Photo courtesy Marchesa
By Steve Mosco

The humanitarian effort following Hurricane Sandy brought volunteers to the Rockaways to help in the immediate aftermath of the storm.

Now close to five months after the superstorm surged ashore, the long-term health of the most drastically affected communities is getting the attention it needs.

Doctors of the World-USA, an international humanitarian organization providing medical care to vulnerable populations, surveyed the area between Beach 57th and Beach 117th streets and identified the need for treatment for asthma, respiratory conditions, flus and colds, as well as for mental health services. They also found residents who were unable to obtain medical supplies and much-needed prescription medications to treat serious chronic illnesses.

And since most efforts to help require money, Doctors of the World is teamed with Marchesa, an international fashion company, to create and launch a specially designed “I Love New York” T-shirt to benefit the Doctors’ Hurricane Sandy relief campaign, which provides longterm health care services to residents in the Rockaways.

“Hurricane Sandy had a devastating impact on our region, and the funds generated by the T-shirt will provide vital health care services to the residents in the Rockaways,” said Henry Chang, executive director of Doctors of the World-USA.

Through its relief campaign and its Treat, Connect and Restore initiative, Doctors of the World has been meeting critical medical needs in the months after the storm struck the region in late October. Since then, the humanitarian organization has deployed volunteers to canvas much of the Rockaways and address local health needs.

The nonprofit identified more than 100 individuals in need of ongoing care and expects to locate many more.

Georgina Chapman, co-founder of Marchesa, said the lingering effects of the storm were the driving force behind the design of the shirt. She wanted to work with I Love New York not only because the logo is an iconic symbol of the state, but also because the ultimate show of support in times of need is to come and visit — and the icon is dedicated to spreading that message.

“As a New Yorker who has witnessed the incredible damage caused by Hurricane Sandy, this was an amazing opportunity for Marchesa to raise funds and awareness of Doctors of the World’s Hurricane Sandy Relief Campaign in the Rockaways,” said Chapman. “Their response to Hurricane Sandy has been remarkable and it was wonderful to create a specially designed I Love New York shirt.”

The Empire State Development Corp., which oversees tourism and marketing efforts for the state, formally granted the use of the image — an easy decision in the wake of the storm-born health crisis.

“Giving Doctors of the World and Marchesa rights to the beloved logo was an easy and obvious yes,” said Khorshid Rahmaninejad, director of licensing and public relations for I Love New York.

The Hurricane Sandy Relief shirt is available for pre-order at doctorsoftheworld.org/sandyshirt.

Reach reporter Steve Mosco by e-mail at smosco@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4546.

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