PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. — A nine year-old Pinellas County girl who spent the first years of her life battling cancer is now helping the same nurses and doctors who helped her.

What You Need To Know

  • Bella Cooney, 9, survived neuroblastoma cancer

  • Cooney and her family using crochet to create "extenders" for face coverings

  • Family receiving donations of supplies to keep their efforts going

  • More Good News stories

Isabella ‘Bella’ Cooney and her mother recently started making extenders for face masks for health care workers.

“I call them extensions," said Bella's mother, Susan. "But it’s crochet and there’s two buttons on either side and the nurses wear it behind their head or above their ponytails."

So far, they’ve made 700 mask extensions for more than a dozen health care facilities, banks and restaurant employees.

The idea came from a friend on Facebook who knew about Susan's skill with crochet.

For her part, Bella lends her expertise in picking out the right buttons for the elastic band on the face masks to connect to. She takes a lot of pride in the buttons she helps sort and match.

“I basically sorted the ones I like out of the ones I didn’t like and I made matches too,” she said.

Bella’s sister Maya is also helping out with the extenders. They’ve even figured out a way to help children like Bella who wear hearing aides.

The nine year old lost her hearing while undergoing chemotherapy treatment years ago after being diagnosed at 17 months old with neuroblastoma.

“We can’t wear our masks with hearing aides, so I came up with and made these little tiny ones,” Susan said. “I thought this was perfect for kids who have hearing aides.”

The family says they don’t plan on slowing down making the extensions anytime soon. Susan said she hasn’t had to spend any money on the materials because people hear about what they’re doing and step in to help with supplies.​

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