Tennis star Novak Djokovic and his wife, Jelena, announced on Friday they will donate €1 million — about $1.5 million CAD — to help support Serbian hospitals and medical institutions amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
After assessing where they could make the biggest impact, the Djokovic family determined money will go towards purchasing ventilators and medical equipment that are essential to providing adequate care to patients afflicted by the novel coronavirus.
“It’s not easy for anyone to come out with definite answers in public as information is changing daily from one moment to another,” Jelena said in an Instagram post. “The costs of medical equipment are fluctuating in high ranges, availability is low, the delivery takes time, transportation of the equipment is challenging, and learning how to use new equipment takes time and practice (which our dedicated doctors and nurses don’t have as patients numbers are surging).”
According to a database maintained by The New York Times, there were 457 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Serbia and one death as of Friday morning.
In response to the growing pandemic, which has strained health-care systems world wide and sickened over 536,100 people, the Novak Djokovic Foundation also announced the opening of a separate fund at the foundation, where anyone able to donate to this specific cause is able to.
Normally, the foundation focuses on helping create and enhance preschool education opportunities for Serbian children. Given the severity of the pandemic, the Djokovic family determined expanding the scope of what the foundation does was essential.
“What has become clear to us is that this situation is going to be a marathon, rather than a speed race,” Jelena, who is the foundation’s co-founder and global CEO, said. “And it would be good for us to rationally and strategically utilize both our strength and resources to be able to push through to the very end. In moments like this, having high-quality equipment is essential – ventilators – above all, which can save people’s lives.”