Small But Strong: RI woman makes hundreds of masks to benefit pediatric cancer

Small But Strong

NORTH KINGSTOWN, R.I. (WPRI) — In the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, masks have become the newest fashion accessory.

Ella and Ali (Courtesy: Ali Hornung)

North Kingstown resident Ali Hornung, 20, is cranking out 50 masks a day in all shapes, colors and sizes to benefit a cause close to her heart: pediatric cancer.

One year ago, Hornung’s friend Ella Integlia, 14, passed away due to complications from her battle with leukemia.

Since then, Hornung said she wakes up every day determined to make her friend proud.

“She was so bright and positive. I want to have these bright, positive masks for not only the general public, but kids battling cancer just like she did to feel like ‘Here’s something familiar and fun that I get to wear,'” Hornung said.

That’s how Miracle Masks was born.

Hornung’s made more than 1,500 masks, 200 of which have been donated to healthcare workers and pediatric cancer patients.

She’s also donated $10,000, which she’s made in profit, to Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, including Hasbro Children’s Hospital in Providence.

Emerson receives her American Girl doll.

Hornung said she even bought bald American Girl dolls for 11 cancer patients and survivors, including Small but Strong alum Emerson.

There’s no telling how long the pandemic will last, but Hornung is determined that Miracle Masks will continue long after its over, just like her love for her honorary little sis, Ella.

“The overwhelming success that Miracle Masks has had, which was completely unexpected, I feel like it’s her saying ‘Keep going,'” she said. “It’s just her looking down and saying, ‘You’re doing a good thing and keep fighting.'”

More Small But Strong »

If you know a child who you think is Small but Strong, email Shannon at

Follow Small But Strong on Twitter at @_SmallButStrong.

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