Katie Atchue – Giving Back on #GivingTuesday

Tuesday, December 1, 2015 is #GivingTuesday. A global day dedicated to giving back. Charities, families, businesses, community centers, students, individuals and survivors will come together for one common purpose: to celebrate generosity and giving back.

It’s just one day out of the year, but the Brain Injury Association of Massachusetts celebrates our generous donors and dedicated volunteers every day! We appreciate every cent, every second. We also know that there is so much more that you all do in support of your communities. You donate to other deserving non-profits; you give of your time and energy in so many ways.

Take, for example, Katie Atchue.

Katie suffered an arteriovenous malformation (AVM) hemorrhage when she was eight years old. The condition, which is present at birth, happens when arteries in the brain connect directly to veins without the necessary capillaries between them. This incident occurs in less than 1% of the population and the results can be devastating.

She lost her ability to speak and eat, her short term memory was affected, and she sometimes finds it difficult to focus. “I had to learn how to walk all over again, hold my head up by myself and how to use my communication device,” says Katie. “I had to learn to do a lot of things again.”

Katie uses a DynaVox machine and sign language to help her communicate and share her sense of humor with us all!

Six years ago Katie and her mother, Joan, were looking for a project they could do together that worked with Katie’s abilities. With an affinity for animals, they decided on pet beds. Katie picks out the fabric and coordinating ribbon and toy, Joan cuts out the fabric, and Katie does the sewing and stuffing. It’s truly a team effort that they enjoy doing together.

As a student at Cotting School in Lexington, Katie was volunteering for Buddy Dog in Sudbury. She decided to donate 12 pet beds to the animal shelter so the pets in need had a comfy place to sleep. This caught on. Over the years Katie has donated her beds to animal shelters and various fundraisers. Friends and family started purchasing the beds, and Katie now makes and sells her beds by request.

In addition to her donations in-kind, Katie established Team Katie’s Angels for the BIA-MA’s 1st Walk & Roll for Brain Injury in September. She donated proceeds from the sales of her beds and pillows to BIA-MA and Katie’s Angels was one of the largest teams at the event, fundraising over $1,700!

This is the true spirit of giving back! Thank you Katie (and the Atchue Family) for all of your support, not just to the brain injury community, but to YOUR community!


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