Most kids don’t get their dream job right out of high school but then again, most kids aren’t as determined as Angel Magnussen.
“She’s always known that’s what she wanted to do, spend her life helping sick kids,” says Cheryl Magnussen, Angel’s mom, “and this is really cool, to actually have that realized so young.”
Angel, 18, took that passion and founded Hugginz by Angel, a non-profit company dedicated to sewing blankets for sick children and children with special needs all over North America. Being in and out of hospital as a result of complications to do with Down Syndrome, she knows what it’s like and wants to help out as much as she can.
While Angel never gets to meet the majority of the children she helps, the parents will send her photos of children with their blankets and stories about how the blankets have helped. But the most important thing to Angel is the knowledge that she’s helped.
“To her it doesn’t matter [if] she doesn’t get to meet all those other kids. What matters is that those kids get their blankets and they get well. She really believes that those blankets will help them get well and she stuffs them right to the brim with love.”
Cheryl applied to Telus’s “Give Where We Live” campaign in June and within a week the company had gotten back to them with the good news; they’d been chosen for the campaign. In the weeks that followed, Telus cameras followed them everywhere, from Port Alberni to Vancouver, and met the families that Angel had helped.
And then one day Telus had another surprise for the Magnussens.
“They sent us away one afternoon for a few hours… and then came down the road with us and everybody was here and it was happening. That was really cool.”
Angel and Cheryl came back to a brand new studio sitting on the front lawn of their house. While it’s not quite finished yet, they’re hoping to get a few little amenities put in as soon as the studio gets moved to its permanent spot on their property, later this month.
“We don’t have power yet, we don’t have any lights yet so we’re going to get the lighting put in here [so she can] work here in the evening. We have four different working stations, lots of storage and this is the station for cutting the material and getting things set up, which is great.”
Angel gets close to a dozen requests a day so to keep organized, Cheryl wants to use the iPad they were given by Telus and hook it up to a monitor and a keyboard to stay on top of all the work.
And there’s a lot of work: in addition to making the blankets, Angel also paints pictures.
“She’ll be selling the prints in her online store once that gets open and the original paintings will be going to charities or families in need.”
Between auctioning off the blankets, paintings and all of the other charity work Angel’s done over the years, she’s raised more than $270,000 and raring to do more.
“Things have been a little slow for her because she’s been having all those surgeries lately so it’s been a little bit tougher for her lately, but by mid-August we’ll have an open house for the public [with] a big barbecue,” Cheryl said.
“She was in the hospital for her graduation so she missed the ceremony…[at the] open house we’ll do a little graduation ceremony and she’ll get to wear her cap and gown and we’ll get someone to come officiate so she feels like she still has a graduation ceremony.
“Her friends who all graduated will all come over with their caps and gowns on too and they can do their own little mini ceremony.”
Angel will also be giving sewing lessons to anyone willing to learn, and to help out.
“We’ll be putting our open sign out on the street and putting announcements on Facebook every day, which times it’s open so we can start tackling the list,” Cheryl said.
They welcome anyone who would like to come and sew regularly, and have other non-sewing tasks available for people simply wanting to volunteer, she added.
“This is a huge step forward and she’ll be able to help so many more people.”
For more information on Hugginz by Angel, please visit facebook.com/hugginzbyangel, hugginzbyangel.com, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 250-731-3927.