If any of you watched the Late Late show last Friday evening you may have saw Tony and Mary Heffernan talking about their two beautiful children who are diagnosed with Battens Disease. This is a heart wrencing story and I urge you visit the interview if you have not already seen it here on RTE Player. Please note the interview is towards the end of the programme.
The Heffernan family actually live in the same village as me in Kerry and their two beautiful children are of similar ages to my own and I am amazed by their strength and devotion as parents. Their children are the only two diagnosed people in the South of Ireland with Battens Disease and they have formed a strong friendship with a family up North Alan and Shauna Bates, mother of 9 year old Rhiannon who is also battling Battens.
To understand the struggle these families are facing dealing with Battens, I took this excerpt from the website
"Over time, affected children suffer mental impairment, worsening seizures, and progressive loss of sight and motor skills. Children become totally disabled and eventually die.
Batten disease is not contagious nor, at this time, preventable. To date it has always been fatal."
I put my thinking cap on for what I and we can do as creative people to help raise awareness and support for the Heffernan family and other families who are dealing with Battens and came up with the idea
"B is for Brooches, Bee is for Battens".
First of all I will explain that the symbol of a Bee is used as the emblem on their website and logo http://www.beeforbattens.org/ and I got thinking of Bees and flowers....
What I am asking people to do is knit, crochet or handmake a flower (papercrafters can die cut felt etc.) and send them to me. I will add pins to the flowers and sell them as brooches in the shop and online. I will add a tag to the brooch with the Battens web address on one side and "Handmade by..." on the other.All proceeds will go to the Saoirse foundation to help raise awareness and create support. Its important to note that I have been in contact with The Heffernans and they were very supportive of this idea.
Also on Good Friday (Friday 2nd March) I will host a very special edition of our regular knitting group which will be dedicate to making the flowers for the brooches. The yarn will be supplies so all you need are your skills and support!
So what can you do?
1. Make and send a flower to me (or more if you have the time)
2. Come to the knitting group in the shop next Friday and make some more (10am to 12pm)
3. Spread the word and link to this article and more importantly the Bee for Battens website http://www.beeforbattens.org/
Please post your flowers to The Crafty Alley Shop, 6B Scotts Street, Killarney, Co. Kerry.