LAYTON -- A local physician's trip to Haiti inspired dozens of health care students and employees to pull out their sewing machines.
Dr. Corey Erickson, a family physician in Layton, recently visited the earthquake damaged country. Upon his return, he spoke to a group of medical assistants about his experience and the need for cloth diapers.
"He served and treated what he could and had a picture slideshow of all the kids," said Brittany Gronwald, a medical assistant at Tanner Clinic. "Some lived. Some died. He talked about the mass spreading of diarrhea among the kids. They were sick and dehydrated. To make this situation worse, they have no diapers for these babies."
Gronwald said quilts and blankets were being cut and torn apart to be used for diapers.
"He asked that the sewers who were spending their time making these beautiful blankets may be more helpful putting their time and attention making diapers instead," she said.
Gronwald said several people offered to donate disposable diapers, but because the country has no waste management system, the diapers would just pile up and cause more disease.
Gronwald said she was shocked as both a mother and health care worker and wanted to help in any way she could, so she got the ball rolling at her clinic and so far more than 67 diapers have been made by herself and several other employees.
Tanner Clinic isn't the only workplace helping. Ogden-Weber Applied Technology College medical assistant coordinator Emma Anderson also heard about the plea for cloth diapers. She and instructor Marilyn Everton bought fabric and other materials and asked their students if they would like to donate their time making the diapers.
"We have been making the diapers on our lunch hour," Anderson said. "We have three sewing machines so we usually have around five students helping each day."
Anderson said she hopes to get close to 100 diapers for the cause.
"It just broke our hearts to hear that the babies didn't have any diapers," she said. "We decided we wanted to do something about that. Everyone here wants to make a difference."
The diapers will be delivered by doctors going to Haiti either this summer or fall, Gronwald said. She also hopes to go herself to help distribute them.
"I would like to go both as a medical assistant and photographer, so I could not only help distribute the diapers we've all been making but also help document the relief effort," she said. "As funding becomes available, we will be able to buy better supplies like terrycloth and bird's eye fabric for padding instead of flannel scraps."
Gronwald has been keeping a blog about her experience at sewinghaitidiapers.blogspot.com. To donate supplies, money or sewing, contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.