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14th February 2024 Community Stories

Helping families, one stitch at a time

Treasure Bears

A beloved service that has provided bereaved families with lasting memories of their loved ones is under new management.

CALHN Volunteer Services Unit group Stitched With Love has taken on Creative Health’s popular Treasure Bear service following the retirement of previous volunteer, Judith, last year.

Judith has been involved with the service for more than a decade, first with Laurel Hospice at Flinders Medical Centre and then with Creative Health.

But Judith has decided to hand over the reins to someone new.

Enter Stitched With Love.

Some of the bears Stitched With Love have created recently.

The sewing group is made up entirely of volunteers and is based at the Hampstead Rehabilitation Centre.

The group creates handmade items for everyday patient use, from stroke arm supports, slings and activity pack items.

And coincidentally, the group’s sewing hub is set up in the former home of the Mule Shed – the predecessor to Creative Health’s Activity Hub, now located at the Repatriation Hospital.

Volunteer Coordinator Carlie said that volunteers had developed a profound sense of achievement after taking on the service.

“Creating treasure bears from the clothes of palliative care patients isn’t just about making and creating bears; it’s stitching together a tangible product of memories to provide solace and comfort to those that need it most,” she said.

“By holding a fragment of someone’s story in their hands and through this opportunity our volunteers know they’re part of something special, a heartfelt creation with a lasting connection through every stitch.”

The much-loved Treasure Bear service forms part of Creative Health’s Art Therapy program, helping palliative care patients and their families find comfort in their final days.

Working alongside our Art Therapists, families can create legacy items to help commemorate their loved ones.

One option available is the Treasure Bears.

Offered at Southern Adelaide Palliative Care Service, Art Therapists Jackie and Abbi work alongside family members to pick out sentimental pieces of clothing.

The sewing group then takes the items and lovingly turns them into handcrafted cuddly teddy bears that grieving families can hold tight, keeping the memory of their loved one alive.

Creative Health thanks Judith for her dedication and commitment to the Treasure Bear service over the past decade and wishes her all the best in her travels.