Easter, Ducks and New Life

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I hope everyone is having a lovely Easter weekend wherever they are in the world!

Here in the UK we’ve been enjoying some lovely warm sunshine and with the trees in blossom and some remaining daffodils bobbing their bright little heads,  it’s finally feels like Spring has sprung.

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Springtime and Easter are both times when the feeling of new life is all around us.  New leaves are finally appearing on the trees, flowers are raising their heads to welcome to sun and lambs are appearing in the fields.  Easter Sunday, a key date in the Christian calendar,  celebrates Jesus’ Resurrection and its message of hope and new life after death. The custom of exchanging chocolate eggs is a reminder of the new life that this time of year is all about.

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So it is really the perfect time for the Little Yellow Duck Project to have launched.  Little yellow ducklings represent Spring and all its delights.  But more than that, they are raising awareness of how we can all give new life to others in our community,  through donation of life-saving blood,  stem cells (bone marrow), organs and tissues.

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This Spring marks one year since I lost my beautiful ‘sister’ Clare, who the Little Yellow Duck Project is dedicated to. But it also marks one year since the sight of two other young adults was restored through the donation of Clare’s corneas.

I hope that this Spring, those two young adults are enjoying seeing all the beautiful scenes around them clearly, thanks to the gift Clare passed on. I know it’s exactly what she would have wanted.

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Putting Yellow Ducks on the Map!

Polymer Clay duck being hidden by its creator by Jac Didsbury!
Polymer Clay duck being hidden by its creator by Jac Didsbury!

Today we received the exciting news that 5 people have contacted the website to say that they have been the lucky finders of ducks made by our wonderful volunteers. Check out the world map page to see their locations.

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Knitted duck being hidden by creator Gillian Weir!

If anyone reading this has found a duck, we’d love to hear from you! Each little gift takes a lot of time, love and dedication to create so it’s really rewarding to know that they have been appreciated and brightened up someone’s day.

Looking forward to more ducks on the map across the world over the coming weeks!

It’s Little Yellow Duck Day!

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It’s hard to believe after all the work over the last few weeks, here we are on the launch day of the Little Yellow Duck Project!

So what’s the big idea and how did it all start?

Clare and one of her ducks!
Clare and one of her ducks!

As some of you may already know, the LYD Project is dedicated to the memory of my best friend, Clare Cruickshank.  Clare passed away on April 15th 2013 awaiting a double lung transplant for cystic fibrosis.  She was only 26 and due to the chronic shortage of organ donors here in the UK, Clare never got her second chance at life.

Clare was an incredibly kind and generous person.  With time running out, she asked her Mum to ensure that her wishes to donate to others would be fulfilled after she died.  As a result, her corneas were donated to two other young adults to restore their sight.

Clare was a lot more than a best friend to me.  To my husband, Brad, and I, she was affectionately known as our little sister.  She was also the most loving, caring godmother to our little boy, Teddy.

Clare with godson Teddy
Clare with godson Teddy

Last month, as Clare’s first anniversary approached, her Mum had the idea of  marking it by carrying out random acts of kindness in memory of her generous daughter.  Determined to get involved, I thought back over the things that I associated most with Clare and her fun-filled life.

Clare with one of her Birthday gifts from her work colleagues one year!
Clare with one of her Birthday gifts from her work colleagues one year!

The first thing was little yellow ducks!  Clare loved collecting things that made her smile.  And one of the things that made her smile a lot was little yellow bath ducks  She had a huge collection of duck-related items that people had bought her –  bath ducks large and small, cuddly ducks, toy ducks, duck postcards and duck accessories.  I remember that for Christmas 2012 she even got a giant duck slipper (to fit both feet inside) from me!

The next thing I thought of was her creativity. Clare was never happier than sitting knee deep in glitter making something or whipping out her sewing machine to turn an old skirt into a new bag.  Even when she became really poorly in the last year of her life she took up nail art as a hobby as it allowed her to be creative from her bed or during endless weeks in hospital.

The final thing I thought of was Clare’s sense of fun.  She was probably the funniest, bubbliest person who I’ve ever had the joy of knowing.  She was famous for always getting herself into the most hilarious scrapes which she would then repeat to us as we fell about laughing as she giggled non-stop.

So, when it came to thinking of a project that combined little yellow ducks, creativity and a sense of fun, the outcome was….

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Trying to get everything ready for today has been hard work and at times I wondered if it was even going to be possible, but to finally it’s all come together thanks to the amazing people who have supported it and got on board to make it a success.

The first wave of little yellow ducks are on their way to new homes around the world and in the coming weeks and months I hope hundreds more will follow them.

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This project is all about gifts of love and Gifts of Life.  Each little duck is on a mission to raise a smile as a random act of kindness, and to remind us all that random acts of kindness can save lives through organ, blood and bone marrow donation.

If these little ducks can achieve this, they will have been more than worth the effort that has gone into each and every one!

Lisa van Klaveren

 

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