By Lisa Sun, HA Administrative and Program Assistant
Our Boozle bear, who has hydrocephalus, was created by Dory Kranz and Sarah Zadorozynj. Boozle is used by doctors, nurses and parents to teach children 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, Boozles have been featured at WALK sites, in school meetings, various conferences, and even as a childrens’ workshop at our biennial conference. Kids have taken these bears to school, and Boozle is a great way for them to educate their peers about hydrocephalus.
We want to thank the many volunteers who have donated their time in helping to make these beautiful bears, a special big shout out to Annie Mason, Sandi Jacobsen, Staci Buckner and Colleen Talbot.
Annie has graciously shared with us her experience with making Boozle. Here is her encounter with the Bear:
In early 2011, I started a support group in the state of Virginia. When I received the materials for my first meeting, a Boozle bear was included. I knew that I had a young mother coming who had a child about 5 years old. With HA’s permission, I gave her the Boozle bear for her son. That same day I got the most endearing email from her, in which she described how his eyes lit up when he realized that this little bear “has a shunt, too!!!!”
A short time later I volunteered to take a box of Boozle bears that were incomplete and finish them. The big box arrived with all the materials that I needed and I set to work. I had the pattern instructions and about 20 bears that had the front section finished with stitched eyes and the inner muslin through which the “shunt” will be placed. The steps were laid out on the instructions and I started my own little production line. I made it my plan that I would work on these a little at a time, and keep in mind that these would eventually land in the hands of a little one who would delight in the fact that this little bear also had a shunt like them.
My favorite part is stuffing these little guys….it’s when they take on their own personality and cuteness. I decided to add a little ribbon of the Hydrocephalus Association aqua color to tie around each neck. I imagine that each Boozle bear can be a teaching tool for medical staff….but also must be a helpful for parents who are frightened about explaining to a small toddler who may not quite understand the process. Making these turned out not to be “work” at all; it’s pure JOY.
We can always use volunteers to help us make these wonderful bears. If you like to sew or are able to trace, cut, embroider and stuff and are interested in helping with this project, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. Have a Boozle story? We’d love to hear from you!