“I have to really thank Live with Kelly and Ryan and SoFi,” Perpignan says. “I know I’m not the only one with student loan debt, so I’m sure people understand when I say that it was just such a heavy burden, and it’s really lifted a weight off my shoulders.”
Perpignan, who started as an ICU tech at NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia University Irving Medical Center, was inspired to pursue a career in nursing after seeing the important role nurses play in caring for patients and cultivating relationships with them and their family members. Perpignan was accepted into an accelerated nursing program at the University of Rochester School of Nursing, and after graduating in 2016 he came back to his old unit, this time as a registered nurse. “The staff really motivated me and pushed me to my potential,” he says. “They took the time to invest in me and uplift me. It it was an amazing feeling to come back to NewYork-Presbyterian, my home.”
Perpignan was working in the ICU at NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia University Irving Medical Center when the COVID-19 crisis hit New York City this spring. At the height of the pandemic, he stayed at a hotel so that he wouldn’t bring the virus home to his wife, Tiara, and two children, 3-year-old Madison and 2-year-old Jason. When he got back home to his Bronx neighborhood, Perpignan regularly checked in on elderly neighbors, bringing them groceries and prescriptions, providing them with masks, and showing them how to use telehealth when they needed it. Then, when other states needed help to fight COVID-19, Perpignan volunteered to travel to McAllen, Texas.
“Any way that I can help in a community, especially during this time, I feel like it is my duty,” says Perpignan. “That’s what I had to do.”
As a co-founder of the Greater New York City Black Nurses Association, Perpignan remains committed to working with underserved communities. Even before the pandemic, Perpignan, a native of Crown Heights, Brooklyn, worked to provide communities with resources and education “to help build that trust with local hospitals and within the healthcare system,” he says. He also works as a mentor to children. “I have to go back into the communities and uplift kids that look like me and that are going through things that I’ve been through,” he says. “Because that’s where it starts — I want to help inspire them at a young age to do something positive and give back.”
It’s for all those reasons that winning “Live’s Healthcare Hero $100K Giveaway” has been so meaningful to Perpignan. “Just having that opportunity to worry about one less thing financially,” he says, “I can focus more on the things I want to do in the community. My family and I are so grateful. This is life-changing.”