Pirates and Treasure Chests!

Pirate ducks found in geocaches worldwide
Pirate ducks found in geocaches worldwide

My little boy is crazy about pirates at the moment….and even more crazy about treasure hunts. So you can imagine how excited he was to hear about all the pirate ducks that have been travelling the world and hiding in real life treasure chests as part of the phenomenon of ‘geocaching’.

So what is geocaching?

Geocaching is a real-world, outdoor treasure hunting game using GPS-enabled devices such as mobile phones. Participants navigate to a specific set of GPS coordinates and then attempt to find the cache (container) hidden at that location. Each cache contains a log book or log sheet where you can sign your name and larger ones often contain a variety of small gifts. The custom is that if you take something, you leave a gift yourself for someone else and then carefully replace the cache where you found it. You can find more information on geocaching and how to get involved HERE.

Ben's PeeBats Duck in Geocache
Photo sent in to us by the finder of a geocached duck
Geocaching Ducks by JaneL2008B - not sure when taken
Duck and log sheet found inside a geocache

One of our awesome members, Jane , is a big fan of both knitting and geocaching and has now hidden around 100 little ducks in caches around the UK. Obviously the items need to be small so Jane likes to make duck keyrings using the pattern by Shaz Peacock on our website and then attaches one of our tags to them. These are logged on the world map as “Ben’s Peebats”. For smaller caches she leaves tiny plastic yellow duck keyrings instead which are logged as “Pirate Peebats”.

Geocaching Ducks by JaneL2008 - not sure when taken
Some of Jane’s “Ben’s Peebats” keyrings
Tiny plastic keyrings
Some of Jane’s tiny “Pirate Peebats” keyrings, including Rincewind who has travelled the world!

“Geocaching is a real world treasure hunt.  It’s great, free, exercise and you get to visit some lovely places you didn’t know existed” says Jane.

“The lovely thing about leaving the ducks in geocaches is you never know when or where one will turn up on the map. Pirate Rincewind keeps appearing all over the place. In 2015 he travelled around Wales, England and Holland before ending up in Texas earlier this year. I know it’s mine because I can track him through the geocache site. I’ve seen the knitted ducks in use as bag charms and it always raises a smile.”

Piratemania3 2015 by JaneL2008
Jane’s pirate-themed ducks for Piratemania 2015

Last July Jane took part in Piratemania – England’s biggest annual geocaching event – which was being held in the Peak District. She made numerous pirate ducks which she left out in the open all around Bakewell, where the event was being held, with the LYD Project tags attached. Jane has made the instructions on how to make pirate eye-patches and neckerchiefs available online for those who would like to make their own versions.

Have you ever found one of Jane’s ducks? Are you one of our other members who likes to hide ducks in geocaches? Do you fancy giving geocaching a go? Let us know – we’d love to hear from you!

 

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6 New Countries*!

6 new countries in 3 monthsB

It’s been really exciting watching the duck reports coming in over the last few weeks as we seem to be notching up new countries on the map faster than ever.

We are now up to reports of ducks in 87 countries* worldwide with an estimated 20,000 of these little life-saving ducks passing on their life-saving message around the world!

Click on the map below to view the map and a full list of locations:Duck Map 31.3.16The latest countries* added are as follows:

  • Kabul, Afghanistan – 22.12.15
  • FalklandIslands – 4.1.16
  • Barbados – 27.2.16
  • Albania – 7.3.16
  • Borneo, Malaysia – 26.3.16
  • Rio de Janeiro – 26.3.16

Another report in today also put the first duck on the map in mainland Chile (Easter Island, part of Chile, joined the map some time ago).

Please keep helping us to spread the lifesaving message about the importance of blood, bone marrow and organ/tissue donation around the world!

* We have included dependencies, territories and autonomous regions in this term

 

Our Heartfelt Thanks

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Meet Katie (above), one of our awesome supporters!  Katie has been has registered as a blood and bone marrow donor since finding out about the Little Yellow Duck Project in 2014.

Katie also told her Mum, Jenny, all about the project and Jenny became a big supporter of ours too, kindly making ducks to help spread the message of the life-saving gifts that donors can give.  Just a few weeks ago, Jenny found herself in need of multiple life-saving blood transfusions and today Katie has sent across a very personal message of thanks to all of our thousands of duck-makers across the world…

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This is a message to all of you wonderful maker of ducks about one of your own, my mum, Jenny.  This is also a message to all of you awesome finders of ducks who read the tag, went to the website and took up the challenge to become a donor.

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Mum was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer shortly before Christmas 2015. We were relatively lucky, it was operable.  Her tumour blocked the bile duct from her liver giving her a striking yellow hue, so we had that Christmas with our very own Minion!  Wait, I should have said our very own Little Yellow Duck.  Yes, that’s better!!!

