EXCLUSIVE: "Faith Over Fear" Is The Mantra Of Doctors Aivee And Z Teo For Their COVID-19 Relief Efforts
Doctors Aivee and Z Teo sprang into action as soon as the lockdown started, donating food, equipment, supplies, and COVID-19 testing kits themselves, showing that faith is always above fear. Check out their exclusive interview on Metro Society's "Inspiring People" special
It was quite shocking yet admirable when doctors Aivee and Z Teo started sharing photos of themselves giving out their donations to the COVID-19 frontliners themselves. It might have come off to the public as a risky move, especially since the country was, and still is, under community quarantine. But for the husband and wife tandem, the closure of their clinics may have resulted in financial loss, but if there was anything they gained from this pandemic, it’s the opportunity to help people in need.
“Even before we closed the clinics, I was starting to procure medical supplies, face masks, PPEs, and all these things, because we kind of knew that these are what will be needed if we open the clinics again,” Dr. Z explains, “We had to make sure that we had enough for our patients and for the operations of our clinics. That’s why right after the announcement of a lockdown, we actually had the supplies.”
The supplies were readily donated. “We were joking that the currency of the time then was face mask,” Dr. Z shared, “There were messages coming in from Instagram, pleas for help from frontliners, from hospitals, asking for face masks. And we have that stockpile, quite a fair bit of our own equipment. We decided to give it to everyone, so that we can help them.”
Aivee and Z’s decision to share what they had, even if it meant depleting their stock, was nothing compared to their sense of responsibility towards their fellow doctors. Aivee says, “I think as doctors we have this responsibility. It’s always been our calling to serve and to be of help. I think that was the first feeling that we had when this lockdown happened. People were panicking, scared, fearing they might get infected—we felt that we needed to help out. We really wanted to initiate it to fully encourage and inspire other people to do the same. And I think that’s what the country needed—more people wanting to help and reach out to other people.”
Aivee explains that once the demand was growing greater than what they could supply, they needed to tap into their global suppliers—but the rest of the world was doing so as well. “Even for doctors, it was not easy finding supplies. It was a lot of work. I remember I would see Z wake up at 4 in the morning to contact people. Everyone wanted what we needed.”
Z chimes in, “It’s not easy to get all the supplies needed by the whole world, the demand outstrips the supply like hundred to one. So to be able to get the supplies in the Philippines, it became like a tug-of-war with other countries. So I had to really speak to them, give them assurances that we’ll be using these for donations. But at the end of the day, when we get the supplies and we give it out to the people and they appreciate it, and they use it to save lives, it’s all worth it. It’s a lot of perseverance, a lot of phone calls, but we were doing our part.”
The couple did the legwork as well, delivering the much-needed gear to frontliners themselves, sending supplies all over the country, even going as far as creating their own face shields and donating those as well. They also contributed testing kits to assist in the target testing in the country, and opened up their Aivee Café to deliver Filipino comfort food. They wanted to help out in as many aspects as they could, and they feel happy to have helped thousands of people.
While most are frightened to step out of the house, Aivee and Z don’t mind going if it means they could help out. Aivee says, “Sometimes it’s not enough that you just give, it’s also giving that effort and letting them know that you’re there physically. It gives a lot more satisfaction and fulfillment that you’re really there, not just asking other people to do it for you.”
But how do they conquer their fear of catching the virus? “I guess as doctors ourselves, we’re not scared,” Aivee muses, “And maybe I’m not really scared because I don’t want to just sit around and do nothing. We want to protect others. We want to practice and live our faith.”
Dr. Z agrees wholeheartedly. “I think we didn’t want to be paralyzed by fear,” he says, “I think right now, a real threat is the fear of everyone. I think what we want to do is that we want to show that we can be safe. As long as you do the precautions, we protect ourselves, it should not stop you. Showing love means putting your words into action.”
Check out their interviews for Metro Society "Inspiring People" special below:
Photos courtesy of @draivee and @drzteo