Allegheny Artistry is helping to raise money for Erie Shriner's Hospital.
Joanne Oviatt, Allegheny Artistry member, said she and her husband, Keith, met Emily Mellish at a Shriner's event in Erie a couple weeks ago. Although just six years old, Mellish has had 15 surgeries as a result of being born with Spina Bifida, Scoliosis and a severely constricted left leg.
Twice each year, Mellish undergoes surgery to lengthen the rod in her back as she grows. Currently, Oviatt said Mellish is wearing a custom brace on her left leg.
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Partners for a cause
Joanne Oviatt, left, and Emily Mellish, right, are working together to benefit Erie Shriner’s Hospital.
"To help keep her busy during recuperation periods, Emily's mom started 'beading' with her," Oviatt said. "After making jewelry for her family and everyone she knows, she got the idea that she could make bracelets, sell them and give the money to the Erie Shriner's Hospital so that they could help other kids the way they helped her."
Since July, Oviatt reported Mellish has raised $3,000 through "Beads4Needs." On Oct. 2, she had her first "Beading Party" at the hospital.
At that event, 50 people participated. Communities have gotten involved, Oviatt said, and some folks have donated buckets of beads while others help her sell them.
"Keith and I were so inspired by her spirit and smile that we asked if we could sell her bracelets at Allegheny Artistry Co-Op in Youngsville," Oviatt said. "Emily's parents loved the idea."
Within two days, they sold $145 worth. A week later, Oviatt said they picked up another supply.
While talking with Mellish, Oviatt mentioned they had some things in common. Both have rods in their backs and make jewelry.
Mellish's dad asked if Oviatt sets off the alarms at airports as well. She said yes, that's something else they have in common.