2020 has proved to be a rough year for most of us. There was a global pandemic, many lost their lives, others suffered the loss of loved ones, some suffered from mental health issues and depressions. While there were those who could not afford to even carry on with their daily activities.
7 Stars That Shone Brighter In 2020 So We Could Live
But there are those who have stepped up and helped us above and beyond the call of duty – a blessing in disguise in these gloomy days. There were celebrities who used their influence, power and wealth to help others while their were those who lived a normal life and stepped up with the resources they had and did all they could. It was mere empathy and compassion that united them. Here is a list of seven heroes who dedicated 2020 to doing good as the world watched on, helpless at times, inspired, at others.
1. Dr. Li Wenliang
Dr. Li Wenliang was one of the first people to warn fellow medics about a new virus emerging in Wuhan city. However his warnings, that were a precursor to the global pandemic, were not taken seriously and he was detained by local Chinese authorities and forced to renounce his claim. After his release, he went on to serve his patients. However, later he contracted the virus himself while treating a glaucoma patient suffering from the virus and was unknowingly infected by the coronavirus, probably by her daughter. Dr. Li was not able to fight the battle with the disease and died on 7th, February 2020 at the age of 34. His death was not only a loss for China but also a loss for the world as we were deprived of his undeniable services to humanity.
2. Dr. Usama Riaz
Dr. Usama Riaz was the first Pakistani doctor who lost his life due to COVID-19. He screened pilgrims who were returning home from Iran at a hospital in Gilgit-Balochistan. Despite the limited protective equipment provided, (which increased his risk of catching the virus), he also worked in the intensive care who were diagnosed with COVID-19. Upon catching the virus, he was sent to hospital where his condition became critical. He lost the battle against Covid unfortunately and died on 23 March 2020, at a very young age of 26. On 27 March 2020, he was awarded the Nishan-e-Kashmir, the highest award of the state, by Prime Minister of Azad Kashmir for his services.
Usama Riaz, by all means, was a true hero. Not only did he serve his nation with wholehearted commitment and sincerity, but he also inspired many young people to give priority to the care and safety of others above self – his was a heart-touching story of bravery and commitment that took on global proportions.
3. Jack Ma
In a world rife with political mistrust and nationalistic borders, Jack Ma stands out as the human being who shows us the ultimate example of how humanity can overcome personal, cultural, religious and national biases – a Covid lesson we might all do well to learn from him.
Jack Ma, the second richest man in China used his financial resources to provide relief to the victims of COVID-19. The billionaire is responsible for a widespread operation to ship medical supplies, face masks and ventilators to more than 150 countries.
He donated thousands of testing kits and a million face masks to the CDC, while also providing the shipment of 1,000 ventilators to New York State. He donated millions for global coronavirus vaccine research and a handbook of medical expertise from doctors in his native Zhejiang province which has been translated from Chinese into sixteen different languages.
4. Shahid Afridi
Shahid Afridi is a world renowned cricketer and has continued his charitable efforts on a global front to wage war against poverty. He is the chairman of Shahid Afridi Foundation (SAF) which is a non-profit organization in Pakistan. It aims to improve healthcare services, provide access to clean water, and improve the educational facilities. Shahid Afridi aimed to spread awareness about COVID-19. SAF launched a campaign ‘To Fight Corona Donate Karo Na’. It distributed 5000 pamphlets in both Urdu and Pashto and 500 banners were placed all around the city of Kohat to emphasize the importance of cleanliness.
Shahid Afridi contracted Covid himself in 2020 but has thankfully recovered now and continues to carry on the good work.
5. Ghulam Dastagir
Ghulam Dastagir is the founder of Jehad for Zero Thalassemia organization in March 2010. He started his life from humble beginnings and by defying all norms, he built a successful career for himself in engineering and teaching. JZT, in pre COVID-19 times primarily worked for Thalassemia patients and focused on providing a foster home and education to orphans but during this challenging time his organization extended their support to transgenders and destitutes in our society.
Rihanna needs no introduction. She is a world famous singer, actor and a business woman. She founded her organization, Clara Lionel Foundation (CLF) in 2012 in honor of her grandparents, Clara and Lionel Braithwaite. It has donated $5 million to date to several organizations around the world, particularly to the communities in the United States, the Caribbean and in Africa, that are treating the sick and working to prevent the spread of the virus. She has donated to national and global organizations such as the Feeding America, Direct Relief World Health Organization’s COVID-19 solidarity response Fund and the International Rescue Committee. She has also offered to purchase ventilators worth a total of $700 000, to Barbados her home country.
7. Dr Shobha Luxmi
Dr. Shobha Luxmi is one of the thousands of medical professionals who has been working vigorously at the forefront of Pakistan’s battle against the formidable coronavirus global outbreak. She was appointed head of an isolation ward for coronavirus patients at the government-run Dow University of Health Sciences Hospital Karachi. Her hospital is said to have been receiving about 500 patients every day, at least 100 of whom are screened for Covid-19, and four to five are testing positive on a daily basis. She along with other doctors are at risk of contracting the virus from patients and other medical staff especially due to limited precautionary measures taken. During this difficult time she is offering her services to the nation. Not only is she at risk of catching the virus, but she has to work long hours, and has to compromise her family time.
We respect and honor the work of these heroes who, amidst difficult global times, were present to serve humanity in the best way possible. We as individuals could learn from their example and do what we can, to fulfill our part, whether it is financially, physical, mentally or emotionally. All we need to do is start with our inner circle and then extend forward. Perhaps respecting SOPs to prevent the spread of the virus and reduce the needless stress on our people and resources is the right place to begin.
Zainab Mossadiq is an A level student. She has a passion for writing. She believes that through writing we are often able to convey the message we might never say and unveil a hidden side of ourselves. “Writing helps me unwind. It allows me to explore a different side of my personality and to forget what’s happening around me. I hope that through my writing I am able to bring a positive influence.”