Afya Foundation on Front Line of Turkey-Syria Earthquake Response

Yonkers City Council Majority Leader Tasha Diaz; NYS Senator Shelley Mayer; Afya Founder and CEO Danielle Butin; Yonkers Mayor Mike Spano

By Stephen E. Lipken


Danielle Butin, Afya Foundation Founder and CEO held a press conference at their headquarters at 140 Saw Mill River Road, Yonkers, on Thursday, March 2nd  to inform the public of their efforts to send shipments of much needed medical equipment as a response to the Turkey-Syria earthquake. 


Speakers included Yonkers Mayor Mike Spano; NYS Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins; NYS Senator Shelley Mayer and Yonkers City Council Majority Leader Tasha Diaz. 


Introducing the speakers, Butin noted that over 40,000 people have been killed in Turkey and 100,000-plus were injured with millions homeless in the dead of winter. “Last week NYU Langone donated 51 pallets of rehab supplies and durable medical equipment to us, working closely with the Turkish Federation of American Associations and Turkish General Consulate.” 


“Today is a very important day,” Yonkers Mayor Mike Spano remarked.  “Our friends in Afya, Danielle Butin and her entire team, have amassed an enormous amount of [medical] supplies that can actually be used in Turkey to deal with the rescue recovery efforts.  


“We are so happy that she is here, and she makes these items available for every natural disaster, domestic and foreign…We are here to support her and say thank you…” 


It was noted that Mayer contributed walkers, canes and crutches from her family members.


Afya stands for Health and Peace in the Swahili language, according to Butin.  “I was on a vacation in Tanzania in the Serengeti Plains and a physician was sitting alone in a tent ‘crying her eyes out.’ When I approached and asked,  ‘Are you all right, what’s happening,’ she replied, ‘I’m not all right.  I came here to do medical mission work and take a month off from my practice in London. There are no medical supplies anywhere.


“ ‘ I am watching people die who I know how to save if I only had supplies.’   Her heartache was my call to action.  I came home determined to figure out what I could do about what I experienced in that tent,” Butin stressed.


Afya continues to increase relief efforts by bringing together volunteers, donors, medical suppliers and on the ground partners like UJA Federation of New York, NYU Langone Health and the Greater NY Hospital Association.


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