Although material is getting scarce, Anna Dick, left, has begun producing made-to-order masks to help slow the spread of the new coronavirus. (Anna Dick/Facebook photo)
A Campbell River mother of four has found a great way to fill her time while helping others during the continuing COVID-19 pandemic: she is making reusable masks.
“I saw lots of posts from people wanting to buy homemade masks so I looked online for patterns,” said 35-year-old Anna Dick.
She attempted a couple of patterns and settled on the third one she tried, which includes a metal strip that fits over the bridge of the nose.
Anna and her family faced a difficult time last year when her toddler son Andre was diagnosed with cancer in February. The very sick but brave little boy went through months of grueling chemotherapy rounds at BC Children's Hospital in Vancouver. With adoring family by his side, Andre won his battle.
“He has been in remission since last October and he is happy as ever,” said Dick.
According to Anna, Andre's immune system is in the normal range and still climbing after his cancer treatment, but still, she does not take chances with her children and keeps them away from the public. They are being home schooled with the local district delivering both learning materials and food for the kids.
Anna began making masks last week with material she purchased from Walmart. She gave one to her mother and one to her uncle for his birthday and soon, orders started coming in.
She made 15 masks, mostly for family, and now she’s working to fill an order of 13. Dick charges $10 -$12 for each mask, which is well worth the materials and the 90 minutes it takes to make each one.
But the Walmart in Campbell River quickly sold out of fabric.
“I found out the Fabricland in Courtenay is still open and I found some cheap bandannas at the dollar store,” said Dick, adding that she made several bandanna masks in different colours.
The busy mom has been taking requests through Facebook and is willing to do custom orders.
“I'll ask people what colour they want, but I'm limited to the material I have,” she said.
Although health authorities in Canada have stated there is no evidence that homemade masks can protect a person from becoming infected with the coronavirus, facial protection in public is becoming more popular.
“With the need to reserve medical masks for health care workers, people are turning to homemade masks,” states the First Nations Health Authority. “Used properly, these masks can offer some protection when physical distancing is difficult to maintain, e.g., in grocery stores or on public transit. It’s important to note, however, that homemade masks have not been proven to protect the person wearing the mask. They can offer some protection to others around you."
To order a mask in the Campbell River area, contact Anna on Facebook by her user name, Chiihaich Anna Dick.