(Toms River) – When Jeff Borghoff heard about the need for personal protective equipment (PPE’s) for first responders and public health workers amid the COVID-19 pandemic, he immediately knew he wanted to pitch in and help out. Jeff, a 56 year old from Forked River, not only wanted to help satisfy the local PPE need, he also thought it was a good opportunity to help raise awareness for a disease called Younger Onset/Early-Stage Alzheimer’s. It’s an incurable disease Jeff and approximately 200,000 other Americans suffer from annually.
“Alzheimer’s is not just a disease for older adults,” Jeff explained. “Younger Onset/Early-Stage Alzheimer’s Disease affects many individuals in their 40’s and 50’s and in a lot of instances it goes undiagnosed or misdiagnosed.”
But Jeff, diagnosed with the disease in 2016, isn’t letting the disease get the best of him. He was a software developer for 20 years and in an effort to keep his mind sharp, and as part of his on-going therapy, he recently completed a science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) program to earn his 3-D printing certification. He just completed designing and printing 50 protective shields for the Ocean County drive thru testing site and has already started printing more for local long-term care facilities.
“I felt it was my obligation to give back to the community and help the front line workers who are putting themselves in harm’s way to protect all of us and save lives,” continued Jeff.
“The Ocean County Health Department (OCHD) is so grateful that Jeff, despite his health challenges from Younger Onset/Early-Stage Alzheimer’s, chose to provide these certified face shields for our COVID-19 testing site staff,” said Gerry P. Little, Liaison to the Ocean County Board of Health. “Jeff has gone way above and beyond to do his part during the pandemic and is certainly a great inspiration to us all.”
3-D printing is a highly versatile process of production and rapid prototyping leading to the creation of an object by adding material to the object layer by layer, according to Interesting Engineering magazine. Jeff got the 3-D printing bug from a good friend and now he can produce up to 2 shields an hour with his set-up.
“I love doing it and it’s great therapy for me,” added Jeff. “As long as there’s a need I’ll continue to do my best to make as many shields as I can. So many generous people have helped along the way by making donations to purchase some of the materials needed to make the shields.”
“I was immediately impressed by Jeff’s enthusiasm and passion for this project,” recalled Mukesh Roy, OCHD Public Health Planner. “When he came to visit the COVID-19 test site he was genuinely impressed by the work being done by our public health crews working the front lines of the pandemic. He was such an inspiration to everyone who met him and our staff couldn’t be more pleased to receive the protective shields.”
When Jeff isn’t dedicating his time to designing protective shields, he works tirelessly with the National Alzheimer’s Association as a member of the National Early-Stage Advisory Group, an Early-Stage Ambassador with the Delaware Valley & Greater NJ Early Stage Advisory Councils and an Alzheimer’s Congressional Team member.
To learn more about Jeff Borghoff’s story or Younger Onset/Early-Stage Alzheimer’s Disease visit https://www.borghoff.com/. For more information regarding COVID-19 visit the Ocean County Health Department website at www.ochd.org.