Throughout the pandemic, Virginia Mason patients and caregivers have been given facemasks when they come for in-person visits (if they’re not already wearing one). They might not know that many of these masks are handmade with love and care, by community members like Linda Talbott.
Linda is a retired nurse who worked at Virginia Mason in the 1990s. Now, she’s supporting our work from afar by making and donating masks. Each mask takes about 30 minutes to make — and she’s made 250 and counting.
“This is a small thing I can do, and masks are so important,” Linda says. “I think about it like when I used to help out in surgery: Putting on masks is just what you did, you didn’t think about it. I hope these masks are comfortable enough that people wear them again or feel comfortable using any kind of facemask.”
Linda puts careful thought into the fabrics she uses: She used some fabric that belonged to her late mother. She’s used seasonal prints throughout the year, even paying mind to having masculine and feminine designs around different holidays. And while COVID-19 has kept Linda’s extended family apart physically, making and donating masks has become an activity they do together, from a distance.
“We all started making them for different charities,” Linda says. “We share patterns and ideas for what works the best.”
Donating to Virginia Mason was an obvious choice for Linda. During her tenure, she especially enjoyed working with Debra Wechter, MD, a leader in breast cancer surgery. More recently, Linda got her COVID-19 vaccine through Virginia Mason and was very impressed with the process. Her daughter also works at Virginia Mason and delivers Linda’s handmade masks when she goes to work.
“The pandemic has been horrifying, I cannot believe the lives lost,” Linda says. “But I always enjoy sending off these masks. It's been a privilege to do this, to help in any tiny way.”