Posted on

A story about vets, facemasks and a gruelling 24 hours of exercise

David Meer, a veteran and cross-fit coach at HR4K London and owner of the Project IronSouls charity organised a virtual community fitness challenge to raise money for PPE. 

Project IronSouls is a platform to bring veteran communities together via sport and outdoor adventure activities to help with recovery and to create a military community. 

Like so many of us, David was overwhelmed by the events unfolding in the NHS with the covid-19 crisis and was wanting to use his experience and network as a veteran to help. Using his Project IronSouls community and the HR4K London community he joined up with the Scrub and Face Protection Hub and galvanized support for the 24Masks in 24Hours virtual fitness challenge to raise awareness and funds for much needed PPE. 

The virtual community fitness challenge was made up of 12 Hero WOD’s (workout of the day) that needed to be completed in pairs in a ‘You Go I Go’ style within a 24-hour period. Much of the event was live streamed with many people catching 20-minute naps before pushing through to complete the challenge in fine style – we applaud you! 

Historically the Hero workouts are dedicated to fallen soldiers but for this event the first and last workout was dedicated to NHS workers to acknowledge the amazing work they are doing across the country.

Running in parallel to this virtual challenge was a ‘Battle of the Brands’ competition run by HR4K for veteran and police communities who have their own small business they would like to promote on the HR4K online storefront. All brands that entered the event had to engage with Instagram by reaching out to their community and getting as many people to ‘like’ the Battle of the Brands feeds as possible. The brand that created the most awareness and generated the most ‘liked’ posts in the 24-hour period was the brand that ultimately won a 3-month residency in HR4K’s new London location.

HR4k London owner, Si, is also a veteran and has strong connections with the Tower of London. He managed to get the grenadier guards involved with the fitness challenge with the added intensity of completing the event in 12 hours….and not 24!  

David’s said “I would never had thought that during a time when the nation is in lockdown we can create a community that has such a positive impact on so many people lives. For me, “24Mask24Hours” wasn’t just about then incredible generosity of the people involved but the bringing together of a community that was in need of something special to happen. I feel it came at just the right time for a lot of people myself included. I am very proud to have been part of this journey.”

An amazing £4,800 was raised with proceeds going to the Scrub and Face Protection Hub, a collaboration of doctors, artists, designers, film and television industry figures, IT developers, lawyers and others who – together – are using their combined skills and knowledge to help co-ordinate the efforts being made to source, manufacture and distribute Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to healthcare/key-workers and their employers during the current pandemic. This donation will generate over 2,300 PPE masks to be delivered to frontline NHS staff. 

Ruth Freedman, palliative doctor & co-founder of Scrub and Face Protection Hub says “Not long ago I was pretty distressed about my NHS colleagues not having enough PPE. Hearing about them sitting in hospital car parks panicking whether they were protected from covid-19 left me feeling helpless and stressed. I decided to join people who were already manufacturing visors and making masks and create a hub to co-ordinate funding and distribution to the front line. From this idea Scrub and Face Protection Hub was created and we now have over 100 volunteers helping. It has been

incredible to witness the effort and kindness of people working towards this common goal. 

The fundraising event 24Masks in 24hours is a great example of this and made me feel so much better – from a mental health point of view but also being able to do something practical to help make our NHS healthcare and key workers feel safer”. About the organiser: David Meer, a veteran and cross-fit coach at HR4K London uses sport to help vets with rehabilitation after injury, for mental health including PTSD, as a coping mechanism to alleviate stress and for all round fitness. His driving mission is to unite vets through sport. He joined HR4K London in 2019 which offers personal and endurance training, tactical training for the military and police as well as promoting an amazing collection of veteran owned lifestyle and product companies e.g. Thirty Seconds Out apparel and the Black Rifle coffee company.