Two Culver Military Academy second classmen raised enough funds to purchase 700 pieces of personal protective equipment for medical workers in Wuhan, China, and New York City. Using the fund-raising arm of WeChat, Liuning (Keller) Fu (Shanghai, China) and Michael Sun (Beijing) have raised more than $7,000 since February.
And they accomplished this while their lives were being upended by the coronavirus pandemic.
Sun and Fu started the campaign in February while still at Culver. They read about the shortage of protective equipment for frontline medical workers as the virus was spreading in Wuhan. They established a public donation site on WeChat to raise money, Sun said, but the project was put on hold when they left Culver in mid-March and went home themselves.
Fu was lucky. He didn’t have to serve a separate quarantine when he arrived. Sun had to spend time in a Beijing quarantine hotel. “It was a small room with a bathroom,” he said. He did his first days of online learning while still in quarantine. “I’m lucky I had my computer.”
While they were getting settled in, Sun explained, people continued to donate. Some people gave $10. One person donated $200. By mid-April, they had raised more than $7,000. “People wanted to show their respect for the medical workers,” he explained, “and they wanted to help those people.”
Sun and Fu selected two hospitals in Wuhan and two in New York to receive the PPEs. In total, they purchased 200 pairs of gloves, 200 disposable safety outfits, 100 N95 masks, 100 pairs of shoe covers, and 100 safety goggles.
They made sure the transactions were transparent and the transportation was reliable. Sun and Fu know the equipment reached their destination. Sun said they have photos from Wuhan and New York showing the doctors and nurses wearing their items.
They also have something unique to commemorate their senior service project. For their work, Sun and Fu now possess a large acrylic plaque from one of the hospitals in Wuhan.
“It’s huge,” Sun laughed as he picked it up to show via Zoom. “It’s bigger than my head.”