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Volunteer Spotlight : Saving the day by Sewing

Hockey Heroes Weekend volunteer holds up jersey.
Lori holding up the jersey she repaired at NAPA Hockey Heroes Weekend 2023.

Lori Kamphorst has been a volunteer with Heart & Stroke New Brunswick for eight years. Her journey with the foundation began at the annual NAPA Hockey Heroes Weekend in 2016 and she hasn’t missed an event since.

“Heart & Stroke is kind of close to my heart, because I lost my dad when I was 16 to a heart attack,” she said.

Lori was recognized for her exceptional service as a volunteer following an incident at last year’s event. 

After a collision on the ice left one player with a concussion and possible back/neck injuries, medical staff had to cut their jersey off. What they didn’t realize is that the jersey held sentimental value for the injured player as it was signed by their father’s hockey hero, Darryl Sittler.

When Lori heard about the incident, she knew she had the skills to help.

“Of course, for me and my situation with my dad, that just hit me right there,” Lori said. “I was like I don't know if I can fix it, but I'm going to certainly try.”

An avid seamstress, Lori took the jersey home that afternoon and began working to repair it. Though sewing the jersey back to its original state proved to be tricky, Lori spent hours working her crafting magic. The result was a fully restored jersey, ready to be worn in the player’s next game.

Little did Lori know, months later her sewing skills would once again help the foundation and its first aid and CPR training program. Heart & Stroke NB reached out Lori to help turn training manikins into Womanikins.

CPR training dummy with womanikin vest.
Womanikin vest sewn by Lori.

Research shows bystanders are less likely to perform CPR on women due to misconceptions about gender-specific techniques. When Heart & Stroke NB tackled this issue by introducing the Womanikin—a specially designed vest with padded breasts added to some CPR training dummies, Lori was instrumental. She used an open-source pattern to sew these innovative training tools.

“I just couldn’t believe that statistic, and knew I had to help,” Lori said.

With some determination and a few alterations, within six weeks Lori had whipped up the Womanikin vests and they were being used in training classes. 

“I made four in total-two in light flesh tone and two in a brown flesh, so that it matched the dummies they had,” she said.  “It was a bit of a challenge, but I think they’re working well.”

When asked why she continues to volunteer for Heart & Stroke NB Lori explained that it’s a combination of the cause and the people.

“The staff do an awesome job, and they just make it fun for everybody.”

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