Health care heroes: Using a craft to help save lives

Health care heroes: Using a craft to help save lives

Many of people have hobbies or passion projects we enjoy because it provides a mental break from the stresses of life. Sometimes the hobbies help us the creative juices flowing or active in our communities. In some cases, the hobby or passion project can give you a way to give back.

All the reasons are true for one team member at Advocate Good Samaritan Hospital.

Lee Baker, a radiology project coordinator who has worked in different capacities at the hospital for more than 30 years, is an avid quilter. The passion started in her childhood, when her mother taught her how to sew. Those early days laid a foundation for her passion, and Lee went on to learn to sew her own clothes and display her quilted work at county and state fairs.

“Quilting is my passion,” Baker says. “I returned to school to receive my degree later in life. I told myself during my last year in school that when I graduate, I’ll make a quilt. My intent was to make just one in 2002. I have made hundreds since.”

After graduation, Baker not only quilted hundreds of quilts but also joined the local Faithful Circle Quilters Guild, which is 200 members strong. It pursues mission-based projects and charity work as part of their craft. Among their projects include seat belt pillows for women who have recently undergone a mastectomy, matching quilted NICU hearts for new moms and their preemies and comfort quilts for patients experiencing anxiety in the hospital during their stay.

When the COVID-19 crisis hit Baker’s local community, and the lack of personal protective equipment was apparent, the guild naturally sprang into action.

“The guild quickly organized around the need for face masks,” Baker says. “To date, we’ve made nearly 2,700 face masks for health care providers in the Downers Grove area, including team members and physicians at Advocate Good Samaritan.”

Since the Centers for Disease Control announced guidelines for all individuals to wear face masks in public, the demand for the guild’s face masks has only grown. Baker says that the guild’s efforts are primarily focused on health care workers for now because the need is so great and the face masks take some time to make.

“For me and my colleagues in the guild, it feels natural for us to leverage our skills to give back to the community and our heroes on the frontlines of health care in this way,” Baker says. “It’s the least we can do!”

Read about more health care heroes here.

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  1. Hello
    My name is Marlene Karafa and I have been sewing face masks as well. Can I offer my help as a sewer? I have been making the Olson Mask pattern with the inside pocket for replacement filters. Please contact me if you can use another volunteer.
    Thank you,

  2. I am making some masks too. Do you know where to drop them off?

About the Author

Jaimie Oh
Jaimie Oh

Jaimie Oh, health enews contributor, is regional manager of public affairs and marketing at Advocate Health Care. She earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism from the University of Missouri-Columbia and has nearly a decade of experience working in publishing, strategic communications and marketing. Outside of work, Jaimie trains for marathons with the goal of running 50 races before she turns 50 years old.