Community, Causes, & Conversation
We love hearing how MyIntent Makers use their Maker Kits to inspire others in their communities. We want to share Deborah V.'s story as a Maker who is spreading awareness for important causes. Read about how she inspires others to overcome obstacles.
"I am a firm believer in positive and motivational thoughts," Deborah says, "I encounter many, many obstacles created by various disorders. I, in part, believe my continued ability to move or 'roll forward' is through the strength of positive and motivational thoughts."
In the process of spreading awareness for the Myasthenia Gravis Foundation Run and Access for Scouts with Mobility Challenges Fundraiser, Deborah saw an opportunity to offer donors a customized "token" of appreciation and became a MyIntent Maker so that she could share motivating and inspiring words with others. She hoped to help others realize their own strengths during their most challenging moments.
Using her Maker Kit, Deborah has made many gifts for friends, family, and teachers. She has also gifted bracelets to those dealing with challenges from various disorders. This has helped, not only to raise awareness for disorders, but to create a safe space for conversation and an important sense of community.
Reflecting on one of her Maker experiences, Deborah shares: "One young woman was in the hospital for several months. Just prior to the holiday season, her mother put out a request for cards to adorn her room. I sent her a special #ZebraStrong bracelet. Prior to the request for support, we had not met one another. Since then, we have become Facebook penpals." The term #ZebraStrong raises awareness for the rare disease, Ehlers-Danlos.
In addition to stamping bracelets, Deborah and her son have even made key fobs "to help raise funds for several organizations that directly relate to some of my personal medical challenges including the Ehlers-Danlos Society, Myasthenia Gravis Foundation, and Dysautonomia International. In addition to the funds raised, the empowering message...is immeasurable."
As one who has dedicated her life to being of service, Deborah expanded her MyIntent efforts to her son’s third grade classroom. She shares: "I was truly moved by one young boy’s word choice...SHINE. I asked this particular 8-year-old boy why he chose this word. He proceeded to tell me how shy and scared he is when going before the classroom for his weekly oral presentations. He told me this bracelet will remind him to always SHINE through."
For Deborah, the MyIntent tokens have served as a catalyst for conversation with the people she encounters in her community: "Be it the stranger sitting next to me on the airplane to fellow scout leaders to people on social media - the common thread for all is to help people think of something that encourages them to be a better version of themselves, give them strength to overcome a challenge/challenges, or simply recognize a milestone achievement. The MyIntent tokens can be utilized to enhance so many lives."
When asked for her WORD, Deborah shares that she wears multiple bracelets:
"All have special meaning to me. One I almost always wear says BALANCE. I chose this word as I learned how pushing my body past its physical limitations had been negatively affecting my children and husband. I have many invisible and visible challenges created by my various disorders. That being said, my biggest battle is adjusting to my 'new norm.' I like to say I am in a constant battle between what I want do do and what my body will allow me to do. I promised my children I would work harder to listen to my body and find a better BALANCE of what I want to do and what I can do.
My most recent token says HOPE with the Awareness Ribbon on the top. I created this one after spending most of the day and night in the ER, just hoping to get my breathing and heart rate under control.
Another commonly worn one says #MGSTRONG… it’s a reminder to me that I am strong even at my weakest moments. Which, unfortunately, I have a great deal more than I wish with Myasthenia Gravis. It’s a reminder that strength is internal not just physical.
Another one I regularly wear says INSPIRE as I want to help inspire others to overcome whatever obstacles lie in their path. I want to encourage others to find a way to accept their limitations whilst still finding purpose. For me, life is far from what I had so diligently planned for, yet I am working hard to make a difference in my own way.
This year, I have begun, after much encouragement from friends and family, to share my story with others. I have also begun volunteering as a patient advocate for rare diseases. My MyIntent token reminds me that I still have the ability to be of assistance to others. It reminds me that though my path is not exactly what I had planned for, I am still finding a way to move forward. This path is inspirational for myself and for others facing their own obstacles."
"My MyIntent token reminds me that I still have the ability to be of assistance to others. It reminds me that though my path is not exactly what I had planned for, I am still finding a way to move forward. This path is inspirational for myself and for others facing their own obstacles."
When it comes to stamping and gifting bracelets, Deborah's favorite part about being a Maker is "seeing the joy on an individual’s face when they receive their bracelet! I love to see how excited and thrilled a person is when they see their bracelet. I love being part of the process in helping create their unique piece. On a more personal note, it lets me feel connected to others even on those days when I cannot get out of bed. For me, knowing I can be of service to another, even on the toughest of days, has been a great motivator."
Deborah's Pro Tip: "Most of the tips and tricks I have learned have been from other MyIntent Makers in the Facebook Group. If you do not have a hammering post/stand, then hammering on a solid surface - such as the ground - will work. Kneel on one knee (the same side as your dominant hand) with the the other knee perpendicular to the ground. This will help to position you over the token you are hammering, increasing accuracy and decreasing the amount of effort needed. As mentioned in the FB group, I have found that I like to use alcohol ink to darken my letters. I also like to use a craft hobby heat knife to cut and seal the MyIntent cord for the bracelets as well as the slip knots or macrame knots."