Artists and celebrities have been supporting the fight against the coronavirus epidemic in Poland. Broadcaster TVN held a charity concert over the weekend, while others have organised their own fundraising efforts.

Meanwhile, Poland’s largest charity event, the Great Orchestra of Christmas Charity (WOŚP), has launched its own national appeal to raise money for protective and hospital equipment.

Several of Poland’s most popular artists came together to perform together from home in TVN’s Concert for Heroes, which was held on Saturday.  The concert was organised to give thanks to the medical staff on the front line of the fight against coronavirus, but also to raise funds for healthcare.

Some 35 Polish singers and bands, including Enej, Roksana Węgiel, Kasia Stankiewicz and Margaret took part in the four-hour concert, which was organised by the TVN’s charitable foundation “Nie jesteś sam” (“You are not alone”).  The concert opened with 12-year-old Viki Gabor performing her 2019 Junior Eurovision Song Contest winning song “Superhero”.

Another performer was Kasia Moś, whose grandfather had died only days before, after waiting in an ambulance outside a hospital, according to Wirtualna Polska.

The concert proved so popular that TVN made a last-minute and unprecedented decision to broadcast the concert on its rolling news channel, TVN24, as well as online, with all other scheduled programming shelved, Onet reports.

In total, 4 million zloty was donated by the public, reported TVN24, with 1.5 million zloty raised in the first hour alone. Katarzyna Kolenda-Zaleska, president of “Nie jesteś sam”, told the broadcaster that “no one had ever done such a concert on such a scale.”

“Coronavirus is extremely contagious, but – as it turns out – help is also contagious,” she said.

Other Polish artists are also launching their own fundraising campaigns to raise money for healthcare. Rapper Tymoteusz Bucki, known by his stage name Tymek, is donate income from pre-order sales of his  new album to hospitals, reported website Noizz.

“Męskie Granie”, a concert tour sponsored by the Żywiec brewery, has also organised a series of live concerts by musicians performing at home, which are accompanied by a fundraiser. The musicians are supplied with disinfected equipment delivered to their doors and filming crews kept to a minimum, according to Onet.

As part of a Facebook campaign titled #wspieramzdomu (“I support from home”), Polish artists have also organised a series of live concerts for the elderly and lonely. Viewers can donate to Szlachetna Paczka, a charity which supports families in need, during performances.

Joanna Sadzik, president of the association that organises Szlachetna Paczka, told Radio ZET that the people the charity supports are facing increased difficulties due to coronavirus.

“Older people cannot fulfil their needs: basic needs, such as shopping or access to medicines, but also deeper needs, like relationships with others,” she added. “We want to take care of them and say: we won’t leave you!”

A group of musicians have also recorded a song titled “Wszystko będzie dobrze” (“Everything will be fine”), echoing a slogan that has appeared in other countries hit by the pandemic. The song is an initiative of the government-led Niepodległa programme, launched to mark the centenary of Poland’s independence in 2018.

In a statement, Jan Kowalski, the director of Niepodległa, said that the strength of words “gives hope and mobilises us to fight,” and that he hoped the song would become “a musical antidote to anxiety.”

Polish sports stars are also raising funds to support the fight against COVID-19. Last month, Polish football players took part in a live-streamed online computer game, during which an auction of autographed football shirts was held to raise money for the Polish health service, reported Onet.

Meanwhile, WOŚP last week launched a national fundraising effort, with donations so far standing at over 6 million zloty. Radio ZET reports that the money raised will go towards personal protective equipment for medical staff and other equipment for hospitals.

In a press release on Friday, the charity – which is coordinating its efforts with the health minister – said it had already ordered 37 ventilators, along with 150 beds for intensive care facilities, 157 cardio-monitors, 50,000 individual biological protection packages (IPOB) and 50,000 medical masks.

“We have already done a lot, but now, just like during the [annual television fundraising] finale – all hands on deck!” said WÓSP founder Jurek Owsiak.

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Main image credit: Popmaster pl/YouTube

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