Most ninth-grade girls worry about schoolwork, friends and crushes. Lately, however, Valerie Xu has focused on face masks.
The 15-year-old from Addison, Texas, says she wanted to do something about the lack of protective gear for medical workers during the coronavirus pandemic. She also wanted to combat stories stigmatizing Asian Americans during the outbreak.
Armed with resourcefulness and a teenager’s urge to fit in, Xu raised donations and delivered 10,000 protective masks to a Dallas medical center.
Some background: The donation drive started with a conversation Xu had with a family friend, a Florida emergency room doctor who was forced to wear the same protective mask for several days.
“This really amazed me in America,” Xu told CNN. “We’re supposed to be considered the richest country in the world, yet doctors and nurses fighting on the front line cannot get proper protection.”
Since Xu wanted to make a local impact, she launched a GoFundMe to purchase masks for the UT Southwestern Medical Center, the largest facility near her home.
So far, it has raised more than $3,800. Xu researched vendors in China and picked two suppliers, donating $1,200 of her own money to the cause.
She said her campaign so far has collected a total of 11,200 masks –– 10,000 surgical and 1,200 FFP2 masks, which are equivalent to N95 masks in the US.