By LILY TINOCO | Reporter
Palisadian Xander Klein, a current sophomore at the University of Texas studying biomedical engineering, recently helped create Fuel Our Heroes LA, a campaign to raise funds for healthcare professionals.
Klein, alongside his friends Sacha Pritzker, Harry Gestetner and Simon Pompan, found themselves all back home from college in Los Angeles and decided to create a campaign to raise money for healthcare professionals.
“This has been a very challenging time for all of us … we were feeling pretty helpless just sitting at home doing nothing,” Klein said to the Palisadian-Post. “We have to stay home while there are people, a couple of miles from our homes, who are risking their lives tirelessly, day after day … presenting challenges that don’t even compare to anything us students or anyone else is facing right now.”
Klein acknowledged that this is an urgent time.
“We want to do our part to help abate the detrimental impact this virus is having on our healthcare system, and support our frontline medical professionals risking their lives for our safety,” Klein said.
The group began by reaching out to hospitals in the greater Los Angeles area and found that UCLA’s hospital was in need, struggling to provide adequate protection and support its hospital staff.
Through partnering with UCLA Health, a 501(c)(3) eligible charity fund, they were able to launch a campaign on Friday, April 4, that will use the funds to purchase personal protective equipment, meals, snacks, and sponsor gift cards for doctors, nurses and healthcare workers on the front line of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Donations can be made through June 30, contributing to a goal of $150,000.
Fuel Our Heroes LA has raised more than $48,000 with UCLA since inception and is beginning to spearhead initiatives around the country.
“The responses from around the country were quite unbelievable,” Klein shared. “Friends, family and people that are not connected to us whatsoever reached out to ask how they can start initiatives up in their city. In a matter of days, our small campaign in Los Angeles quickly turned into something much larger.”
The second campaign Fuel Our Heroes, a 501(c)(3) pending charity, launched was in New York. Since then, they have created campaigns in Boston, Nashville and Denver, with plans to launch in San Francisco, Chicago, Austin and Atlanta.
Klein shared that the funds raised, among other initiatives, will contribute to additional support. Fuel Our Heroes Nashville will help provide funds for child care costs, housing and PPE. Fuel Our Heroes Austin will fund PPE, testing and medical supplies as well as overtime pay for care providers.
Klein shared that the UN Secretary-General recently made a statement that “the recent coronavirus outbreak is the greatest test for the world since World War II.”
“This is our generation’s war and to do our part, we’ve been instructed to stay at home to prevent the spread of COVID-19,” the organization’s donation page states. “Our doctors, nurses and medical staff are sacrificing everything, day after day, to prevent the proliferation of this virus ravaging cities around the world. Let’s do our part to support our modern day heroes.”
For more information or to donate, visit fuelourheroesla.org.
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