Brave health care workers are putting their lives on the line to protect us from the worst of the coronavirus pandemic. We’ve told you many hospitals are facing shortages of essential supplies such as face masks. And a former nurse in Southwest Florida hopes to change that.
We spoke to former nurse Jackie Ueker Thursday, who is helping health care workers in Southwest Florida and beyond by making much-needed face masks for them.
The coronavirus is a huge threat to people like Ueker, who has an underlying medical condition.
“Four years ago, I had a kidney transplant,” Ueker said. “We’re doing FaceTime right now because I am compromised, quite compromised, and I am staying home.”
When she could feel helpless, Ueker is instead offering help, sewing desperately needed masks for
“I just jumped on this and went, ‘Well, this is something I can do,” Ueker said. “I decided to see how many sewers are in our little community here.”
Because Ueker knows what nurses do.
“They have families of their own and they have to be very careful not to get sick,” Uekler said.
She has the life’s experience.
“Even if I can’t do that in the hospital, I’m doing it in this little small form,” Ueker said.
But the impact is huge, since Ueker is sewing nearly 40 masks a day. She sad a shipment of masks is already on its way to a hospital in Pennsylvania.
“We’re continuing to make masks constantly,” Ueker said. “That’s all I do during the day, wherever they’re needed. Although, I know they are not a substitute in any way for the N95 masks that are being used by medical personnel.”
But, for now, Ueker will substitute her books or TV for a sewing machine and replace her free time with time for others in need.
“I will continue to do this until there’s not a need anymore,” Ueker said.
Ueker’s local community members are supporting her effort and donating materials to her, so she can continue her mission to support health care works responding directly to the coronavirus pandemic.