Bay Area teens fight for healthcare heroes

Members+of+Fighting+for+Heroes+drop+off+masks+at+a+local+Bay+Area+hospital+after+a+successful+round+of+fundraising.+%22Ever+since+I+was+younger%2C+what+I%27ve+identified+myself+with+is+my+desire+to+make+a+positive+change+and+make+the+world+a+better+place.+We+take+so+much+for+granted+and+I+just+want+to+be+able+to+give+a+little+bit+back%2C%22+said+Angelina+Lue%2C+a+junior+at+Los+Altos.

Mask Drop Off/Angelina Lue/ Lue's Instagram/ Used with permission from Lue

Members of Fighting for Heroes drop off masks at a local Bay Area hospital after a successful round of fundraising. "Ever since I was younger, what I've identified myself with is my desire to make a positive change and make the world a better place. We take so much for granted and I just want to be able to give a little bit back," said Angelina Lue, a junior at Los Altos.

Through the power of social media and crowdfunding, Angelina Lue and her friends have raised nearly $13,000 in funds to purchase masks for medical staff fighting COVID-19.

A junior at Los Altos High School, Lue came up with the idea to start fundraising during the first week of quarantine after her school shut down. As she and her family watched the news, Lue noticed the dire need for crucial medical equipment like masks and decided to take action.

“I couldn’t just sit back and watch what was going on. I felt like I had to do something to protect the people who are risking their lives and their families’ lives by going on the frontline for hours on end,” Lue said.

After identifying masks as hospitals’ primary area of need, Lue reached out to her friends on Snapchat, looking for others who would be interested in joining her. That same day, the group started a GoFundMe and have since donated 15,150 surgical masks to over 13 Bay Area and New York hospitals. The group aptly named their organization Fighting for Heroes, in honor of the medical staff they aim to serve.

The Fighting for Heroes organizers are spread out among schools across the Bay Area. Other group members include Paulina Harding, a junior at Bishop O’Dowd High School, Sheryl Chen, a freshman at Menlo-Atherton High School, Marie Godderis, and Alicia Yim, both juniors at Los Altos High School with Lue. Together, the team is working on outreach to increase involvement, advertising the GoFundMe on various social media platforms, and physically purchasing and donating the masks to medical centers.

“I think knowing that citizens are doing their part makes healthcare workers feel like they are not alone in this fight against COVID-19. They know that people are constantly supporting them and appreciating their hard work,” Godderis said.

While medical staff on the frontlines against COVID-19 continue to work tirelessly, the drastic need for 3.5 billion face masks and respirators highlights just how important the efforts like Fighting for Heroes are becoming. As hospitals around the nation are running out of these critical materials, doctors and nurses become forced to reuse disposable masks, a practice that would typically never be tolerated.

Although this shortage of adequate supplies may seem insurmountable, Lue and her friends believe problems such as this can be easily overcome through the power of unity.

“I think coming together as a community to take action is imperative for flattening the curve, shortening recovery time, and ultimately saving lives. It is important to know that everyone, especially we teenagers, can contribute,” Chen said.

Fighting for Heroes is passionate about the message that all members of society must unite to defeat this disease. Although some teenagers may be feeling helpless or like they can’t do anything to help fight this pandemic, Lue and her friends are making an impactful statement about just how much teenagers can accomplish by committing to achieve their goals.

“Finding your sense of purpose will really open up a path for you in this time of uncertainty. Try something new, read a book, start a project. Do something that will leave a positive impact in your local community,” Lue said.