Suzy Compton2

They did whatever they did to temporarily unblock the duct, return her to flesh coloured and allow her liver to recover some before the ‘big’ op.  She had the big op about 2 weeks ago.  In a bid to win a prize for the fastest weight reduction programme they removed:

  1. The tumour (hurrah!)
  2. Some lymph nodes
  3. Her Gall Bladder
  4. Half of her Pancreas
  5. Most of the bile duct
  6. Her duodenum – had to google that one, it’s part of the small intestine

The surgery took a time-warping 9 hours due, in part, to the discovery of a “never-before-seen” arrangement of blood vessels – but then we always knew she as special!!!  Her recovery was remarkable – she was on her feet the next day!  She also dealt with 2 infections and a leak in her new internal plumbing with remarkable resilience.  She was nearly home.

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Then, Day 12 post-op and, thankfully, just before discharge, she had a massive internal bleed.  This is where you, the army of little yellow duckers, come in and thank goodness for you ALL.  In a 6 hour op, she had her entire blood volume replaced – as well as, to continue the weight loss plan, the rest of her pancreas and her spleen removed.  Things were very dicey and we are still most definitely in the woods. BUT, the day after surgery she was awake and talking.  She has been sleepy since but we had that day with her.  That is a whole day we would not have had without blood donation, without the ducks.  

Super Hero ducks by Tina Thomas
We hope for more but in the midst of the trauma of illness, having one day should not be underestimated, it is everything.

Internally, she is literally half the woman she was, in spirit, however, she is indomitable.  Please take a moment to hear our heart-felt thanks and then … get ducking!!!!!!!!!

Katie x

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Everyone at the LYD Project is keeping Jenny close in their thoughts and sending her their love and positive wishes.  Stories like these are daily reminders that every single blood donor really is a life-saver. Thank you to each and every one of them and also to all our wonderful volunteers to keep encouraging people to think about the part they can play in saving the lives of others.

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5,000 Ducks on the Map!

The title says it all….we made it to 5,000 ducks on the map this week!

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Even more excitingly, this means that there are likely to be around 25,000 of these life-saving little fellas around the globe (since we estimate that only 20% are logged on the website)!

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Talking of around the globe…the ducks have been reported from an incredible 78 countries worldwide so far.

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Want to see what that looks like? Check out this photo:

5000 Duck Map October 2015

Well that’s lovely, but why does all this matter so much?

Time for some more sobering statistics….

Because this number of adults and children are waiting and hoping for a bone marrow transplant to save their lives:

37,000 bone marrow donors needed

And well over this number of adults and children are waiting and hoping for an organ transplant to save their lives:

500000-sand

And let’s not forget that this number of blood donations that are needed every year just to keep up with current supply:

108 million

Makes you think doesn’t it?

5,000 ducks on a map may seem like a drop in the ocean compared to this massive level of need.  But every drop makes a difference. And these ducks are too.

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Here are a few of the messages that have been received in recent weeks from those who have found ducks:

“We’re already listed as organ donors, however Quackers has prompted us to also get catagorised and listed for stem cell donation.”

“The Brazilians are knowing to be a very good helpers and I will start this project in my country which has more than 200 million of people. I will donate blood as soon as I can and organs”

“Since looking at the website me and my partner have both decided to start donating blood (already signed up for organ donation) so wanted to let you know the project works. ”

So a huge ‘thank you’ to every single person who has made a duck in the last 18 months and here’s to the next 5,000 on the map.  Please keep going, keep talking about this issue with your friends and please keep registering to donate.

Together, we are making a difference.

Margaret Mead Quote

 

It’s Good to Talk…

NTW2015

Have you ever stopped to think about how many conversations you have had in the last year?

In 2013, designer Nicholas Feltron decided to find out the answer to exactly this question and the results are staggering.  For an entire year, he painstakingly logged every single conversation that he had with another human being.  He included face-to-face conversations, telephone calls, text messages, letters, emails and Facebook messages, the results of which can now be viewed in the 2013 Feltron Report. The result? Over the course of a year, Nicholas had an incredible 95,000 conversations.

Speech bubbles above the city - Modern communication concept
Speech bubbles above the city – Modern communication concept

These days, it is easier than ever to communicate with those around us.  As well as the face-to-face conversations we’ve always had, technology has now broken down the barriers of distance and time, allowing us to have conversations with anyone, anywhere in the world and at any time of day or night.

