Alumnus donates masks

Dunedin PhD student Brad Brosnan with some of the masks provided by his father Mark Brosnan....
Dunedin PhD student Brad Brosnan with some of the masks provided by his father Mark Brosnan. PHOTO: PETER MCINTOSH
A father, son and safety officer joined forces to bring about a recent gift of surgical masks valued at $10,000 to the University of Otago.

Otago University alumnus Mark Brosnan, of Christchurch, who attended the university in the 1980s, distributes cherries from Cromwell orchard CherryCorp.

He was in China in January when the Covid-19 pandemic began, and he started sourcing masks and also worked with a New Zealand manufacturer to distribute a hand sanitiser.

As the pandemic grew and demand for the much-needed supplies soared, Mr Brosnan became a busy distributor, supplying to more than 400 New Zealand businesses.

He later discovered he had a $10,000 surplus of surgical masks and contacted Otago University about donating them to the Medical School, where he believed they would be needed.

"I just wanted to give something back to Dunedin, where I grew up," he said.

His son, Otago graduate Brad Brosnan, is studying for a PhD in the department of medicine at the university’s Otago Medical School.

Mark Brosnan discussed the situation with his son, who about six weeks ago introduced him to departmental research manager and health and safety officer Jan Cowan, who happened to be visiting the same Dunedin cafe.

The final details were later confirmed and the gift took place.

Masks were needed for both researchers and members of the public, including children, as departmental researchers undertook many data-gathering study interactions, Brad Brosnan said.

His father’s gift was a "cool" move that had been positively received in the department.

"Everyone was really excited about having masks.

"Access to these masks will be very important during the Covid-19 pandemic," he said.

Department head Prof Michael Schultz said frequent contact with often vulnerable patients "is our bread and butter", given that this was a medical department.

Prof Schultz thanked Mr Brosnan for his "generous gift" which was "really appreciated".

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