State of the Art (Blog)
Ear Community Chicago 2013 Picnic
Last weekend, Medical Art Resources (Julie and Megan) attended a community picnic organized by a fabulous organization, Ear Community. Just under 200 children, parents, family members, and friends affected by microtia and atresia attended the picnic, which took place in a beautiful park outside of Chicago. Ear Community picnics take place in different locations around the world each summer, giving families and children with microtia the opportunity to meet each other and to chat with ear reconstructive surgeons, anaplastologists, and audiologists. Families traveled from the Chicagoland area, Indiana, and even Kentucky to attend the picnic. Face painting, yard games, and a magic show made the picnic a lot of fun for the children in attendance, many of whom were meeting other children with microtia for the very first time.
We weren’t sure what to expect at our first Ear Community picnic, but we thought it would be fun to bring an activity for all of the children in attendance. While parents had the chance to ask questions about prosthetic ears, their children made molds of their fingers. Kids mixed powdered impression material with water to the correct consistency and then dipped a finger into the blue goop until it became firm. Then a fast-set plaster was poured into the impression to create a cast of the child’s finger that could be taken home as a picnic souvenir.
We were very excited to attend the picnic and to meet the founder of Ear Community, Melissa Tumblin. Melissa was inspired to start Ear Community after her own troubling experience of finding so few resources about microtia and atresia when her daughter, Ally, was born with the condition almost 4 years ago. Melissa wanted to be able to share the information she collected about microtia and atresia with other families and to form a support network for parents, children, and adults going through the same experience. The Ear Community website is an incredibly detailed resource that is updated frequently. The Ear Community Facebook page and the Microtia and Atresia Support Group Facebook page are very active as well. Read more about Ear Community in our post about the organization.
We had such a wonderful time meeting the parents and children at the picnic and observing so many families sharing their stories and experiences with one another. Thank you to Melissa Tumblin and Tina Siskoff (Chicago picnic organizer) for all their hard work. We’re already looking forward to the next Ear Community Picnic!
Julie and Megan