SAN FRANCISCO — An elderly victim of an anti-Asian attack has made headlines twice — first by fighting of her assailant and later by giving away the funds that were donated to her.
On March 17 at around 10:30 a.m., Xiao Zhen Xie, 75, was on Market Street in San Francisco when a man, unprovoked, punched her in the face.
In footage captured by Dennis O’Donnell, a sports director for KPIX, Xie fought back against the attacker with a wooden stick, leaving him with a bloodied face. He was handcuffed to a stretcher when officers took him away.
The assailant was identified as Steven Jankins, 39, who was connected to a separate attack the same day. Ngoc Pham, an 83-year-old man who was shopping for groceries, suffered cuts, bruises and a fractured nose.
Go Fund Me pages were set up for both victims’ medical bills.
Xie’s page was set up by her grandson, John Chen, who wrote: “I am fundraising for my grandmother that was racially attacked today on 3-17-21 Market Street. I am amazed by her bravery. She was the one that defended herself from this unprovoked attack.
“But she is now suffering two serious black eyes and one that is bleeding unstoppably. Her wrist has also swelled up. She has been severely affected mentally, physically, and emotionally. She also stated that she is afraid to step out of her home from now on. This traumatic event has left her with PTSD.
“Although she has health insurance that covers the basics, there are still many medical expenses that cannot be covered on her own. She is a cancer survivor and she also has had diabetes for over 10 years now. The funds that we receive will be used to cover her medical expenses, her therapy treatment, and her bills that we will have to pay constantly from now on.
“We want to thank everyone that is donating and that has shown my family massive support through this very traumatic event. My heart is with all the other elderly Asians that has also been seriously injured or killed in this wave of attacks towards the Asian community.”
As of March 25, nearly $970,000 had been raised.
Chen wrote on March 22, “We visited our grandma yesterday and today her overall mental and physical health has improved. Her eye is no longer swelled to the point of not being able to open it. She is now starting to feel optimistic again and is in better spirits. She said we must not submit to racism and we must fight to the death if necessary.
“She also stated multiple times to donate all the funds generated in this GoFundMe back to the Asian American community to combat racism. She insists on making this decision, saying this issue is bigger than her. This is my grandma, grandpa, and our family’s decision. We hope everyone can understand our decision.”
The fundraiser for Pham was established by Community Youth Center of San Francisco,
Which said, “Ngoc was one of two elderly Asians attacked by the same perpetrator at the same location. As a result of the attack, Ngoc sustained injuries with cuts and bruises on his head from the fall. Ngoc’s nose was also fractured and doctors are also ordering an MRI scan for fractures in his neck bones. It has yet to be determined how serious Ngoc’s neck injuries are as doctors are still evaluating them.
“Ngoc is still in the hospital and is in good spirits. Ngoc has always had a positive outlook on life as a result of him surviving 17 years in a Vietnamese concentration camp.”
On March 25, more than $285,000 had been raised and the following message from Pham was posted: “I am overwhelmed and touched by your love, words of encouragement, donations and prayers for my recovery. I am recovering and will be checked by different specialists and clinics from opthalmology, ear/nose and throat, orthopedics surgery, vascular surgery and neurology.
“Words will never be enough to express how thankful I am for all of you coming together as a community to support me. I have decided to turn the donations off as your donations have greatly exceeded my goal. I will use the funds to pay for necessary medical expenses and give back to the community.
“My heart is saddened by the loss and injuries suffered by many other victims across America. I truly hope that our communities will become safer so that we can live in peace. Let’s stand together against hatred and violence. I am forever thankful for all of you and your support.”