Coronavirus pandemic: Using baseball uniforms as material, OC mom creates hundreds of face masks for cancer patients

A breast cancer survivor is turning former sports uniforms from an high school's baseball program into protective face coverings for breast cancer patients.

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Thursday, May 21, 2020
OC mom makes face masks from baseball uniforms for cancer patients
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A baseball mom from San Juan Capistrano is creating face masks made from former high school uniforms to help protect breast cancer patients.

SAN JUAN CAPISTRANO, Calif. (KABC) -- We're seeing a lot of innovation coming out of the coronavirus emergency. A high school baseball player's mother had an idea of turning old uniforms into face masks.

The J Serra baseball team in San Juan Capistrano is known as one of the most elite high school baseball programs in the state. With that comes high-quality uniforms. So when Jill Canales heard the material was good for face masks, she decided to check in with her son's coach.

"I thought I'll reach out to him, see if he has any uniforms that he would like to donate," said Jill Canales with BreastLink.

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Turns out coach Brett Kay had up to 80 old uniforms to spare.

"The fabric is good, you know it works and you know I've been lucky to have some pretty cool sets of uniforms where the fabric is really nice," said Brett Kay, a coach with J Serra High School.

Jill had the perfect group to receive the masks -- breast cancer patients that she works with at BreastLink, a diagnostic and treatment center based in Orange.

"Most of them who are in chemotherapy have severely compromised immune systems," said Canales.

The face coverings also get sent to RadNet imaging facilities across Southern California. All meant for the patients, their families and health care providers who they come in contact with.

So far, BreastLink volunteers have been able to turn the uniforms into about 300 masks. Jill herself is a breast cancer survivor, so she knows how important this is. Adding baseball to the mix makes it extra special.

"Anyone who's a baseball fan or has a son who plays baseball, it's always a great point of interest for them," said Canales.

Coach Kay says he was blown away by how unique and cool they masks turned out and is glad he was able to turn old memories into new accessories for the greater-good.

"Either I was gonna hoard it for years and years and years as long as I'm the J Serra head coach, or I could do a lot better with it," said Kay. "And, you know, Jill's idea was obviously phenomenal."