RIO VISTA — Madison Myer has turned her love of arts and crafts into a way to help her peers.
The 11-year-old Riverview Middle School sixth-grader makes identification badge reels, with the help of her mother, grandmother, younger sister and great-grandmother. They feature a retractable cord that connects to a badge holder. It also contains a belt clip for attaching the badge reel to clothing.
The family uses small plastic lids from medical vials supplied by a variety of sources, including Children’s Hospital, where her mother, Joanna Myer, first saw the badge reels. Myer purchased the supply of badge reels from the hospital’s gift shop. Madison liked them and told her mother she could make them.
Myer was in Children’s Hospital at that time because her oldest daughter, Deven Davis, 17, a Rio Vista High School senior, is battling cancer. The family began letting friends and co-workers know about the venture. The orders started arriving.
Madison decided it was time to give back and donates the proceeds to Children’s Hospital in Oakland. She’s raised more than $1,200, exceeding her goal of $1,000.
With all five working at the dining table, the women can make about 50 badge reels in 90 minutes. They divide the tasks.
“Once you get on a roll you just go with it,” Myer said. “It’s a family affair. We all pitch in.”
Madison and her 10-year-old sister, Lacee Myer, enjoy adding the embellishments, from a simple jewel or pink ribbon for breast cancer awareness. Each is different; colors and decorations vary. Madison favors using purple, brown and white.
The biggest challenge for Madison is using the hot glue gun to secure everything to the small plastic lids, “without burning your fingers off,” she said.
Lacee, 10, who attends D.H. White Elementary School, loves to do the decorating. Among her creations is one with a gold ribbon that signifies childhood cancer awareness.
Working together is also therapeutic.
“It’s fun to sit with the kids and take our mind off things,” said Marilyn Riley, Myer’s mother. Madison said the group often laughs.
Myer is very proud of her daughters and praises them for taking on such a project. She said that many 10-year-olds and 11-year-olds don’t always think of others.
“I knew all along they were generous, kind and loving,” Riley said of her granddaughters.
Davis was diagnosed with epithelioid sarcoma a day before her 17th birthday. She’s getting ready for her second course of radiation, already having undergone chemotherapy and radiation.
Riley, Myer and Lacee have shaven their heads in support of Davis. Madison cut hers.
“I’ll keep it shaved until Deven’s grows back,” Lacee said.
Lacee and Madison understand what their sister is going through.
“She has a tumor that’s big, softball size, that makes her have pain,” Madison said.
“She goes into the hospital and gets chemo a lot,” Lacee said.
Great-grandmother Dorothy Morrison, who says she supervises the badge reel assembly line, is amazed at what comes from the small plastic lids.
“It’s stuff they have probably been throwing away all these years,” she said. “I have no imagination. I could see throwing them away.”
To see the badge reels, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Reach Amy Maginnis-Honey at 427-6957 or email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/amaginnisdr.