FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA. (WSVN) - A South Florida woman who beat COVID-19 but is still feeling its after-effects is giving back by becoming a PPE supplier and donating thousands of dollars in personal protective equipment to local healthcare workers across the country.
7News cameras captured boxes filled with PPE being unloaded from the trunk of a car outside of a Physical Therapy Now location in Fort Lauderdale, Friday.
The masks were donated by Sophie Fahrer.
“I got COVID back in March. I had it for six weeks,” she said.
However, when the virus went away, Fahrer became more sick.
“Got worse and just kept going,” she said, “so then, arrhythmia started, seizures started, chronic fatigue.”
Fahrer was hospitalized in July and continues to feel the virus’ effects. She called herself a “long hauler.”
“Something else happens to me, something else goes wrong: I can’t remember, I have a migraine, I have a new heart medication, I can’t breathe at night,” she said. “This is not something that you get and it goes away. It’s not a virus; it’s a disease, and it stays with you, and it doesn’t leave.”
Fahrer’s therapists at Physical Therapy Now have been helping her manage the lingering after-effects. She’s so grateful to them that she decided to start Sophie’s Butterfly Effect, a healthcare safety supply network.
Fahrer is donating more than 200,000 masks to physical therapy centers across the United States.
“I distribute online, and we’re supplying five physical therapy locations right now, but I’m talking to the other 35 [Physical Therapy Now] locations,” she said.
“The fact that Sophie and the Butterfly Effect have this access to these masks, it makes us feel more comfortable treating patients that are most vulnerable, which are elderly patients, so we’re so grateful,” said Andy Zapata with Physical Therapy Now.
Fahrer said she wants to continue giving the masks so both healthcare workers and patients stay healthy.
“All you have to do is wear a mask. That’s it,” she said. “It’s not about your liberties. It’s not about political issues. This is about safety.”
Anyone with questions and concerns about the coronavirus can call the Florida Department of Health’s 24-hour hotline at 1-866-779-6121.
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