In a world where ventilators are scarce, and in higher demand than ever, the donation of even one single piece of equipment can make a huge difference. That’s why the family of the late physicist Stephen Hawking donated his ventilator to Royal Papworth Hospital in Cambridge, England, where he was treated.
On Wednesday, the hospital said, “Professor Stephen Hawking’s family has donated his ventilator to Royal Papworth Hospital as we care for increasing numbers of COVID-19 patients. We’d like to say a huge thank you to the Hawking family for supporting us at this challenging time.”
The donation of the ventilator, which had been purchased by Hawking himself, was a gesture of gratitude to the hospital, for its years of caring for the famed physicist. “After our father passed away,” said Hawking’s daughter Lucy, “we returned all the medical equipment he used that belonged to the NHS but there were some items which he bought for himself. We are now passing them to the NHS in the hope they will help in the fight against COVID-19.”
The gesture comes at a time when the UK is in desperate need of ventilators, and Prime Minister Boris Johnson is calling on private industries to help with ventilator production.
Hawking had been diagnosed with a rare form of early-onset motor neuron disease at age 21 and died in March 2018 at the age of 76.