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Idaho Falls woman helps sew over 900 face masks for those in need

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Lindsay and Brian Ravsten | Photos courtesy Lindsay Ravsten

IDAHO FALLS — One Idaho Falls woman has helped make more than 900 cloth masks for those in need.

“Somebody asked me to make masks for her office because they couldn’t find any anywhere,” Lindsay Ravsten tells EastIdahoNews.com. “(Neighbors) helped cut the fabric, and then I sewed them together.”

She wanted to support those around her, partly because the COVID-19 pandemic isn’t her first quarantine experience.

Two years ago, on Labor Day weekend, Ravsten’s husband, Brian, wasn’t feeling well and went to the hospital. He was diagnosed with leukemia. It took about seven months of chemotherapy for him to be in remission. His immune system was weak during that time, and Lindsay and her family had to take extreme precautions.

Lindsay and Brian Ravsten with their children Mathias, Nickolas, Ashley, and Katelyn

“We had to limit people that come into the house. We put hand sanitizer by all the doors. We just had to be really careful about who could come home. If the kids got sick, (Brian) just had to stay in his room,” Ravsten says.

She says he had a positive attitude during his treatment, which was important. But then she faced a new challenge.

When COVID-19 hit, she noticed a problem when she and her husband would go to his monthly check-ups.

“When he goes in for his monthly checks at the cancer center, he has to wear a mask, and they were running out of masks at the beginning. The nurses barely had what they needed. That was one thing that I felt like, ‘Well, we can do this,'” Ravsten says.

She asked neighbors to donate fabric and material and “had an overwhelming response.”

“People donated a lot of money, and I was able to get a ton of fabric and elastic. My family was able to help sew a little bit,” she says.

Her masks were donated to the YMCA, Aspen Home Health Care, Teton Cancer Institute, Bonneville County Jail offices and many neighbors. She also made children’s masks because many were having trouble finding masks that fit them.

Ravsten says her situation helped her empathize with those who may be struggling or scared during the pandemic.

“It’s hard to be stuck inside and not socialize and touch anything,” she says. “It makes you be grateful for when you are healthy.”

She says there were lots of prayers and tears to help her pick herself up during this challenging time, but the biggest lesson she learned is that it’s OK to ask for help.

“That’s a hard thing to do as adults,” Lindsay says. “Once you are willing to ask for that help, people are always willing to give it. They want to help.”

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