ORANGE (CBSLA) — Last year, CBS Los Angeles introduced viewers to Tony Adkins, “The Dancing Doc,” a physician’s assistant at CHOC Children’s who brings joy to little patients on the mend, and Summer Germann, a woman creating whimsical hospital gowns for children in memory of her brother who lost his battle to cancer.
“If I really take the time to think about it, and know that I was making a difference amongst these children, then I think I’ve done my purpose in life,” Germann said last year.
But when the coronavirus pandemic hit, it became clear to the Brave Gowns founder that she had yet another purpose in life.
“We were working on the hospital gowns, and I was thinking this is not a time to sell hospital gowns,” she said. “What can we do to make a difference?”
So Germann developed a cloth mask that helps extend the life of the hard-to-find N95 masks by shielding them. The mask coverings can be washed and reused.
“It’s genius,” Adkins said. “It’s something very needed at this time.”
And with 250,000 Instagram followers around the world, Adkins has been using his social media fame to help Brave Gowns raise the funding it needs to produce the masks for medical first responders across the country.
“It’s so overwhelming sometimes to continually do your job and sometimes be under protected,” Adkins said. “So this mask, it’s proving another level of protection for us to be confident that our personal protective equipment is going to sustain a virus of this nature.”
Brave Gowns has shipped out more than 30,000 masks in the past two weeks to hospitals, police departments and families. Masks can be ordered online.