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Thousands of masks made in honor of local nurse who died from COVID-19

"Judy would’ve pushed us to do all we could to protect our patients and our teams and I wanted to honor her advocacy and dedication"
Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. — Thousands of face masks have been made for staff and patients at SSM Health St. Mary’s Hospital in the memory of a nurse who recently died from COVID-19.

Donna Spears, SSM Health director of maternal fetal medicine, along with her friends and family, made more than 2,000 cloth masks to honor her former colleague Judy Wilson-Griffin, who passed away on March 20.

Spears started “The Judy Project” by making masks for her staff and patients of SSM Health Family Birth Places and maternal fetal medicine clinics across the St. Louis area and it “grew organically.”

"I had a strong sense there would not be enough PPE for everyone, especially when we needed to hold on to approved PPE for medical personnel," Spears said. "I saw the faces of my doctors and teams scared of the unknown, and then losing Judy to COVID made it all too much. I’m not very good at feeling helpless. Judy would’ve pushed us to do all we could to protect our patients and our teams and I wanted to honor her advocacy and dedication."

Spears, her husband and their friend cut cloth and liners for 2,000 masks and put them into kits for their seamstress friends to make into masks, according to a hospital spokesperson.

A GoFundMe page has also been set up to raise money for materials for the masks.

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