A SCOTTISH businesswoman with an army of volunteers is helping to cheer children undergoing major treatment at a Scottish hospital.
When children in the Schiehallion or cardiology wards at Glasgow Children’s Hospital undergo treatment, they receive a bead, known as a Bead of Courage, to show how brave they’ve been.
The initiative has been so popular, the children’s hospital charity recently appealed for volunteers to help them make “bead bags” for their young patients.
And city businesswoman Jenny McCreary, who runs her own firm Sew Confident, jumped on board to help out.
She said: “The beads are used as meaningful symbols of courage that commemorate different milestones such as blood transfusions, bone marrow transplants, hospital stays, chemotherapy and radiotherapy treatments.
“Their beads build up over time into a unique record of what they have been through. Some days are really tough for these kids. The beads are used for encouragement and say to everyone ‘that was tough, but I did it’.
“As they progress through their hospital journey they may collect many hundreds of beads. The beads are stored in bead bags.”
At Sew Confident Jenny said they have the machines, the people and the skill to make loads of these little drawstrings bags that brighten up a child’s day.
She added: “I have a friend who is a paediatrician at the hospital and she made me aware of the charity appeal. I think she thought I could probably share the appeal with my Sew Confident customers but I decided to make a day of it instead. I’m not one to miss an opportunity for tea, cake, sewing and socialising, the fact it was for a good cause made it even more worthwhile.
“So I asked for volunteer sewers and fabric donations to help make as many Beads of Courage bags as possible in eight hours. We had no shortage of help, and even had fabric sent from as far south as Norfolk.
“Some local businesses stepped in to help too. Mandors donated loads of amazing kid-friendly fabric and The Hidden Lane Tearoom donated cakes to keep the sew-ers in high spirits.
“When it comes to a charity like this most people have some kind of connection with it. Whether they have first-hand experience of the excellent care you get in The Glasgow Children’s Hospital or have friends, family who have had their children in there at some point.
“The Beads of Courage program is fantastic, I think spending a day sewing the kids drawstrings bags is really the least we can do. The day itself was great. Some people were cutting, others were sewing in stages and some were finishing them off by threading the rope through at the end. I had a mixture of existing customers and people who heard about the appeal for volunteers on social media and popped in to help out.
“We had a rough idea that we wanted to get to about 100 and towards the end of the day we had a count and discovered we were at 87.
“We ran another hour to get over the 100 mark and we did it.
“It seemed like the perfect number to stop on.
“I’m going to keep in touch with the Glasgow Children’s Hospital Charity and run another event when the bags run low again.”
If anyone wants to make some at home Jenny has a tutorial up at http://www.sewconfident.co.uk.