Toronto cancer survivor sews hundreds of masks to keep community safe

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TORONTO –
A Toronto woman who has survived breast and bone cancer spends her time in the midst of the pandemic carefully sewing on masks to keep her community safe.

After realizing that everyone would be socially distanced for a while, Deanna Insley said that she was grateful to have her sewing machine with her.

“I decided to just take care of it,” she told CTV News Toronto. “And [thought] hey, let’s secure the whole community so that we can all get out. “

She said that soon after, she made about 600 hundred masks for people.

“We joked a few times because it looks like she has a factory in the kitchen,” said roommate Lisa Monaco. “She has a ton of it now, and she just gave it to anyone who really needs it.” “

“Many of us are afraid to go out to the grocery store … It just gives people a sense of security and confidence. It is really special and something that we cannot take for granted. “

Insley said it is distributing the masks at no cost to recipients.

“It feels good to help others and to know that I am protecting them, and they are all very grateful,” she said.

With growing interest in wearing masks in public, Insley said demand for them has only increased.

Insley said she knows what it’s like to have a weakened immune system and the vulnerability that goes with it.

“It is not the worst I have ever experienced, but my glass is still half full,” she said. “I’m just trying to encourage people to try to find the positives in what we’re going through. “

Staff at the hospital, where Insley received treatment, received some of his homemade masks.

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“They loved them so much that now all the other nurses want them,” said Insley with a laugh. “I’ll make a thousand masks for them if they need them just to help pay for them. “

Monaco said that seeing Insley thrive on its sewing machine during this pandemic was “motivating”.

“It moves me and I am so happy that she is here with us today,” Monaco told CTV News Toronto. “I love that she is able to pay it up front, so it was wonderful.”

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And even though Insley sometimes struggled to find the right elastic for the masks, she said she would keep making them as long as she could.

“I am blessed to be able to do this,” she said. “This is how I feel about charity … you do what you can. “

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