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Wednesday, 29 March 2017 10:09

Area teenager continues to be creative while battling rare medical condition

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A Swift Current teenager has started a home-based business to express her creativity while she continues her battle against a rare medical condition.

Thirteen-year-old Amisha Hockridge already had 13 surgeries and she is getting ready for another one.
She has to deal with a lot of health and medical issues, but whenever she has the time she will focus on her venture, Amisha’s Creations.
“I like to do it when I’m not in the hospital or at appointments and thinking about all the doctor stuff and the medical stuff,” she said. “I like to rainbow loom and design 3-D printing stuff and just get away from the medical side of my life.”
She uses a rainbow loom to create a variety of colourful products from rubber bands, including bracelets, elves, and Easter bunnies. She also produces different three-dimensional items on a 3-D printer, for example custom keychains, a person’s name, a family tree, animals with moving limbs such as an elephant and turtle, and even a working catapult.
Since she started Amisha’s Creations about two years ago, she has attended about 20 trade shows in Swift Current and Medicine Hat with her parents Mike and Veena Hockridge.
“A lot of people like to look at what we have,” Amisha said. “A lot of people don’t buy right away. They like to take business cards and look at our Facebook page, just to get ideas. If they have any other ideas or want to just get a little more creative, then they can tell us their ideas and we can try and make them.”
Her clients are usually families, both parents and children, who find items of interest among the variety of designs she has available.
“Usually, parents like to order names because they can hang them on walls or they can place them on shelves,” she said. “We also have letters that we custom print and it also helps with little kids trying to spell their names.”
She is very proud of the order for tactile symbols she received from the Medicine Hat School District No. 76. She has created a total of 16 sets of symbols for the school district. Each symbol relates to a core word in the English vocabulary and it provides an alternative way for children to communicate when they cannot speak.
She received a request for 15 sets after successfully producing the initial set of 13 three-dimensional symbols on the 3-D printer for an extended learning program teacher, who uses the symbols for a student in her pre-kindergarten classroom.
“It just felt awesome that I got to help another little girl to have a better life,” she said.
Amisha was born with microtia, a congenital ear deformity that affects one in every 10,000 children. The severity of the condition can vary. She was born with the more serious complications that will affect a person’s heart, spine, kidney and bowel.
For the past three and a half years, the Hockridge family has been travelling every week to Alberta for medical appointments in Medicine Hat. They will also go to Calgary, Regina and Saskatoon for other appointments.
“When we miss work, it is without pay and it adds up because we both miss work,” Veena said. “We need to support Amisha with everything she is going through, so it’s kind of difficult.”
Friends of the family have started a fundraiser to assist them with the various expenses related to Amisha’s ongoing medical treatment and appointments.
Amisha’s upcoming surgery is also not covered by the provincial health plan and payment is required before the surgery can take place.
“It’s been a struggle because it’s financially overwhelming for us because we’ve been doing it for 13 years,” Veena said. “I guess we just had to reach out for some help.”
Donations for the family can be made online through a gofundme page, called Amisha’s Medical Surgery Funding, or to the Amisha Hockridge Medical Trust Fund at Innovation Credit Union.
People who want to make monetary donations or who want to donate items for an online silent auction, can contact Stephanie at 306-671-0057, Tayler at 306-750-8266 or Lori-Dawn at 306-741-2999.
Information about Amisha’s medical journey is available on the Facebook page Amisha’s Microtia Battle.
Amisha also has a Facebook page for her creative work, called Amisha’s Creations.
Since the start of the year she has not been able to give much attention to her designs because of her health, but she has been busy again for the last month.
She will be at the Swift Current Hobby, Craft and Gun Show at the Stockade in Kinetic Exhibition Park April 1 and 2.

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Matthew Liebenberg