July 28, 2020 | News
The Palm Beach PAPR Project

As the COVID-19 epidemic continues to worsen in South Florida, Micah and Molly Kapp – rising Palm Beach Day Academy 8th and 7th graders, respectively – realized it’s time to step up and make a difference in fighting the virus. As children of two healthcare professionals, Micah and Molly are acutely aware of the dangers the virus poses to these workers each and every day, and feel strongly about getting our local nurses and doctors the proper protection they need to fight COVID-19.

Which is why, just a mere few weeks ago, the sibling duo set out on their Palm Beach PAPR Project quest with the goal of providing “gold standard” PPE to our front-line healthcare workers in Palm Beach County.

PBDA spoke with 8th grader Micah Kapp about the siblings’ project and the incredible steps they have already made in just a few short days.

How did the idea for Palm Beach PAPR Project start?

Because our parents are doctors (our dad is a plastic surgeon and our mom is a nephrologist who treats COVID patients in the hospital), Molly and I are aware of how serious this illness can be and the infection risk healthcare workers and their families face each day.  We wanted to do something to help keep them safe during this pandemic. We quickly decided to start a fundraiser to provide PPE for healthcare workers. Our dad introduced us to the PAPR (Powered Air Purifying Respirator) masks which are considered the “gold standard” protection against COVID-19, better than an N95 mask and face shield. We started our fundraiser on July 7th and within 5 days we had raised $10,000.

Tell us a little bit more about the PAPR protection. What makes it so much better than an N-95 mask and face shield?

 The Powered Air Purifying Respirator (PAPR) is like a space suit that provides a continuous flow of purified air to breathe. The backpack motorized fan blows HEPA filtered air through the hood, preventing the contaminated room air from being inhaled.  This is better protection than the mask.

I hear Ford Motor Company is interested in partnering with you. Tell me more!

Ford Motor Company makes PAPR units which are repurposed from Ford F-150 truck parts, particularly the seat cooling fan. Ford is ramping up to make thousands of them to sell at cost. Any profits they do end up making are being donated back to COVID-19 charities. When we first started the project, I sent an email to Ford’s Head of Operations explaining our project.  To our surprise, she immediately got back to us and on July 16, Molly and I had a great call with her. We were thrilled to learn that Ford is generously matching for the first 25 PAPRs we purchase and also donating 250 additional hoods and other replacement parts.    

This is an impressive website you’ve pulled together in just a few days! Did you and Molly create this?

Yes! Molly is pretty good at web design.

How did you pick your goal of $35K? How much have you raised to date?

The goal represents 50 masks at $700 per unit. We wanted to raise a substantial amount that would actually help healthcare workers fighting COVID-19. We also thought this would be a good challenge that we would really have to work to achieve. To date, July 17, we have already raised $21,693 on our GoFundMe page.

How can people donate to the cause?

We hope everyone will support the cause, no matter the amount, to keep our Palm Beach County healthcare workers safe. To donate, visit our website at https://pbpaprproject.org.