More than $30,000 has been pledged online for Nina Pham, the 26-year-old Dallas nurse who became infected with Ebola while treating a Liberian man for the deadly virus at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital.
Sarah Strittmatter, one of Pham's childhood friends, launched the campaign Tuesday, a day after Pham was identified as the first person infected with Ebola in the United States.
"To those who know her she is a light for others, always shining, never faltering," Strittmatter wrote on the campaign's GoFundMe page. "She is genuine, selfless, and a true friend. She loves adventures, traveling, helping others, and a good challenge. She sees beauty in so many things, and believes in and supports others with a ferocity that is unforgettable. Her life has been an inspiration to those around her. So many have been touched by her life, her genuineness, her indomitable spirit, and her love."
Pham, a Fort Worth, Texas, native and 2010 graduate of Texas Christian University, is one of at least 70 people who cared for Ebola patient Thomas Eric Duncan before his death last week. Another nurse at the hospital, 26-year-old Amber Joy Vinson, was diagnosed with Ebola on Wednesday.
According to Wendell Watson, public relations director at Texas Health Presbyterian, the cost of Pham's treatment is being covered by the hospital. But other expenses, such as replacement costs for clothing and furniture, will not be.
"Everything Nina owns has been destroyed in [an] effort to avoid any contamination," Strittmatter wrote. "Also, her family is not working during this crisis, and needs support during this tough time. There are a myriad of expenses associated with a crisis like this ― many of them not covered under any compensation plan. Student loans, car payments, rent, vet bills, family travel and hotel fees, meals, etc."
Pham released a statement thanking well-wishers on Tuesday, saying she is "doing well." She was listed in good condition, and health officials are hopeful that she'll make a full recovery.
Pham's dog, Bentley, was rescued by animal control officers from her Dallas apartment on Monday and is being quarantined. So far, the year-old Cavalier King Charles spaniel has shown no signs of the virus.
"Bentley is in his new temp home," Sana Syed, public information officer for the city of Dallas, tweeted. "He’s wagging his tail and eating dinner!"