Meadowlark Clean Air Campaign: A Challenge to Our Community

By Becky Fitzgerald on December 28, 2020

The statistics are startling. About 42 percent of COVID-19 related deaths across the nation have occurred in long-term care facilities. While Meadowlark and other Riley County retirement communities haven’t been hit has hard as other Kansas facilities, our organization has not been immune to this novel coronavirus.

This is why two local foundations have teamed up to help provide a safe and proven weapon for Meadowlark’s continued fight against this invisible enemy and other microbial threats. 

The Butler Family Community Foundation and Howe Family Foundation, both supporting organizations of the Greater Manhattan Community Foundation (GMCF), have issued a challenge to the Manhattan community. Each foundation has pledged $50,000 to start the Meadowlark Clean Air Fund at GMCF. Gifts made to the fund will generate a 100 percent match with one stipulation: Gifts must be arrive by Jan. 31, 2021, to receive matching dollars.

Money raised through this effort will equip Meadowlark’s licensed living areas and community spaces with Synexis Spheres.  Synexis, a Lenexa, Kan., company, is the sole developer of Dry Hydrogen Peroxide (DHP™), which fights viruses, bacteria, mold, odors, and insects both in the air and on surfaces with no reliance on the exchange of air. According to independent laboratory research, DHP has been proven to significantly reduce pathogens, such as the H1N1 (flu) virus, and MS2, which is often used as a surrogate in testing for the SARS-CoV-2, which causes COVID-19.

Here’s a statement from siblings Brenda and Mark Butler, and their mother, Sharon:

“Watching coronavirus sweep through elder care facilities across the nation has deeply concerned our family. As staff and residents continue to be infected in high numbers, we recognize something needs to be done to help locally. Synexis Spheres are the right tool for two big reasons: battling COVID-19 AND influenza, a foe that will continue to plague Meadowlark residents.

“Our family is so happy to invest in this project: it is cost-effective, and there’s proof that the technology cleans the air. Contributions to these units will provide health and safety for our Meadowlark neighbors, ensuring a future they will share with family and friends." 

Synexis offers three products which create DHP. The company’s engineering team determined that the best option for Meadowlark environments is their Sphere unit. For optimal protection, Meadowlark requires 132 Spheres. The unit plugs into a standard 120VAC/220VAC outlet, so the Sphere can sit or be mounted wherever Meadowlark needs it most.

This project began this summer when Sharon “Sherry” Butler, a Meadowlark Passport member and Monarch Priority member, asked Becky Fitzgerald if Meadowlark or Meadowlark Medical Professionals had a “wish list” item to which she could contribute. During a follow-up conversation, Butler said a newspaper article about a Germ-Zapping Robot had piqued her interest, and she asked if Meadowlark would be interested in one.

Her question prompted several months of research, conversation, and a flow of documents among Meadowlark leaders. Mike Davis, our environmental services leader,  was particularly instrumental in the process as he spent hours gathering and sending information to companies who provide air purification technology so they could submit proposals. Ultimately, it was determined that Synexis’s DHP BioDefense System suited Meadowlark’s needs best.

Cost of the Spheres is just part of the equation. Synexis’s proposal also includes a yearly maintenance fee — each unit requires the yearly replacement of four parts — sales tax, and shipping. Meadowlark also must hire an electrician to install a dedicated outlet for each Sphere if one doesn’t already exist.

Prior to the Butler and Howe family foundations’ pledge to invest in this project, early support also has come from Meadowlark residents Duane and Pat Miksch. They, too, inquired this summer about donating toward a project, and generously responded when hearing about Meadowlark’s desire for this addition to its COVID-19 Protection Plan.

Vernon Henricks, GMCF president and CEO, and Fitzgerald announced the campaign on Monday during  the weekly GMCF Community Hour radio program on KMAN 1350 AM. Persons are invited to contribute online at the Greater Manhattan Community Foundation website: https://www.mcfks.org/donate/Meadowlark-Hills-Clean-Air-Campaign

Donations of any amount are welcome toward our fundraising goal of $100,000 to release the matching funds. If you’d like to contribute by check, please pay to GMCF, write “Meadowlark Clean Air Fund” on the memo line, and mail to GMCF, PO Box 1127, Manhattan, KS 66505.

Questions about donating or want to know more about the science of DHP? Please contact Becky Fitzgerald at (785) 323-3843. You can also visit https://synexis.com/science/ for more information about Synexis's Dry Hydrogen Peroxide technology.