Yet despite those 95,000 conversations we are each having a year, half of us never talked to our loved ones about being an organ donor after we die.  Why does that matter? Because it would be their consent that would be needed if organ donation were an option.  Last year, 90% of families who knew their loved one’s wish to donate gave consent. But where families were unaware of their relative’s wish, 42% refused consent.  And with the numbers of people donating organs falling and the numbers of people needing life-saving transplants is rising, that’s a really big problem to resolve.

Jo Griffith with her yellow ducks
LYDP supporter, Jo Griffith, with her yellow ducks

This week is National Transplant Week in the UK and people all over the UK are being asked to get behind it’s key message of “7 DAYS TO SAY YES I DONATE”.  It’s about asking people to have one simple conversation with their loved ones to ensure their wish to save lives through organ donation is known.  It doesn’t take a lot of time and it doesn’t matter how you have that conversation, it just matters that it happens.  By doing this, we can all do something positive to change the fact that 3 people die each day in the UK due to the desperate shortage of organs for transplant.  Each donor can save or transform the lives of up to 8 people through organ donation and countless more through tissue donation. But if we don’t have that conversation with our loved ones, we may never get that option.

According to Nicholas Felton’s report, each of us is likely to have over 1,800 conversations this week.  Please make just one of those one in which you let your loved ones know your wish to be an organ donor in the future.

Thank you.

Australian ‘Donate Life’ Week

Australia Donate Life Week

Many of you may recall that last August, the Little Yellow Duck Project launched in a rather spectacular way in South Africa. Throughout August 2014, South African members of the knitting website ‘Ravelry’ battled to get as many little yellow ducks as possible across the country and members from the north and south of the country even ran a competition to see who could get the most ducks on our world map!

Duck in Sydney Harbour
50-ft high rubber duck in Sydney Harbour 2013 (designed by Dutch artist Florentijn Hofman)

This August it’s the turn of Australia to take on the challenge! This week is ‘Donate Life’ week in Australia and so our wonderful Aussie LYDP team has decided to use the whole month to get as many yellow ducks as possible across their country.  I am so grateful to Katherine and her team for making this possible, and to the Donate Life team for getting involved too and promoting little yellow ducks as a symbol  to encourage people to discuss their wishes regarding organ donation. The Australian Government OTA is also advertising the campaign HERE.

There are a couple of special requests for those making ducks in Australia this month:

1. On the back of the normal tags, please write ‪#‎havethechat‬.

2. So we can trace them on the map, please name them Austen (or [chosen name] Austen).  Austen is a unisex name that means “dignified” (like the gift of life), has the same origin as the month’s name August, and shares four letters with Australia.

Mathskat for Australian Donate Life Week
‘Austen’ ducks ready to be released!

You can read the incredible story of how an organ transplant saved the life of Australian LYDP supporter, Kate Rootsey on our website home page here.  Kate’s life was saved because an incredible family said ‘yes’ to allowing their loved one’s organs to save lives after their death.  Very few people ever die in circumstances in which they could be a potential donor, so it is vital that those who would want to save lives in this way ensure their family know of their wishes.

Kate Rootsey and
Kate Rootsey and daughter Molly

If you haven’t already made your family aware of your wish to be an organ donor, please follow the message of this year’s Australian Donate Life Week and #havethechat.

It’s Yellow Duck Day 2015!

So here we are! 12 months to the day since we launched the Little Yellow Duck Project with a cute idea and a lot of dreams.  Not only did we make it to our first Birthday but we have done it in style.  There have been over 3,000 ducks logged onto our world map in 61 different countries and on all 7 continents of the world.  Here’s how the ducks spread across those continents:

15th April 2014 – 1st ever duck logged on the website! The duck was named Donald and he was found in Stockton-on-Tees, UK.

16th April 2014 – 1st duck outside the UK was logged in Guernsey, Channel Islands.

23rd April 2014 – 1st duck on the continent of North America (Bluffton, Indiana).

11th May 2014 – 1st duck logged on the continent of Australasia (Melbourne in Australia)

10th July 2014 – 1st duck logged in the continent of South America (Lima, Peru).

28th July 2014 – 1st duck logged in the continent of Asia (Phi Phi Islands, Thailand)

1st August 2014 – 1st duck was logged in the continent of Africa (Johannesburg, South Africa)

30th November 2014 – 1st duck logged on the continent of Antarctica (Port Lockroy).

14th April 2015 – Almost one year to the day the first duck was found, the 61st country was added to the map with the addition of the Dominican Republic!

Today marks the first anniversary of the project but the second anniversary of one very special person who is – and will always be – at the very heart of the Little Yellow Duck Project …Clare Cruickshank.   Clare was my best friend, my soul-sister and the godmother to my little boy. She was the most wonderful, funny, thoughtful, giving and simply wonderful person you could meet and it’s been hard to get through two years without the sunshine she brought to every day of life for those around her.

