LOVELAND, Colo., (CBS4) – A Colorado native, now living in Wuhan, China, is raising money to send ten thousand face masks to Chinese hospitals facing reported shortages of medical supplies due to the deadly coronavirus. He’s already donated $2,000 of his own money and needs less than $8,000 more to meet his goal.
While visiting family in Loveland, Jake Tilleman’s heart and mind remain in Wuhan, China. It’s where he’s lived and worked for seven years, and the place he and his family call home.
“My life has been great there,” Tilleman said. “This is the first time I’ve been back in Colorado in three years.”
Currently, Wuhan is the epicenter of the coronavirus, which has sickened more than 1,000 people and killed several dozen. With new travel restrictions in place, it could be some time before Tilleman gets to go home.
“I don’t think people want to tell me that they’re panicking or anything like that, but there’s definitely a lot of anxiety for everybody there,” Tilleman said.
That had Tilleman looking through Chinese social media for ways to help. After seeing posts by several Chinese hospitals, he’s now he’s raising money to buy and ship face masks because of reported shortages of medical supplies.
“I think we can all empathize with the terror that I would feel and how that would affect my job as a doctor trying to check these patients,” he said. “I would want my doctor to be as well-protected and at ease as possible, and I think that’s something we all can relate to.”
Tilleman tells CBS4 he has worked out a deal with a supplier to ship 10,000 face masks at a cost of $10,000. He hopes Coloradans will have it in their hearts to help by donating to the GoFundMe page he’s created.
“One of the things that’s always struck me is just how similar we are as people,” Tilleman said. “We have a lot of the same concerns, we want to be happy, we don’t want tragedies like this to befall us as well. So, I think that’s a common piece of humanity we can all center around.”
Tilleman said his family is OK and currently staying outside of the city where it is safer.
If you want to help him raise money for these face masks, you can visit the GoFundMe page.