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NOSM Family Doctor, Business Owner and Designer Fight COVID-19

Posted on April 22, 2020
Apparel 4 a Cause, began when Peter Rocca decided to take the knowledge he acquired as a sports clothing owner and bring his skill-set to the ring in the fight against COVID-19. When physician, Dr. Robert J. Pastre (NOSM Charter Class Alumnus) came upon Mr. Rocca’s Fight Against COVID shirt, he immediately fell in love with the concept and thus Apparel 4 aCause was born. The two started sharing ideas and aspirations regarding a T-shirt campaign to bring attention to the current pandemic and contacted a local designer, Daniella Flores to join the team.
The company’s campaign is built on social accountability and community awareness both locally and around the globe. The campaign is focused on the current pandemic, with proceeds of shirtsales being donated to local health care and essential service workers and the United Nations Solidarity COVID Response Fund. Dr. Pastre explained that although some of the branding may seem somewhat “edgy” and humorous, they believe this is the most effective vehicle to bring attention to specific health care needs and target specific age groups. Dr. Pastre stated that the goal of the campaign is to empower and motivate people to take action and realize they truly can make a difference in their community and abroad. Proceeds will be used to help buy PPE for adults and children. As Dr. Pastre explained, there are not many “fun” options for child masks and they hope to change this!
Dr. Pastre went on to explain that since Sudbury has a large Italian community, and both he and Mr. Rocca are of Italian heritage, they wanted to do something to help the people back home. He went on to state that Italy has endured so much pain and suffering, as they were one of the first countries to see such high rates of disease and we have learned from their misfortune, on how to better prepare for this pandemic. As a result, the shirt campaign has a specific line dedicated to Italian shirts with proceeds going directly to the Italian Red Cross.
The team explained the campaign was put together at a rapid rate and many hours went into website development and shirt design. Dr. Pastre said that this was very hard to accomplish given that most businesses were closed or working with a reduced number of employees due to the pandemic. Needless to say, they are extremely proud of what we have accomplished in two weeks and are excited to have an impactful campaign.
The campaign is also launching a Kids vs COVID colouring contest, where children have a chance to design and win their own custom “anti-COVID” shirt which will be promoted on their website to raise funds. Dr. Pastre noted that “this is something fun for families to do during this time and hopefully serves as a much needed distraction.”
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Submitted by: Dr. Rob Pastre, NOSM Alumnus and Assistant Professor