Luca Nicola 18 May 2020 3 min read

#contagiousstories: Ben, Jinny and Wilson secure masks for New York frontline healthcare workers

It all started on Tuesday, March 17, when Ben Wei, a student from New York, received this message from his friend, a doctor working at a Bronx hospital: “I’m pretty sure I have coronavirus. Unfortunately, my hospital won’t test me until I have registered a 40°C fever because there aren’t enough tests. My co-resident had to transport a coronavirus patient without a mask because our hospital ran out. I’m pretty sure he’s infected now too.”

Ben Wei continued to receive similar messages from his college roommates (many of whom are frontline healthcare workers) and he decided to something to change this situation.

During the same period, Jinny, like many other New York residents, started to feel anxious and afraid when she heard about the lack of personal protection equipment (PPE) in hospitals and that healthcare workers were being asked to bleach and reuse their masks.

In the meantime, Wilson had already started to take action and ordered masks for his doctor and nurse friends in hospitals.

Ben, Jinny and Wilson met in a group chat and decided to join forces. From this shared desire to help healthcare workers in New York, the crowdfunding #amillionmasks was born.

As New Yorkers, we couldn’t just sit around and watch – we’re fighters. We began to speak with medical professionals and hospital administrators and have identified that their greatest needs are masks – it’s their first line of defense when dealing directly with Covid-19 patients.  We started this fundraising campaign to provide a solution to this supply gap, and are pledging 100% of our GoFundMe donations to source US NIOSH-approved N95 Respirators and KN95 Respirators from CE-certified factories and delivering PPE directly to NYC’s busiest Emergency Rooms and Intensive Care Units.

So far, Ben, Jinny and Wilson have raised more than 600,000 dollars, involving 6000 donors and generating more than 9,000 shares. But they won’t stop there, their goal is to reach 750,000 dollars.


Luca Nicola

Copywriter since 1988, he began his career in De Agostini, and then chose to continue as a freelancer. Graduated in Philosophy, he is currently also a professor of Web Marketing at the Federlegno Training Center. As a communication consultant, he has been working for many clients for many years, including some large international groups. In 2012 he opened the personal blog “Mela N” where he deals with topics related to Writing, Communication, Content Marketing and Storytelling.