Abel Tesfaye, a.k.a. The Weeknd, is using the sales of his highly popular XO face masks for a cause that hits close to home. The Scarborough-born singer has donated $500,000 to Scarborough Health Network (SHN) in support of its COVID-19 relief efforts – a leading gift to the health network’s COVID-19 Emergency Fund, now totalling more than $2.7 million.
“I was raised in Scarborough and felt it was important to give back to the community that raised me during the hard times of this pandemic,” said Tesfaye in a statement.
The black cloth XO face masks were launched back in April and retail for $20. All of the proceeds from sales of masks will be donated to COVID-19 relief, with every dollar matched.
“Our vibrant and diverse community represents the best of Canada, and we are fortunate to have ambassadors like The Weeknd in our corner,” said Elizabeth Buller, president and CEO of SHN in a statement. “This gift will help our community hospitals continue to deliver exceptional care for the people of Scarborough in the wake of COVID-19, and demonstrates to our courageous staff and physicians that their critical work does not go unnoticed or unappreciated.”
SHN said the donation will support its own emergency fund’s purchases of vital equipment, including ventilators, ICU beds, vital signs and ECG monitors, as well as personal protective equipment and health and wellness supports for frontline workers. More than 3,500 community donors have contributed funds to date.
“Like The Weeknd, many of my fellow frontline workers either come from Scarborough or call this community home. It is amazing to see one of our own on the world stage, giving back during our community’s time of need; generous support like this inspires us to keep going,” said Dr. Elaine Yeung, corporate chief and medical director, medicine. “This gift represents Scarborough’s incredible spirit and collective passion for shaping a brighter, healthier future.”
“Throughout the pandemic, SHN Foundation has worked to inspire the generosity that will support our courageous frontline staff in their work,” said Alicia Vandermeer, president and CEO of the SHN Foundation. “Thanks to The Weeknd’s phenomenal support for our hospitals, and that of thousands of donors over the past several months, we are ensuring that our health care teams have everything they need to safely treat all of our patients.”
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