A Texas teen, Valerie Xu, donated 11,200 masks to UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas - all in hopes to help fight the COVID-19 and dismiss the bias against Asian-Americans in the United States amid the pandemic.
15-year-old Valerie Xu said that she had no hesitations in taking action when she began to notice a shortage of masks and PPE in hospitals across the U.S.
She also mentioned that the shortage of masks and PPEs, especially in a first world country like the U.S. is something that should not be happening. That is why she expressed that as a citizen of the country, she has a civic duty to try and help the first responders in any way possible.
The urgency to help only increases when they have found out that a family friend of their who works as an ER doctor in Florida had to reuse the same mask and protective gear for multiple weeks. Apparently, their family friend is not the only doctor that needed to do that.
Xu believed that in order for a community to fight the virus, medical responders must be safely protected.
Aside from this, the teen also shared that she was inspired to take action after experiencing racism firsthand.
On March 20, Xu launched a GoFundMe page called, Masks Matter, wherein she asked her friends, family, and community members for donations to buy masks. She also partnered with a local Asian-American-run business in Dallas, that has matched all of her GoFundMe donations.
For only a few weeks, the teen was able to raise a total of $7,500 - $3,130 from GoFundMe and another $3,130 from the company match. To reach her mark of $7,500, Xu donated $1,240 from her own account.
With all those donations, she was able to buy 10,000 surgical masks and 1,200 FFP2 masks - the equivalent of N95s - from a vendor in China that her mother found through their family connections.
Xu admitted that she did not expect her cause to be this big. Her goal was to at least have 5,000 masks but when they notice that the donations kept in increasing, they decided to increase the number of masks that they will purchase. She expressed how thankful she is to everyone who helped out, spread the message, and contributed to her cause.
The teen got to personally deliver the masks to the Dallas hospital staff on Friday morning. Xu said that all the medical responders were working day and night and by doing her campaign, she gets to express her gratitude.
She also mentioned that it meant a lot to her especially for the reason that she wanted to show others that Asian Americans are standing alongside the health workers and are willing to contribute.
Xu also said that she wanted people to know that when it comes to helping people, every action - be it big or little - matters.
Even after donating 11,200 masks, the teen does not plan on stopping. According to Xu, her campaign is still open and receiving donations. She plans to extend her campaign by giving masks to nursing homes and homeless shelters.
To donate to Xu's "Mask Matter" campaign you may check her GoFundMe page.
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