Project RedButt made its big debut in November 2011 and in one short month we were able to construct and donate 25 sock monkeys to the kiddos that were "stuck" in the pediatric intensive care unit (PICU) at Omaha Children's Hospital on Christmas. In the grand scheme of things it felt like such a small gesture, but I hoped that our little monkeys could elicit a smile or two.
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I later came across an article from the Omaha World Herald and learned that Christmas Eve 2011 was an especially difficult one in the PICU. Sick kids. Impossible decisions. Broken hearts. Our monkeys can't fix those things. They can't make life in the PICU any easier. All I can hope is that we helped one person smile when they might not have otherwise.
Much like with our Books for Charley event, I couldn't help but think to myself "why stop there?" Why limit Project RedButt to the PICU at Christmas time when there are so many other kiddos in need of a smile? Lucky for us, we had some extra monkeys! I quickly started jotting down names of heart kiddos that I knew were facing scary surgeries and hospital stays. As their big days approached I carefully packaged up our little monkey friends and shipped them off to find new homes. I've been working on some updates for the Charley's Heart website and can't wait for you to see some of the pictures that we got in return. Lots of little monkeys. Lots of smiling faces. I call that a success!
Here's the catch...
We can't make enough monkeys for the PICU and to send to other heart kiddos all on our own. We have a little bit of a stock pile thanks to my mom (she has monkey making down to an art!) but they will go quickly.
Over the course of the past year we have had some pretty amazing people offer to help us out with Project RedButt. Some were proficient sewers who breezed through the process, others (including myself) taught themselves how to use a sewing machine because they wanted to help. That's part of what makes this so special! No monkey ends up looking the same...yes, they are made of the same pink and brown socks, but each one is unique. Some are very traditional and follow a set pattern, while others get "jazzed up" a little! Imagine my surprise when we started getting monkeys like these...!
We've had ballerina monkeys, diva monkeys with crowns and boas, monkeys with belly buttons and eyebrows...even tattoos! The possibilities are endless!
Here's where I do my best to solicit all of you "crafty" people!
As I eluded earlier, Project RedButt cannot continue without the help of others.
-Do you know how to sew and have a desire (and the time) to help? Even one monkey goes a long way!
-Do you know someone who might feel the same way? A friend? Co-worker? Church group? Sewing club?
-Not up for monkey making? How about accessorizing? We can always put tutus, pants or other items on our otherwise "naked" friends! Let your imaginations run wild!
-Not able to help but know of a heart kiddo that is in need of a little cheer? We're interested in hearing from you too! Let us know and we'll try our best to create some smiles!
If you are interested in helping or have questions about Project RedButt, please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I am more than happy to get socks to anyone who wants to join in...I can even include stuffing and buttons if you'd like. There are a variety of monkey patterns available online...like I said, every monkey ends up a little different than the next. (And please don't be intimidated by the monkeys pictured above...they are pretty extraordinary!)
RedButt is just a silly little monkey.
A silly little monkey that made Charlotte smile.
A silly little monkey that continues to make our family smile.
A silly little monkey that we hope does the same for others.