Members of PinkCars awarded Queen's Jubilee pins for improving access to health-care services in York Region

·2 min read

According to Ontario’s latest weekly epidemiological summary, the highest case rates of COVID-19 continue to be observed in the 80 years and older age group. Meanwhile, individuals 80 years and older have much higher rates of hospitalizations and deaths compared to all other age groups.

That is why PinkCars was founded with a mission to ensure every eligible individual in York Region who wants a vaccine receives one.

Shanta Sundarason began the PinkCars initiative in March 2021 to help seniors book their COVID-19 vaccinations, and take them to and from their appointments.

“Our Shanta Sundarason, Enid Reyes-Martin and Chean Chen have received the Queen’s Jubilee Award for their dedication and services over the past year helping close to 10,000 seniors in York Region get the protection they needed against COVID,” says Masood Mohajer, volunteer with PinkCars.

The vaccination system was “broken” sometimes. Getting to and from appointments can be a challenge for many seniors due to the fear of even stepping out of their homes.

These three musketeers spent hours on their computers booking thousands of appointments, and rallied volunteers from across the region to safely drive seniors to and from their appointments, Mohajer says. Without these ladies, who spearheaded PinkCars, so many would have been “stuck without a paddle.”

Many grateful seniors nominated the three women for the Queen’s Jubilee Award. Gayle Roberts said in an online post: “I have no words to express my gratitude to the team at PinkCars. You have never abandoned us seniors over the past year and have now taken me to my fourth vaccination appointment.”

Roberts described the services at PinkCars as priceless and she has never met anyone like the organizers in her long life. “I have continued to live in fear of catching COVID as at my age of 86, am afraid that I would not recover from it, but Sundarason and her PinkCars have given me comfort over the past year and for that I will be forever grateful.”

Scarlett Liu, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Economist & Sun