of yesterday the hospital is very close to reaching the target of 10,000 emergency face shields.

Demaras Racing continues to work with Professional Racing Ontario and other local businesses to produce protective equipment for other hospitals in Ontario.

Join the fight against the COVID-19! To find out how you can help:


Is a Helmet a Good Virus Mask?

A recent article on Jalopnik asked the question:

In the United States, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommends the public wear cloth face coverings in settings where physical distancing measures are hard to maintain. Back home, the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) has released a statement that Canadians can use non-medical masks along with physical distancing, hand hygiene, and other measures to limit the transmission of the virus, noting that public wearing of medical masks may result in additional shortages of masks needed to protect front-line healthcare workers.

So, rather than using up the scarce and limited resources of N95 or surgical masks, Canadians are turning to home-made solutions. One option for those in the motorsports community is…their helmets.

Helmets allows the wearer to breathe through the opening at the bottom of the helmet and through vents. Even though outside air has to travel a different route, it is reaching the helmet wearer unfiltered. However, wearing a balaclava under the helmet would provide a physical barrier (similar to a non-medical mask) that blocks the path of air and droplets of those speaking moistly.

Does it make sense to wear your Arai or HJC helmet with full NOMEX balaclava to go outside?

Just stay home.