Woman with MS pursues passion thanks to forehead-operated sewing machine
Tetra Society paired Regina woman with local inventor
Sewing by machine typically requires the use of your arms and legs, but a Regina woman refused to let multiple sclerosis stop her from enjoying her decades-long passion.
"It's freedom. It's being able to do what I want to do. I'm able to sew my granddaughters some things that they've wanted," said Judy Winship. "It's a great thing."
The modified sewing machine was the brainchild of Gerry Wurtak, a Regina-based heavy duty journeyman mechanic and teacher by trade.
"It was a bit of a challenge, being that you don't know anything about a sewing a machine other than how to run it," he said.
Wurtak is a volunteer with the Tetra Society, a non-profit organization that aims to increase independence for people with disabilities.
The Tetra Society also works with Spinal Cord Injury Saskatchewan to help develop projects for their clients.
"Anything that's going to help gain independence is huge benefit to anybody," said Lynn Bortis, a client services specialist at Spinal Cord Injury Saskatchewan.
"The fact that (these people) do this for no pay, out of the goodness of their hearts, I think that's an absolutely wonderful thing, because a lot of people don't have the resources to do this themselves."
The Tetra Society was founded in 1987 in Vancouver and operates 45 chapters across North America.
Based on an application process, indicating a member's challenge, Tetra links volunteers to people who desire a better quality of life. Each month, volunteers attend a brainstorming meeting and create blueprints for potential projects. If an invention hasn't already been copyrighted or the blueprint can be modified, the project receives a green light.
Wurtak has finished nearly two dozen projects through the society to date.
"This happened and it was just meant to be," said Winship.