Angel Magnussen wants to help make hospitals a less scary place for children.
The 17-year-old, who has helped raise approximately $260,000 for children’s charities since the age of five, is now focusing efforts on her new non-profit company: Hugginz By Angel.
The company is driven completely by donations, financial grants and volunteer power. It aims to outfit hospitals across the province with sets of colourful flannel pajamas, gowns and blankets for children to wear during their stay, starting with West Coast General Hospital.
Angel, her mom Cheryl, and several volunteers have been hard at work sewing the garments, which come in a variety of sizes from toddler to teens.
“They’re really cute, they’re soft, they’re fun and kids love them the moment they see them,” Cheryl said. “We’ve been creating our own patterns, and making them simpler to sew, and a simpler fit for the kids.”
A total of 25 sets will be donated to West Coast General Hospital. As the success of the company grows, donations will be made to BC Children’s Hospital, Variety, and other hospitals across the province. In time, the company hopes to provide enough Hugginz products for hospital auxiliaries to sell in the gift shop, with proceeds going directly back into the hospital.
Born with Down Syndrome and many other complex health issues that have required frequent and extensive medical road trips to Victoria and BCCH since birth, Angel is no stranger to the inside of a medical facility.
“She’s always been scared to put on hospital pajamas, it just adds to that fear of the medical situation,” Cheryl said.
Angel said she decided to sew blankets and pajamas for sick kids to help take some of those stresses away. The name Hugginz was an easy choice – because each Hugginz product makes you feel like you’re being wrapped up in a warm hug, she said.
“I want to sell lots and donate lots of pajamas and help kids all over B.C.”
Hugginz are available to the general public for a minimum donation and all proceeds are put back into making more products for hospitals.
The company has received positive support from the community. Next week, a brand new serger donated by Alberni Toyota and Alberni Chrysler will arrive, making the sewing process much easier.
Now in Grade 11, Angel has been looking to plan her future and running a non-profit company was a natural fit.
“Her number one goal all the way through has been to help sick kids,” Cheryl said. “That’s what she lives for.”
The venture has even led to the young philanthropist landing her first job – just last week, Angel accepted an at-home job sewing medical sleeves for arm braces for a Nanaimo orthotics company.
To find out more about donating to Hugginz or to volunteer, please visit www.hugginzbyangel.com or call 250-724-7233. Email inquiries can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Donation tins have been placed at Home Hardware, Serious Coffee, Buy Low Foods. You can also donate at the Scotiabank, under the Hugginz By Angel account, #30270-00759-14.
* Niomi Pearson is a freelance journalist formerly of Port Alberni