Nurse known for role in anti-lockdown counterprotest raising money for Navajo Nation

One nurse says while things may be getting back to normal for some Arizonans, the same can't be said for the Navajo Nation.

Lauren Leander, who is a critical care nurse at Banner, says her ICU beds are full with COVID-19 patients, and many of them are from the Navajo Nation.

"Being a critical care nurse and caring for these patients, they make up a very large majority in my ICU right now,” said Leander.

Leander first gained notoriety In April, when she stood in front of protesters demanding the state to re-open during their protests at the Arizona State Capitol.

"We were there to do what nurses do best: be an advocate, to stand up for our patients and vulnerable populations being put at risk with these people gathering in the thousands without masks," said Leander.

Leander says the Navajo Nation is extremely vulnerable, because one in five in the Native American territory has diabetes, and one in three suffers from obesity. These conditions make COVID-19 very dangerous, and the rates of infection on the reservation are extremely high.

"If you combine all of the minority groups together and multiply by four, that is the rate at which these people are dying by the virus,"

On top of this, Leander says many don’t have access to running water. Food can also be miles away. So, to run with the love and support she received for standing up on their behalf at the Capitol, Leander started a GoFundMe to raise money for PPE (Personal Protective Equipment), as well as food and water.

"Their suffering is my suffering, and it weighs heavy on my heart," said Leander.

At first, Leander's goal was to raise $20,000 but she then extended it. Now, not even two weeks later she is almost at $100,000.

"They need our protection, our support, and our donations," said Leander.

GoFundMe Campaign for the Navajo Nation

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