By CARLA KOLBE
MAYFIELD – Monday marked 500 days awaiting a new heart on the transplant list for 13 year old Anna King formerly of Mayfield. Local folk artist Teddi Knapp is back this year with three new, unique angel pins designed especially for Anna, looking to raise money, awareness, and the hopes of the young teen.
Anna was diagnosed in 2012 with dilated cardiomyopathy, a heart condition in which her heart muscle has lost its elasticity and therefore its ability to pump effectively. She is now in need of a heart transplant, and has been awaiting one for what has become a very long time.
Last year Liz Argotsinger of Mayfield came up a fundraising plan, asking Knapp, a artist documented by the New York State Department of Historical Preservation, if she would mind designing an angel they could use as a pin design, and sell as a fund raiser supporting a friend and the Dana Farber Cancer Institute.
“I can do better than that” said Knapp, and she came up with three unique designs for the cause.
100 percent of the proceeds went to the Dana Farber Institute and over 50 people participated in the sale and distribution of the angel pins last year in Fulton, Montgomery and Hamilton Counties
“We thought we would sell maybe 100 pins, but the orders kept coming in, and coming in” said Argotsinger.
From the start of the sales mid-November last year to the close of the sale on just before Christmas, 1135 pins were sold at $3 a piece, for a total of $3524, including additional donations tacked on.
Argotsinger went to Knapp again this year asking her to design an angel pin for Anna King’s Humor Heals the Heart fund, hoping to continue giving to another non-profit organization. Three new designs were created, and Argotsinger is helping assemble and finish the products with Knapp.
“We’re not sure where sales will go again this year, but we are starting two months earlier and are prepared for any orders and sales we get” said Argotsinger. The pins debuted at the Eagle Mills Arts and Crafts Show and sales went well.
Anna King and her family feel honored that Argotsinger and Knapp thought of them.
“The timing is great” said Anna’s mother Pam King. “Keeping the spirits up of a typical 13-year-old girl who would rather be off doing her own thing, but waiting on the donor list, can be difficult at times.”
The Kings established a website “Humor Heals the Heart: The Anna King Project” and its accompanying Facebook page which continues to draw thousands of hits from people all across the country who are inspired by her humor and courage in the face of such sobering circumstances.
While humor makes for a great distraction for the Kings most days, the long wait is not always funny. Pam King admits the angel pin project brings much inspiration to all of them at a time when it is much needed.
“The last few months have been tough. Anna was disappointed to see school start again and still be in this situation. It’s not as easy to stay positive whens what you’ve been at it week after week for almost a year and a half. It takes work. And that’s what she’s been working at” said King
Sales are taking off and Knapp will be selling them out of her cabin studio on State Highway 30 in Mayfield at the corner of Blower Road from noon to 4 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays until Christmas.
Sales last year relied heavily on volunteers selling the pins at their work, school, churches and events.
This weekend, the pins will be available at the annual Mayfield Fall Festival hosted by the Mayfield Community Group taking place Saturday at the Adirondack Gateway Mobil Mart on Route 30 in Mayfield from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Organizers, community members and Mayfield School students will be volunteering their time to sell pins for Anna.
For more information or if you are willing to take a bag of pins to sell, please email Liz. [email protected] or call (518) 883-5262.
To keep up with Anna, check out Humor Heals the Heart: The Anna King Project on Facebook, or on Twitter @annakingproject, and online at humorhealstheheart.org.