RITA BODE AND THE LISTENING MICE
We all love hearing good news so let me tell you about Rita Bode, if you haven't heard about her amazing work already!
For the last 18 years, Rita has been making 'Listening Mice' for children in hospital who may find it comforting talking to stuffed animals. Rita found this through personal experience when her own daughter was being treated in hospital, she had retreated into herself and wouldn't speak about her traumatic experience. That is until back at home, Rita was walking past her bedroom and heard her 6-year old daughter sharing her story with one of her stuffed animal toys.
One of our Organic Cotton suppliers, Verhees, has been sponsoring Rita Bode's volunteering work for the past ten years offering safe cotton fabrics suitable for children. Alongside Listening Mice, Rita also makes premature baby outfits, hats, and probe pouches, donating around 8000 items to date!
As toys for children in hospital, not only do you need to ensure the fabric is safe for children, Rita states "I pay close attention to whether certain things can come loose, and to stitch the eyes instead of using beads. You should also make sure that you use the right filling, so that children do not have an allergic reaction. Since I really want to make sure there's nothing wrong with the toys, I'll keep doing this on my own."
The first stuffed animals were donated in the Sint Franciscus hospital in Rotterdam, the Langeland hospital in Zoetermeer and in the oncology department in the Erasmus hospital in Rotterdam. (At this point, the pediatric oncology department has moved to the Princess Maxima Center in Utrecht). In addition to Listening Mice, baby items are also donated to the Isala hospital in Zwolle.
What wonderful dedication and devotion, highly admirable of Rita Bode. Plus, it's great news for the environment as the little animals are great scrap-busting projects! It's definitely inspired me to get making again!