YILAN, TAIWAN, Apr 17, 2020 - (ACN Newswire) -  As the COVID-19 pandemic spread quickly throughout the world, Italy was severely hit. Many medical personnel died due to the lack of medical equipment, and the death toll had reached 16,000 at the end of March.

The Camillian priests, who have served on ministry at Taiwan's Camillian Saint Mary's Hospital in Luodong since 1952, called on the assistance of the Taiwanese people to fight the pandemic crisis in their Italian homeland. When the news was released on April 1, the Taiwanese rushed to repay the Camillian's kindness. The fundraising center was overwhelmed with donations and calls from all over Taiwan. Within 6 days, the donations raised amounted to nearly US$ 5 million.  

Camillian St. Mary's Hospital issued an expressive statement, "Thank you Taiwan! God bless Italy!"

Father Giuseppe Didone, who has been serving Taiwan for more than half a century, said the goal was to raise US$4000 in 15 days. "The Taiwanese have been known for their kindness, but it's nothing close to what we have experienced. The response was so overwhelming, that after only 6 days we stopped the fundraising. We will use the donations to ship PPE to medical personnel in Italy, and other areas in Europe to fight COVID-19. We would like to offer our sincere gratitude to the people of Taiwan!"

Lee Li-Chiu, the director of the hospital's fundraising center, said "We saw many people such as terminal cancer patients struggling to come to the center, a grandma vegetable vendor waiting in line with a handful of masks and hard-earned cash, and an elderly man who received medical care 51 years ago when he was severely injured. They all wanted to show their appreciation, as well as pay back the priests who have devoted their lives to the health care services in rural Taiwan for decades."

Father Didone said emotionally, "Thank you Taiwan! For these 60 years, I am so grateful that God brought me here. I would like to offer our sincere gratitude to the people of Taiwan! At this moment, my heart can't be more assured. It convinces me that this is why I want to stay here all my life! Thanks again to the Taiwanese people!"

About Camillian Saint Mary's Hospital Luodong
In 1952, 6 priests and 4 sisters from the Italian Order of St. Camillus came to Yi-lan, Taiwan. They established Camillian Saint Mary's Hospital, where health care was needed the most. Since then, for more than half a century, the Camillians have been devoted in the practice of works of mercy towards the sick in Taiwan. They are known to treat the sick as their own and never force bills upon the poor, and are highly trusted and respected by the Taiwanese people.

Helen Tsai

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