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‘Mask Angel’ creates more than 300 masks for healthcare workers

Medical transcriber at USA Health started out making masks for her boyfriend’s coworkers, but demand quickly took off.

Published Apr 13th, 2020

Bettina Kelson never intended to make hundreds of face masks.

A medical transcriber in USA Health’s department of pathology, Kelson had planned to use her free time during this period of social distancing to complete some unfinished quilts.

As the novel coronavirus began to spread, her boyfriend, an electrician, requested she make some masks for him and his coworkers. Kelson watched online tutorials, noting measurements and the most efficient way to make them. She used her fabric stash to create a dozen masks for her boyfriend to take to work.

Once USA Health declared that homemade masks were acceptable for use, Kelson emailed the pathology department to let them know she had some masks available.

“The response was incredible,” she said. “I received very generous donations and was able to purchase more fabric as well as other supplies needed.”

Pamela Rogers-Frink, a medical technician in the pathology department, described the masks as “soft, beautiful and very unique.”

“I am very happy to work with such a beautiful soul, our Mask Angel, Bettina,” Rogers-Frink said.

In addition to USA Health, Kelson has sent masks to her family and employees’ family members working in the medical field in California, New York and Indiana. At first she kept track of how many masks she made, but now she estimates she has made “well over 300” of her unique masks to date.

“Any essential worker can get a mask for free,” she said. “Most of the people receiving a mask are very grateful and will leave a donation, which is used to buy more supplies.”

Kelson said she is just one of many craftspeople using her talents for the greater good during the pandemic.

“There are millions of quilters and sewers out there all over the world doing the same thing I am doing right now,” she said. “But even before COVID-19, sewers and quilters have always donated for those in need. By giving something homemade, we want to gift not just an item, but the gift of comfort and love.”

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