I’d like to take this opportunity to thank Clare’s wonderful Mum – Ann Rowcliffe – for sowing the seed in my mind that grew into the Little Yellow Duck Project by choosing to remember the first anniversary of Clare’s death in a positive way – by doing random acts of kindness for the day.  It was whilst trying to think how I could join Ann in this mission that the idea of the LYDP was conceived…and the rest, as they say, is history. She has also been a huge support to the project throughout the whole of the last year.

Over the last 12 months I have seen the project flourish into the most beautiful, perfect and fitting tribute to Clare, her life and her personality.  Although Clare never got her second chance at life due to the shortage of organ donors in the UK, she chose to donate her corneas, the result of which is that two other young adults can now see.  One of the things that Clare liked to see most was other countries – she simply loved to travel and was always at her happiest when exploring the world.  The fact that Clare’s spirit still travels on across the globe through the little yellow ducks that she so loved, is a beautiful legacy to have watched grow and develop.

Thank you to every single person who has made just one (or more!) yellow ducks in the last 12 months and set them off on a journey to spread smiles and to save lives. Over the next few weeks, I’ll be trying to blog regularly to showcase some of the stories, photos and messages we have received over the last year. Watch this space!

But for now…

Happy Yellow Duck Day and here’s to the next 12 months!

Thank you to Karen!

Photos (clockwise from left): Karen's Anniversary cake, Karen on her wedding day, Karen's handmade duck in memory of her "donor angel"
Photos (clockwise from left): Karen’s Anniversary cake, Karen on her wedding day, Karen’s handmade duck in memory of her “donor angel” 

I’ve been wanting to showcase some of the tiny-but-fabulous team of people behind the scenes who help me make the LYD Project work and have finally had the ideal opportunity today to begin!

Karen Mills is the wonderful person who, many months ago, volunteered to take on the time-consuming task of logging every single duck that is reported as found from around the world. Karen logs each one onto the world map, along with any message received from its finder. She also helps out as a second admin on the LYDP Facebook group, which is also a big help to me!

Karen become involved with the project when she heard about it last summer. She had been online friends with Clare Cruickshank (in whose memory it was set up) and they both attended the same specialist hospital for cystic fibrosis treatment.

Karen’s life was saved on 23rd February 2014 as the result of a wonderful lady who had signed the organ donor register – and her life has been completely transformed as a result, including getting married to her husband, Glen, just 3 months after the surgery. You can read more about Karen’s life-saving transplant in an online article from the Colchester Gazette.

Karen's handmade ducks ready to visit Colchester Zoo and find new homes!
Karen’s handmade ducks ready to visit Colchester Zoo and find new homes!

Yesterday Karen celebrated her second chance at life, and remembered the person who made it possible, by releasing a flock of her hand-made felt ducks, including one dedicated to her “donor angel”, at Colchester zoo. You can read today’s newspaper article about this below:

Article in the Colchester Gazette - 24/2/15
Article in the Colchester Gazette – 24/2/15

Thank you Karen for all your hard work and here’s wishing you a wonderful year ahead xxx

Happy Shrove Tuesday!

Pancake Day Duck by Dinah Owen
Pancake Day Duck by Dinah Owen

Check out this amazing ‘Pancake Day Duck’ by one of our simply awesome knitters, Dinah Owen!

We hope you are all enjoying pancakes wherever you are in the world today.  Please keep the themed ducks coming, they make us smile so much here at Yellow Duck Towers!

Loving Gifts for Valentine’s Day

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This Valentine’s Day we are asking everyone to do one simple loving act by choosing to save someone’s life. You could sign up to donate blood, stem cells (bone marrow) or organs/tissues or even all three. Or perhaps simply use this day to remember to tell your loved one that you’d like to donate to save lives when you are no longer here.

Our volunteers all over the world have been busy making Valentine-themed ducks ready for today.  These ducks will be going out into the communities where they live to be left for others to find.  They will brighten lives of today, and hopefully save lives of tomorrow.

Love Ducks by Dinah Owen
Love Ducks by Dinah Owen
Lisa Dickenson Brand Valentine Ducks
Valentine Ducks by Lisa Dickeson Brand
Ursula Hulme
Loving Ducks by Ursula Hulme
Jacqui Blonstein
Heart Duck by Jacqui Blonstein

Thank you to all who continue to make and distribute these ducks and to all our volunteers, supporters and blog-readers – we love you all!

The Little Yellow Duck Project creates and distributes handcrafted gifts to raise global awareness of blood, bone marrow, organ and tissue donation.