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Southeast Texas man plans to build ventilators to join fight against COVID-19

"When I watched the video and realized that I had all the skills necessary I just couldn't sleep that night."

Although Texas isn't experiencing ventilator shortages, one science teacher says he wants to be ready to help hospitals in need. 

Michael Black has been a science teacher for eight years. To help combat the coronavirus, he wants to bring 'Breath to the Bayou.' 

"When this outbreak first started happening, I was looking at ways that I can help out," Black said. 

He came across an article about ventilators designed by students at Rice University. 

"I stopped the video and paused and replayed and replayed and I was shocked to realize that I was familiar with all the components and all the skills to assemble that," Black said. 

Amy Kavalewitz is the project manager for Apollo BVM at Rice University. 

She says it started as a senior design project a year ago. 

MORE | The ApolloBVM at Rice University

MORE | Donate to the cause

"When COVID  hit we got a lot of people start searching around for ventilators and found a video of our project from last year," Kavalewitz said. 

The school started receiving inquiries from hospitals and government agencies. 

"So we put together a small team of about 6 to 7 people and started to do a redesign of the project with the thinking that we could turn it into a do it yourself open source project," Kavalewitz said. 

The project went 'live' last week. 

She says they already have 1400 people from over 50 different countries register. 

Black is one of them. 

"When I watched the video and realized that I had all the skills necessary I just couldn't sleep that night. I wouldn't be able to put it down knowing I had the capacity to produce these and took no action," Black said. 

Now he's raising money to fund the materials to build the ventilators and hopefully donate them to hospitals if needed. 

"I simply wanted to be available as a last resort so that they have that choice," Black said. 

As of Tuesday, the GoFundMe page already raised more than $2,000. 

"I'm just so grateful for the support. It's a beautiful thing. Crises like these bring out often the best in people and it's beautiful to see," Black said. 

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