12-year-old Pa. Middle School Student Makes Face Masks for UMMC

GabriellaWhen Gabriella Hughes received a sewing machine for Christmas, she never could have imagined that she would put it to good use only months later — making colorful face masks to donate to the University of Maryland Medical Center (UMMC) during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The 12-year-old middle school student from Horsham, Pa. has made 35 masks with the help of her dad, who cuts out the fabric. The masks have different colors and patterns, including a few with a hot dog pattern; others have a flower design Gabriella sews into the fabric.

“I just like to help people and make people happy. It’s really nice to know that you’re helping people during this time,” said Gabriella, or Gabby as she is known to her family and friends, who is in 6th grade at Keith Valley Middle School in Horsham, a Philadelphia suburb. She was inspired to make the face masks because her mother’s longtime friend, Cindy Dove, is the director of nursing for surgical and cardiac surgical services at the medical center. Plus, her father, Brian Hughes, helped arrange for UMMC to receive 100 personal protective equipment (PPE) gowns made by furloughed workers from the fashion industry donated by Garment District for Gowns, a New York City nonprofit organization.

masksThere is also another family connection to UMMC: In January 2015, Mr. Hughes donated a kidney to a relative who needed a transplant. Both he and the recipient were treated at the medical center and are doing well five years later. Mr. Hughes and his wife, Carey, lived in Baltimore 15 years ago.

“As Gabriella’s father, I am very proud she wants to do this, that she’s very motivated to help. It’s in her nature,” Mr. Hughes said of his daughter’s philanthropy.


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