ASHBURN, VA — An Ashburn boy who collected boxes of personal protective equipment for health care workers at the start of the coronavirus pandemic has expanded his charitable efforts by collecting items that will be auctioned off to help honor frontline workers in Northern Virginia.
For his 8th birthday, Zohaib Begg decided to gather items from local businesses for the 2020 Inova Honors Gala, which will be recognizing thousands of frontline workers in the region. Zohaib went to local businesses, including luxury hotels, spas, salons, golf courses and restaurants, to see if they would like to donate a dinner, a round of golf, or a weekend stay at a resort.
Based on the calculations of Zohaib's family, the total value of the items that businesses agreed to donate in response to his outreach efforts totaled more than $3,800. The public can bid on the items that Zohaib collected, along with dozens of other items, on the 2020 Inova Honors website.
In the past, Inova honored individuals as part of the gala celebration. This year, Inova decided to honor all of its frontline workers who have been working long hours during the coronavirus. The funds raised from the auction of items collected by Zohaib and others will go to the Inova team member resilience and well-being fund.
The 2020 Inova Honors will be a virtual event, starting at 6 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 6. Visit Inova's website to purchase a ticket to the virtual event or make a donation.
In March, Zohaib came up with the idea to visit local hotels in the Ashburn area to see if they had any shower caps to donate to hospitals. Not only did the hotels have shower caps that doctors, nurses and technicians could use as hair covers, they had stocks of gloves and face masks that the hotels were happy to give to Zohaib.
Early in the pandemic, Zohaib donated the personal protective items to Inova Fairfax Hospital, where he had emergency surgery when he was 4 years old to remove a tumor from his abdomen. For his work, Zohaib received shout-outs from former President Barack Obama, Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam and many others.
The crisis facing health care workers hit close to home for Zohaib. His grandmother works as a primary care physician in Michigan and an uncle works as an ER physician for TeamHealth Special Operations Division based in Philadelphia. Both are working on the front-lines caring for people during the current pandemic.
Zohaib is continuing to collect personal protective equipment to help people in the community. Those in need can request an adult or child size PPE kit on his website. The PPE kits include masks, gloves, hand sanitizer and wipes.
Meanwhile, Zohaib has been named a Youth Ambassador for the Off the Charts foundation based on his efforts since the start of the pandemic. The group's young ambassadors promote good deeds and encourage other children to make a difference in their lives and lives of others.
Zohaib also was recently featured alongside the late Ruth Bader Ginsburg in Bravery Magazine. Zohaib’s inspirational story continues to motivate children battling illnesses. He personally commits his time by hand-writing notes, encouraging children to stay strong and positive.