Maryland fans may remember former walk-on Varun Ram for his game-sealing steal against Valparaiso to seal head coach Mark Turgeon’s first NCAA tournament victory, but his impact off the court was a big piece in cementing his legacy as a Terp. After spending three years as a consultant for Deloitte, Ram has shifted his focus towards a more pressing matter.
Ram is now a part of “Connect for COVID,” an organization that focuses on providing smart devices to affected coronavirus patients to connect with their families and friends. The organization focuses on obtaining donated smart devices to help distribute to healthcare facilities most in need. The River Hill grad is leading the charge within the DMV as DC Mayor Muriel Bowser is teaming up with universities and corporations.
“A lot of us wanted to help and it’s just kind of how can we help,” Ram told Hear The Turtle on Monday. “So that was kind of the question going on in my mind day in and day out. A buddy of mine, who works with me at Deloitte, him and his brother started this organization called Connect with COVID. Essentially, what they found, given the recent no-visitor policies at healthcare facilities, patients were dying in isolation. They were dying away from their families, they weren’t able to recover with the love and support from friends and family and that was a major issue. So what they did, they had a lot of contacts from medical schools around the country so they had reached out and kind of validated that problem.”
For him, the decision to alter his focus came as a no-brainer as he has seen the instant impact from his philanthropic efforts. “It’s been pretty remarkable the difference it’s made in patients’ lives.”
“I think when you can align your passions with something good, I think that’s a win-win. For me, I’ve been a consultant the last three years and I’m looking to pursue a little more focused on the healthcare and digital health space and this kind of aligns with that interest in access—patient access to care, patient access to their families. But it’s meant a lot to me because this is kind of what I’m passionate about. There’s an immediate need for these tablets and smartphones, so to be able to contribute in this way with something aligned with my interest, it means a lot.”
Three ways you can donate:
-Donate your old/used smart devices: “They don’t have to be new, but as long as they’re not cracked, they’re working. That pretty much meets the qualification. All you have to do is go on the website. There’s a really easy form to fill out, what’s the device, where are you located. What we do is follow up and either pick it up with a no-contact pickup or we can arrange for a no-contact delivery or they can ship it in to one of our locations and we can take that.”
-Donate your dollars - 100% of funds go to purchasing devices. $5,000 = 100 tablets = 1,000 patients able to connect with their families (plus, donations are tax deductible!)
-Spread the word to friends and family (and feel free to use #connectforcovid19 on social media) - there is power in numbers!