SylvanSport Camper Giveaway Helps Frontline Healthcare Workers Find Respite from COVID Intensity Print E-mail
Tuesday, 30 June 2020 04:17

Brevard, N.C., June 30, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE)

Brevard, N.C., June 30, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Outdoor gear company SylvanSport, based in Brevard, NC, has held gear giveaway campaigns before, but their GO Giveaway held in the fall of 2019 would prove to be different. Little did they know at the time they launched the GO Camping Trailer Giveaway that COVID was right around the corner or that frontline healthcare workers would be the winners. Emergency helicopter pilot Johann Sweitzer and his fiancé Karen Hayes, a flight paramedic and critical care PA, both work in high intensity settings caring for patients in the Charlottesville, VA area. The couple visited Brevard in September 2019 where they found SylvanSport and entered the GO Giveaway. Less than five months later, they were back to collect their GO Camping Trailer. Almost immediately, the couple knew this win was profound in many ways.  

“As a couple who spends a lot of our free time in the outdoors, we instantly fell in love with the GO,” said Johann. “We work in a very stressful environment and getting outside is important for our mental health and helps us to not get burnt out by our jobs. Winning the GO has made spending time outdoors so much easier and convenient for us to get outside and reset.”  

Karen’s work puts her alongside patients often at their worst moments. Whether it’s on the side of a road after a severe accident and she’s hopping out of a helicopter – flown by Johann – to care for them, or in the ICU at UVA Health, Karen cares for her patients at their most vulnerable. With the arrival of COVID, the ICU becomes an even more intense setting for Karen. “The worst thing about COVID is that patients have no family there,” said Karen. “As healthcare providers we watch them go through awful situations without their family.” Karen goes on to say that even with all of the “devastating stuff going on in the world, there’s a lot of beauty around us.”  

Scientists and healthcare providers agree. According to an article published in 2016 from American Journal of Preventative Medicine, time spent outdoors is associated with fewer depressive symptoms. “What people may not realize is that simply spending time outside can improve your mood on its own,” said Dr. Kyle Judkins, Pardee Sports and Family Medicine. “Some studies have suggested that being around more greenery, like trees, plants or forests, can have a positive impact on mental health.” Johann and Karen call it their “reset” – often needed after a particularly intense emergency call or time in the ICU. “A campfire, nice dinner, and some games…those are all very therapeutic.” 

Originally supposed to be married this past May, the couple had to postpone their wedding due to COVID-19. To commemorate the occasion, they headed back to the spot where Johann proposed – Reddish Knob in George Washington National Forest – and used the GO to make it happen. 

The GO has been called the Swiss Army Knife of camping trailers and the Coolest. Camper. Ever. by National Geographic Adventure. It can carry up to a dozen boats, boards, bikes, boxes, or any other combination of gear. When it’s time for camping, it opens up to become a spacious and comfortable tent, made for relaxing and enjoying the great outdoors. The GO family includes the GO Easy Adventure Trailer and the Vast, SylvanSport’s newest arrival to their towable products.

About SylvanSport

Tom Dempsey founded SylvanSport in 2004 in Brevard, NC, for one reason: to make outdoor adventure accessible. With a background in medical supply manufacturing and kayaks, Dempsey possessed the ideal combination to launch this US-based manufacturing company and take it to national prominence. What started as an idea to create the most innovative pop-up camper has evolved into a line of the best designed camping and gear trailers ever made. The company lives by the idea that creating local jobs and sourcing locally is their responsibility, which is why 80% of the GO and GO Easy is from within 70 miles of the Western North Carolina area. Visit to learn more.




Erica Allison  SylvanSport  828-329-5089  [email protected]  

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