Okay Upper West Side, Let’s Pay the Rent for These Nurses!

Two nurses from Alabama — Chelsei Ward Kumar, 35, an ICU nurse, and Skylar Killebrew 32, an ER nurse — came to New York to help people here who are suffering from Covid-19. They left their families at home and are risking their own lives for people in this city.

They’ve been reading the comments on our article about them after their shifts, and Chelsei (and her mom!) even responded to people who supported them in our comments section.  In response to a question, Chelsei wrote in the comments that they’re paying their own rent, and were a little taken aback at the cost of trying to rent in the city.

So, the least we can do is pay their rent! We just started a GoFundMe for the nurses. They say it will cost $9,450 for their rent through the end of their stay in mid-June at an apartment on West 69th Street. (They did not ask us to do this, we just think it’s the right gesture.)

Update: The campaign hit its goal in about an hour!

West Side Rag has thrown in a few bucks to get things started. If you’ve got the cash and feel up for it, here’s the link for donations.

Photos by Alpha Bonding and Sarah Ackerman.

NEWS | 25 comments | permalink
    1. Ben David says:

      Thank you, West Side Rag. What a wonderful gesture of kindness and compassion !

    2. Parker says:


    3. Maria says:

      I just donated $100. What’s a PayPal tip? An extra $5 or more.
      I have a small one bedroom but I have a couch and an air mattress. I am sure others have space to offer. These ladies deserve a high maintenance hotel experience. But maybe they’d also be interested in living like a NYr while they are here. I figure they’ll be out a lot, but this NYr on Pause could take them on social distance aware walks and share NY experiences. Just a thought.

    4. Diana says:

      Thank you WSR, AND THANK YOU NURSES!
      My husband is an essential worker and we have three teens. Our daughter is missing her senior prom & HS graduation, but these nurses are risking their lives for New Yorkers. Let’s make sure they don’t pay a CENT. Going to the donation link now.

    5. Marsha Glassman says:

      Great idea…thank you. Made my day supporting them.!

    6. Mitchell says:

      How do I verify this is what it says it is

      • West Sider says:

        We plan on giving one of the nurses access to the gofundme to withdraw the money. But totally understand if anyone is hesitant to give to a gofundme.

      • Francesca says:

        Thanks. Wanna give. Wanna be more confident this is not one of too many scams.

    7. Patti says:

      Yes let’s pay it forward folks!!

    8. Xan says:

      Happy to donate! And because of you they are almost at their goal less than 20 minutes after this email went out to all of us. Thank you for letting us help them!

    9. Chris says:

      It was a pleasure to add to this. It sounds like they have a nice place to stay with kind neighbors. Thank you Chelsei and Skylar!

    10. Julie says:

      Before they leave, they should check in at the Four Seasons for a nice luxurious experience. It’s supposed to be free for healthcare workers.

    11. sunflower says:

      What a wonderful initiative, thank you, WSR! Love that the goal was achieved so quickly, what a great community we are. Chelsei and Skylar absolutely deserve it!

    12. Alice says:

      Happy to contribute. Thanks for letting UWSers know about these two dedicated nurses.

    13. Joanna says:

      Went to donate and it’s already closed. GO UWS!!!

    14. Alan says:

      What about the local nurses, doctors, hospital staff, and other frontline workers? Many out of state workers are receiving upwards of $10k per week, while folks already on the ground in NYC receive $0 for their extra efforts. While these two nurses have done a fantastic service, why not target these efforts to help those hungry and homeless? Or help a local out with pet sitting, groceries, etc.???

      • Chelsei says:

        We make no where near that. The ones that is making that kind of salary is the 21 day contracts where you work 21 days in a row. I promise we are making less than the citizen workers who work at the hospital, but I am thankful for all of the above, no doubt it takes a team. Bless you. One day I will pay it forward.

    15. kaylord says:

      Would love to donate but my husband and I have both been furloughed and are paying high NYC rents. Instead I’ll offer my gratitude to both of you and everyone for coming. Our appreciation for your sacrifice is profound. I hope you can come back for a good time one day soon.

    16. E says:

      I applaud them. I admire them. But some jobs are just a risk. Nurse. Policemen.Firefighters. etc. No. Do not pay their rent they are still getting paid. With increase. Help the homeless and low income individuals that have no one. And no help from any program.

    17. Cyn (Cynthia) Icke says:

      Just clicked the link to donate and discovered donation site is now closed, with a total $9,983 contributed.

      That is fantastic…and as for all the uncharitable comments above about supporting local people instead:
      1. many of us would…IF there WERE a trustworthy and reliable site to accept donations.
      2. maybe Council-Person Rosenthal’s office or Community Board 7 could create just such a program…..ya think???

    18. Linda says:

      Just looked up NY Common Pantry on Charity Navigator, and it has outstanding marks. Thanks to the person who recommended NY Common Pantry.
      I’m giving!

      • lynn says:

        You’re very welcome. They’re one of my favorites because they offer different levels of giving and also opportunities for volunteering.