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Isaiah Thomas donates meals to UW Medical Center employees fighting COVID-19 outbreak

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Isaiah Thomas donates meals to UW Medical Center employees fighting COVID-19 outbreak

Isaiah Thomas addresses the crowd during his jersey retirement ceremony at Alaska Airlines Arena on Feb. 17, 2018. Thomas donated 1,000 meals to the UWMC on Apr. 7 and Apr. 14. 

Former Washington men’s basketball star Isaiah Thomas has pledged to donate 1,000 meals to UW Medicine staff who continue to find themselves at the center of the COVID-19 outbreak. 

Thomas will send meals to employees at three UW Medicine locations — the main trauma center at Harborview Medical Center, the main hospital on the Montlake Campus, and the main hospital at the Northwest Campus — on Apr. 7 and Apr. 14 hoping to serve about 500-600 employees on both days. The food came from local pizza restaurant chain Pagliacci's. 

“I want to thank all the doctors, nurses, and cleaning staff at UW Medicine for all that you do to try to help [during] this virus,” Thomas said in a video sent to UWMC staff. “My family and I appreciate you and want you to know we couldn’t get through this without you, so thank you.”

Thomas joins a growing list of celebrities who have donated to front-line medical workers including grammy-winning artist Lizzo, who sent lunches to the UWMC Apr. 1, and Connie and Steve Ballmer, the former Microsoft chief executive and current Los Angeles Clippers owner who donated $10 million to the UW Emergency Response Fund two weeks ago.

Many community members and restaurants have also been teaming up to feed medical workers at the UW and elsewhere. 

Healthcare workers are at a particularly high risk to contract the virus due to their close work with patients who have tested positive and are working under tense conditions given concerns with childcare and increased hours to staff hospitals on the frontlines of COVID-19. Washington currently has more than 8,000 cases of coronavirus statewide

A standout for the Huskies between 2008-11, Thomas earned three All-Pac-10 selections and hit the buzzer-beating shot to win Washington the Pac-10 Championship against Arizona in 2011. In 2018, he became the third player in program history to have his number retired, following Bob Houbregs and Brandon Roy. 

The Tacoma native has since gone on to have a successful NBA career, earning two all-star selections and has played with the Sacramento Kings, Phoenix Suns, Boston Celtics, Cleveland Cavaliers, Los Angeles Lakers, Denver Nuggets, and most recently with the Washington Wizards.   

News Editor Jake Goldstein-Street contributed to this report.

Reach Sports Editor Andy Yamashita at Twitter: @ANYamashita

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