Angel Magnussen of Hugginz by Angel places a parchment paper template on one of her latest blankets, preparing to quilt the heart. SUSAN QUINN PHOTO

Angel Magnussen hopes to inspire others

Alberni youth applies for $50K grant to keep charity running

Angel Magnussen of Hugginz By Angel in Port Alberni is a busy woman these days.

Magnussen has been named in the Top 10 for Roots Search for Canada’s Nicest Person. She is also in the running for a $50,000 Island Savings Community Grant from the online website Volinspire, which would help her keep her charity running for at least the next couple of years.

Magnussen sews blankets for sick kids around the world from her Hugginz studio in Port Alberni. Her mother, Cheryl, estimates Angel has sewn “well over 1,200 blankets” in the four and a half years since Hugginz began.

Hugginz started when Angel, who lives with Down Syndrome and a host of health concerns, wanted to make something for kids who were sick in hospital. She herself has spent months of her life in hospital, and told Cheryl “kids need warm hugs to help them get better.”

“We started giving kids a choice between pyjamas and blankets, and they all wanted blankets,” said Cheryl, who admits she was skeptical that kids really needed the blankets at first. That was before Angel insisted, and before stories came flooding in about how the blankets are helping children and families.

“It’s their ‘be brave’ blanket. they know they are loved and it helps them feel safe,” says Cheryl. Angel puts love into every blanket she sews by hugging it once it’s finished.

“We’ve had quite a few palliative kids and when they’re passing away, their families put their love in their blankets,” Cheryl said.

One little boy’s family wrapped him in his Hugginz blanket as he passed away. Another little girl wore her first blanket out during chemotherapy treatments, so Angel made her another one, which was handed down to the girl’s siblings when she passed away. Another boy, who has autism, wears his like a cape to school so he feels safe.

“It’s absolutely incredible to hear from families about how important the blankets are when their kids are passing away,” Cheryl said, tears filling her eyes. “I didn’t see the validity in it when Angel first started.”

Hearing stories from families about how the blanket affects their children “blows me away. I was wrong. Who should know more about what sick kids need than someone who has been there?”

They don’t charge families for the blankets. “It costs a lot of money when you have a child who is back and forth to the hospital all the time,” Cheryl said. “You’re paying so much in medical and travel expenses that there’s no way we want to charge families. We want to help families.”

Until January, when Hugginz By Angel became a registered charity, Magnussen’s organization relied strictly on donations—of cash, fabric and equipment. The Magnussens entered Angel in contests too: she was most recently winner of the national Post Search for Goodness contest last August, and won $10,000 to put toward her charity. It helped immensely in keeping Hugginz running, but it also thrust them into a catch-22, Cheryl said: the individual donations stopped coming, as people thought they were in good shape.

With cotton batting costing $650 a month, and postage to send the blankets away high too, the $10,000 was quickly absorbed.

”We were at a point I was really worried we would have to close the door. There’s only so long we could go on without donations or public funding,” Cheryl said.

Becoming a registered charity allows Hugginz to issue tax receipts for any donation above $10, and also allows them to apply for grants such as the Island Savings grant.

“This would carry us for one, maybe two years. It would allow (Angel) to continue to pump out 10 blankets a week.”

Requests for Angels’ blankets come from families around the world. As soon as a batch of blankets go out in the mail, the Hugginz in-box fills up with more requests, Cheryl said.

It is for this generosity to families of sick children that Magnussen was nominated one of 10 people in the running for Canada’s Nicest Person contest, which ends June 18. Another Vancouver Island woman, sign language interpreter Kristi Falconer of Victoria, is also in the Top 10.

To vote in the Roots contest, go online to http://www.roots.com/ca/en/contest.html?cm_mmc=Canada%20150-_-Organic%20Social-_-Facebook-_-Contest and click on the candidate you’d like to vote for.

The winning nominee will receive a $10,000 donation to a charity of their choice, a $500 gift card from Roots and a custom award jacket. Magnussen said if she wins, she would want her donation to go to either the Canadian Down Syndrome Society, Variety–The Children’s Charity (for which she has raised $330,000 so far) or Hugginz By Angel.

The Roots contest asks for people to vote daily for finalists. The Volinspire grant only asks people to sign up and vote once, at this website: https://volinspire.com/post/11107.

Angel always enjoys teaching people how to sew, and appreciates a helping hand. Anyone wanting to help out in the Hugginz studio or with fundraising can reach Cheryl Magnussen through hugginzbyangel.com or on their Facebook page.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Each quilt that Angel Magnussen creates for her Hugginz kids has four hearts quilted into each corner. SUSAN QUINN PHOTO

Just Posted

Wounded Warriors runners arrive in Port Alberni

Fundraising dinner will take place at Royal Canadian Legion

Arrowvale Farm near Port Alberni hosts maple syrup fest

Taste west coast maple syrup on Leap Year Saturday and watch demonstrations too

ACRD urges B.C. gov’t to upgrade Bamfield Road in wake of winter storm

ACRD board to write letter to Premier John Horgan, expressing urgency

More businesses in Port Alberni need a voice at city council, says one Uptown owner

Business owner says all businesses in the Alberni Valley need a louder voice

Port Alberni finishes strong in men’s bonspiel

Home teams make it to the finals at Alberni Valley Curling Club’s Men’s Open Bonspiel

Clothing, jewelry, purses: RCMP ask court about disposal of evidence in Robert Pickton case

Pickton was sentenced to life with no chance of parole for 25 years for the murders of six women

Ryan nets hat trick in return as Senators beat Canucks 5-2

Ottawa winger received assistance for admitted alcohol problem

Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs meet with provincial, federal ministers

Neither party speaking on the groundwork laid for tomorrow’s talks

Speaker ‘will not tolerate illegal activity’ on B.C. legislature grounds, says chief of staff

Chief of staff to the B.C. speaker Alan Mullen says situation with demonstrators appears ‘fluid’

MPs to examine privacy implications of facial-recognition technology used by RCMP

The MPs will look at how the technology affects the privacy, security and safety of children

Dates back to 2009: Calgary police lay charges in fraud involving semi-trucks

Three people from Calgary are facing charges that include fraud over $5,000

Comox 442 Squadron carries out two sea rescue missions north of Vancouver Island

Submitted by Lt. Alexandra Hejduk Special to Black Press 442 Transport and… Continue reading

Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs optimistic ahead of talks with feds, province

Discussions with provincial and federal governments expected to start later today

Most Read