Annie Mason, who serves as one of two Co-Chairs of the Virginia Community Network, along with her other Co-Chair, Kayleigh Brodeur, held their first “Boozle Bear Sew-a-thon” on Saturday, September 30th and Annie felt that it was a rousing success.
“Our first Boozle Bear Sew-a-Thon went off without a hitch. We had set a loose goal of making 20 or so bears. Without a clear count of attendees we set out making sure we had materials laid out for easy access, with stations set up for each step of the Boozle process. As people arrived, we greeted families and then sent them to the table of their choice. It was a lighthearted, low-key affair. As the room filled with chattering voices and active hands there was a sense of joy and friendship in this activity.”
We want to thank the many volunteers who have donated their time in helping to make these beautiful bears, especially our two Boozle Bear “Leaders”, Sandi Jacobsen and Annie Mason, who help to get volunteers started with the Boozle Bear making process and serve as mentors.
While it is not possible to single out every volunteer who contributed to the success of the event, it would be a grave omission not to acknowledge Kayleigh Brodeur’s Mother, Jayne Frelin for driving approximately 90 miles to help out by not only doing sewing machine duty, but taking the time to teach children how to sew.
Kayleigh shared, “We all had plenty of time to catch up with old and new friends alike. Our community heart for one another grew. We may not have reached our original goal, but we came very close with 17 finished bears and 8 started, soon to be complete. We found areas where we can improve on time and production. But honestly, the things that slowed us down were: Interacting with one another; Laughing and eating; Taking time to teach little ones to sew. In the end I don’t think we’d change a thing because it was about so much more than meeting a quota. Our final thought: these Boozle Bears will find a home that a child (or sometimes an adult) can learn the shunt process either by a doctor, a nurse, or a parent. This teaching tool is priceless. For us, this day was priceless.”
Our Boozle bear, who has hydrocephalus, was created by Dory Kranz and Sarah Zadorozynj. Boozle is used by doctors, nurses and parents to teach patients, old and young, about hydrocephalus and how shunting works. Boozle comes with a detachable ventriculo-peritoneal (VP) shunt which is donated by Codman. Anyone can learn to perform “surgery” on this bear. Since their creation, the bears have been featured at WALK sites, in school meetings, various medical conferences, and even as a children’s workshop at our biennial conference. Kids have taken these bears to school to educate their peers about hydrocephalus.
Looking to replicate this event?
We would highly recommend that every Community Network conduct this event. Not only are you able to create something that can raise funds for HA, but the time spent working and talking gave us an opportunity to learn about each other that we have not had at other events.
Any Community Network looking to replicate this event should contact The Hydrocephalus Association at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Read the reflections from one of our participants HERE