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Q&A Putting a smile on children’s faces

Almost two years ago Heart to Heart (UK) was founded to help parents and their children through the ups and downs of living with a congenital heart defect. A team of embroiderers decorate cuddly toys known as

Heart Warriors for these children to provide comfort. KERRY HENRY of Cutessentials, the company behind the embroidery, answers some questions about Heart to Heart (UK) and the work it does.

Q. Tell our readers about Cutessentials? A. Cutessentials was created by myself. I’m a stay at home mum, who wanted to be able to run a business from home to be around my three young children. My business grew out of my machine embroidery hobby that started in 2004 when my first child was born. Being based at home in the loft allows me to work and care for my children without having to work outside the home. One day I aspire to open a shop once all my children reach secondary school age.

Q. What is Heart to Heart (UK)? A. Heart to Heart (UK) is the sister company of Heart to Heart (USA) founded by friend and mentor Sandra Huss. Heart to Heart is run as a Facebook group for parents of children with congenital heart defects (CHD). Originally its main aim was for warrior pets to be created as companions for children with CHD by providing some comfort in hospital during difficult procedures and long hospital stays, as well as a friend to take along to hospital or doctor appointments. However, the group has also become a friendship group for a lot of those parents. There are four people who assume the role of main admins for Heart to Heart, namely myself, Sandra Huss and Kymm Bundy (a mother of a son with CHD) who are responsible for group membership applications, and Lorraine Bell who is responsible for the sponsor list. The company’s main aim is to spread

CHD awareness and provide comfort to children

Q. Who is Heart to Heart (UK) aimed at? A. We aim to reach the parents of those

“To me it's a special ‘friend’ for my son. So as he grows (hopefully) he can

see, how I see him. The motif used on the heart buddies sum up what I want to tell him every day! As well as being super soft and cuddly” – Georgina Paulson

children suffering from CHD so they can either purchase their own warrior pet or apply to join our sponsor list.

Q. Where did the idea stem from? A. The original idea: A mother of a heart warrior contacted Sandra Huss in October 2013 asking if she could make something for her newborn daughter who just had open heart surgery. Warrior Pets was created because both mine and Sandra’s lives were deeply touched by so many young children fighting CHD. These tiny babies are indeed little warriors, fighting for every heartbeat. Some win the battle against CHD, some are not so fortunate ... these are our little Angels. The Heart Warrior design was created by

Sandra Huss. The Angel Warrior design was created by myself. Both designs are unique to the Heart Warrior’s Facebook group and are copyright of Heart to Heart. The original group was formed in the US

in October 2013. It covers the US, Canada and Australia. The sister group was formed in the UK

also in October 2013. It covers England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales and EU.

Q. What products do you use and what are the reasons for this? A. We use the Original Embroider Buddy embroiderable stuffed animals from Canada. They are the best quality embroiderable animals available on the market and as a company we always try to source the best products available for our customers. Alternatives have been used in the past but we find that the Embroider Buddy products are not only fantastic quality but also have the largest embroiderable area of any others. Both Heart to Heart (UK) and Heart to Heart

“It means a very special 'group hug' to all us parents/carers and children/angels with a special heart. When my boy hugs his, he knows there are many out there thinking of him and hugging him back” – Michelle Davies

“To us it represents the fight fought hard and what we have come through to be where we stand today, side by side and still fighting with every heart beat” – Hannah Simons

“To me it’s a special friend for Issac and a keepsake of the journey we've endured together. The smile it brings

(USA) provide Heart Warrior Buddies and Angel Warrior Buddies.

Q. What techniques do you use to decorate the products? A. Our products are embroidered using Madeira threads and ancillaries and Brother PR machines, although all items in the Embroider Buddy collection are large enough to be embroidered very successfully on a single needle machine.

Q. How many children have received a Heart Warrior to date or how many items have you decorated? A. Close to 500 Warrior Pets and Angel Pets have been given to children, the majority of which have been sponsored by others rather than purchased by parents.

Q. Is there anything else you would like to tell our readers? A. The complete Embroider Buddy collection, including home and holiday décor is now available in the UK and

Europe through G&B. n For more information visit or

to his little face is priceless. It's something they can look back at and think I can't believe what I've been through” – Stacey Dawson

“My little boy loves cuddling his and takes it everywhere. He also knows there are other little boys and girls with poorly hearts too and for parents we see how we all pull together and see our little ones fighting CHD every day” – Louise Paterson

“Because it was sponsored it means that someone out there acknowledges what a fight my little man has had and how even in the darkest days his courage is noticed. He loves his and shows it off with pride and he often gets asked about it, which means more awareness about CHD is raised” – Kymm Bundy

June 2015 | 45 |

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