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‘Too many people need help’: Calgarians fundraise for Chinese coronavirus supplies

Patty Xu pictured on Sunday, Jan. 26, 2020.
Patty Xu pictured on Sunday, Jan. 26, 2020. Carolyn Kury de Castillo/Global News

Calgarians are fundraising for medical supplies, like masks and protective gear, for people affected by coronavirus in China.

Almost 2,000 cases of a new viral respiratory illness have been confirmed since an outbreak began last month in the Chinese city of Wuhan. According to the National Health Commission, 56 people have died.

READ MORE: Health officials urge Canadians to get coronavirus information from credible sources

“Too many people need help,” said fundraiser organizer Patty Xu at the Calgary Chinese Cultural Centre on Sunday.

“We want to connect together to help our people to go through this time because all the hospitals are asking us for help because they’re too [short on supplies].

“They are working for over 24 hours, seven days, non-stop, and then they’re short of even gloves, even masks for protection. So we want to do more for them.”

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Xu said the goal is to raise $30,000 for those supplies. Within a day of launching the GoFundMe page, the group raised more than $28,000 by Sunday at 5 p.m. By Tuesday, the organizer disabled the page because it had reached over $38,000.

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“The mask is… the most shortage right now,” she said. “And then all the coverage about the whole body and then gloves as well,” Xu said.

READ MORE: Chinese consul general addresses virus concerns at Lunar New Year celebrations in Calgary

On Tuesday, Global News talked to Lucia Liu, a Chinese immigrant and high school teacher who is part of the fundraising efforts.

“I am so touched and I just can’t believe this overwhelming response,” Liu said.

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She said medical professionals in China are working in a risky situation.

“It’s because it came so suddenly and that’s why they don’t have enough medical resources, for doctors and nurses and also for all the patients and the people who need even standard masks to protect themselves, who are not sick,” she said.

“[I want to] let people in China know, doctors and nurses know that we care about them, we want them to take care of themselves, otherwise they can’t take care of the patients,” she said.

– With files from The Associated Press