DOUGLAS COUNTY, Colo. — A Douglas County teenager has created a GoFundMe to generate support for India's mounting COVID-19 crisis.
Dhruv Nambiar, a 15-year-old junior at Douglas County High School, said headlines about India's COVID-19 surge are deeply personal for him and other Indian-Americans.
"For me, it was always a bit more personal, a bit more immediate, because I have family in India," Nambiar said.
Some of his family in South India also battled COVID-19.
"They, thankfully, recovered safely, so I'm really grateful for that," he said.
Countless others haven't been as fortunate. Infections in the second most populous country in the world have now surpassed 20 million people. India's average of newly confirmed cases per day has gone from over 65,000 on April 1 to about 370,000.
"You have to put yourself in their shoes and think about what it must be like for everyone in that situation struggling over there," Nambiar said.
Other Coloradans in the Indian-American community echoed the same sentiment.
"With the number of cases growing everyday, I don’t know how it’s going to be tomorrow, how it’s going to be a week later. They’re [family] trying their best to stay indoors," said Zakirulla Khan, owner of the Green Bazaar in Aurora.
"It's been really stressful. I mean, it's something where they said, 'Hey, everything is good, perfectly fine,' to where it said, 'The second wave hit us so hard that like every hour, a 150 people die.'" said John Wesley, who owns an Indian restaurant in Aurora.
COVID-19 variants and massive crowds that gathered earlier in the year for political or religious reasons are thought to be causes for India's spike.
"It's getting bad. It's getting worse day by day," Wesley said.
"Apart from praying, there is nothing else we can do. The other best thing we can do is contribute from our side," Khan said.
The money raised from Nambiar's GoFundMe will be donated to the nonprofit, Give India, and the ongoing efforts to boost oxygen supply.
As of Tuesday night, the GoFundMe had raised close to $4,000.
"It's honestly astonishing. I really can't put into words that this has all been happening. I never thought that we would get this far, and I'm so grateful that we did," Nambiar said.
Nambiar has set the goal to hike a Colorado 14er for every $500 that is raised.
"I'm going to try to hike them this summer," he said. "I'm really looking forward to it."