When Yan Dong, MD, a radiation oncologist from Pioneer Valley Radiation Oncology at the D’Amour Center for Cancer Care, first learned about the personal protective equipment (PPE) needs at Baystate Health, it didn’t take long for she and her friends to jump in to action and help.
She had been keeping in touch with her friends and former classmates from the University of Science and Technology of China (USTC). As Dr. Dong was the only one among them who is working in the medical field, they expressed their concerns about access to PPE during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“This immediately led to a conversation on how we could help. As the coronavirus is largely under control in China and China has had ramped up mask production, there are more spare masks available on the market. So we quickly reached a consensus that we would pool some money together to buy masks to donate to Baystate,” shared Dr. Dong.
There was much uncertainty about likelihood that the masks would be able to be shipped out and received in the United States. However, the group was able to find a reliable mask exporter through their alumni connections and within three days of their initial discussion, the masks were shipped and received by Baystate Health within the week.
Dr. Dong and her friends did not stop there. She continued to seek out other donations from the Chinese American community.
“It is very heartwarming to see so many volunteers trying to help. They are collecting money donations from generous people from both the United States and China, and then purchase masks and other PPE from China. They donate those PPE to the hospitals and nursing homes in need,” said Dr. Dong.
Thanks to the work of Dr. Dong and the generous organizations formed by volunteers, Baystate Health has received donations from the Chinese American Resource Exchange, USTC of China’s Alumni Association in USA, WeStar Alliance in Boston, and Overseas Save Chinese Children Foundation. In addition to this, Dr. Dong has also received donations in smaller quantities from USTC alumni that she’s never met – another way kindness has brought people together to make a difference.
The fast action and generosity of Dr. Dong and her friends across the globe has helped make a difference at Baystate Health. Though, Dr. Dong shares she was playing the role any of her colleagues would have in this situation.
“What I have done is simply to serve as a connecting person between Baystate and the amazing organizations formed by volunteers,” said Dr. Dong.
“Any staff at Baystate would have done the same if they were in my situation. We are all in this together and we will go through this together!”
Learn how you can make a difference at Baystate Health during COVID-19.