KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) - For many in Kansas City, the severity of the novel coronavirus didn’t hit home until February or March. But for some, the dismal future in the U.S. was clear before that, because they saw it in their native country of China.
The devastation in Wuhan seemed far away for many of us, but for Fang Shen and David Cheng who live in Johnson County, it felt much closer. They have family still living in China.
“When it started spreading in China, we were basically living it with our family and friends back there,” Fang Shen with the Kansas City Chinese Association said.
She says it was utter panic because there was so little known then, with no other nation’s experience or research to inform them.
“So people in China was in a much greater panic,” Shen said.
Friday, their Kansas City Chinese Association arrived at a KU Health System warehouse with 500 Honeywell N95 masks and 3,500 medical grade masks, along with a check for $2,000.
“We have some Chinese business in the local area and they’re doing the logistical business, so they have some resource in china to help us,” David Cheng with the Kansas City Chinese Association said.
They pooled resources with Chinese Associations in California, Ohio and Nebraska to make it happen. KU Health System officials were grateful for that contribution and so many others - businesses, individuals and organizations providing everything from money to medical supplies to meals.
“When somebody else has reached out and recognizes what they’re doing, that’s the real meaning behind it and that’s what makes it so wonderful,” Jeff Novorr, the Vice President of Support Operations at KU Health Systems said.
Before the fundraiser for KU, their group organized a similar effort for those suffering in China. But they knew their next effort would be in KC.
“I mean this is our country. This is our home,” Shen said. “We felt the urge that we really need to something for the healthcare workers here in our own community.”
“Thanks medical workers for fighting the coronavirus for us. The donation just part of our support efforts we’re not done yet. We are continuing working on this until we win,” Chen said.
KCTV5 News asked them if they’ve experienced any anti-Asian discrimination fueled by the virus elsewhere in the U.S.
They said they’ve heard of nothing from their Chinese group but have heard from colleagues in the Vietnamese community in the metro that someone got a middle finger at the grocery store and a Vietnamese nurse was berated by a patient, saying that nurse brought the virus to Kansas City.