Entertainers, athletes, and billionaires are stepping up to fight the global COVID-19 pandemic, which has infected more than 2.1 million people and killed at least 146,000 worldwide as of Friday, according to Johns Hopkins University.
NBA player Bismack Biyombo announced Thursday that he, too, is doing his part to stop the spread of the novel coronavirus by donating $1 million worth of personal protective equipment to his home country, the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
“We have never experienced a crisis of this magnitude. Seeing my home country suffer in this capacity is devastating,” said the Charlotte Hornets forward in a press release sent to BLACK ENTERPRISE. “I’ve spent the last few weeks trying to figure out a way to help those suffering in the DRC. I am pleased to announce that The Bismack Biyombo Foundation delivered over 10,000 masks and 780 hazmat suits to the DRC this week. Thank you to all of those who are at the front line of the COVID-19 pandemic.”
— Bismack Biyombo (@bismackbiyombo) April 16, 2020
Biyombo’s foundation points out that over the past few years, the Congo has been severely affected by several disease outbreaks, including measles, malaria, and Ebola. As a result, the country is more vulnerable to the fatal virus.
“The country’s efforts to combat these diseases have completely depleted the healthcare system’s resources—leaving children and families more vulnerable than ever,” reads the statement. “All of the diseases affecting the DRC are spread through human-to-human contact and are preventable with the proper resources.”
The foundation went on to acknowledge that although Bismack’s donation of much-needed supplies will help slow the spread of infection, it “will not resolve the country’s issue.”
The 27-year-old NBA player earned $17 million in the 2019-20 season. In 2016, he established the Bismack Biyombo Foundation, which aims to provide resources and opportunities for people in underresourced communities throughout the U.S. and Africa. The foundation has made a significant impact in Charlotte and Africa.