Inayah's Journey

In October 2022, a friend of mine approached me and asked me if I would be able to make her daughter some bags for her feeding tube & Hickman line, as she was diagnosed with leukaemia. I was completely heartbroken that they were going through something so terrible, as I would for anyone going through this horrible disease, but especially since she was only 7.

I, of course, said I would love to help out. We discussed what her daughters needs were and what they would be used for (I was only aware of NG tubes due to having a premature baby myself). I recommended using a special waterproofing fabric that I use for some of my other products which is designed for food (food-safe PUL) and is medical grade quality. We agreed this was the best as the tubes obviously need to be kept as hygienic as possible. Over the next month or so, I made around 20 or so NG and "wiggly" bags for them with a few minor changes to the pattern that I had drafted.

(These were my first ones sent to my friend)

Now, I'm not a pattern designer but I really did enjoyed trying to figure out how it could be constructed. My friend sent me the cotton fabrics which her daughter had picked out herself and she sent me the clips which attach on the back of the NG tube bag. We decided that the NG tube bags needed to be a little bit bigger so I redesigned the pattern to the size my friend suggested. 

My friend gave me really good feedback and said that she hasn't seen anyone making them with the waterproofing fabric and they are working brilliantly. I was so over the moon, as knowing it was something I designed that had helped them, albeit in a very small way. 

In December, my friend approached me and asked me If she set up a 'Go Fund Me' page would I be willing to make them on behalf of her daughter who wanted to raise the money for children who cannot afford them. Unfortunately, the NHS is unable to provide them for the children. They would love to donate them to Addenbrooke's hospital in Cambridgeshire where her daughter is currently having treatment. Of course I said I would help.

During December they raised an amazing £1300+ for me to make 80 sets of bags (consisting of 1x NG tube bag and 1x Wiggly bag (Hickman line bag) a total of 160 bags! This was so incredible and she had such an amazing response to the go fund me and it's so amazing that they raised it so quickly when I know people are struggling with the cost of living crisis at the moment. 

My friend provided all the 100% cotton fabrics and the clips. I volunteered to supply the PUL, cotton tapes and snaps as I had some of this already in my 'stash'. During December I received all the fabric and clips for when I was ready to start work!

After Christmas I started work on making these bags. Within 4 full days I had made around 25 sets! (50 bags) I was so pleased that I was making progress and updated my friend on how I was doing. She was really pleased that I had already made so many but I knew it was going to take quite a while to get through all the sets. 

I started thinking about adding the snaps and decided that I needed to upgrade my snap hand press to something a bit more robust since I'll be adding 320 snaps to the 80 sets!. I love Kam snaps and I found that they did a big bulky table top press which would stop my hands from aching. So I ordered it! 

I was so excited when it arrived! I couldn't wait to use it! My hubby even offered to help snap some of the bags too - I couldn't say no! It was so much easier using this press than the hand one I was currently using.

I started to think that maybe we could get to 100 sets to donate! I volunteered to sew 10 sets (20 bags) for free as my donation to the hospital totalling around £160 worth which took us up to 90 sets! My friend was so grateful and pleased that she said that she would try and fundraise for the extra funds to get up 100 sets (200 bags) to donate. Each set will help a family going through something similar. These bags will help 100 children and I think that is just incredible.

At around 60 sets, I began to think about how we was going to package them and keep them hygienic in a hospital. I decided that I didn't want to use any plastic packaging as this going against my ethos about reducing single use plastics. I found some compostable packaging from a company I buy my other eco-friendly packaging from and thought this was a good alternative. 

I spoke to my friend about adding her daughters story to the packaging along with the materials I have used & care instructions. 

My friend wrote out her daughters story and my wonderful husband (who designs all of my packaging) designed this for us. I was really pleased with how it came out.

After just over 2 weeks work, cutting out, sewing, turning out, poppering (with a little help from the hubby) and then packaging I can finally say all 100 sets are finished!  I'm so grateful to have had this project to concentrate on and it's so nice that It's going to such a great cause. I'd love to thank my friend for trusting me with this huge project and I wish her daughter all the best for her treatment and recovery.

As I know it's hard to find patterns for these,  after finding it near impossible to find one to use for this project. I will be making these patterns available for free in the next few weeks with a full pictured tutorial so other people who wish to help and donate to hospitals all around the world can.



Tanya x

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