Her hands move quickly, but by now they should.
“A lot I have made,” Lainey Brod says as she braids colored thread.
Lainey is prolific – as a maker of bracelets and solver of problems.
Lainey is hearing impaired. She’s worn hearing aids since she was three.
She also relies on lip reading to help fill the gaps in her hearing. COVID-19 mask mandates have been tough on people like Lainey.
“We went to an ice cream shop and she couldn’t hear a single word,” Courtney Brod, Lainey’s mother, says.
Ice cream is one thing, but kids at audiology appointments concerned Lainey even more.
Masks are mandatory there too.
“It has drastically impacted some of our patients,” Leah Tygum, Lainey’s audiologist at Children’s Minnesota says. “So much of our communication is nonverbal. We rely on facial expressions and for individuals who are hard of hearing, we rely on lip reading as well.”
That’s where Lainey’s bracelets come in. For the past two months Lainey, with help from friends, has made and sold roughly 200 of them.
On Friday, she presented a check to Children’s Minnesota for more than $2000. That’s enough money to buy 270 clear masks for healthcare workers who work with kids who are deaf and hard of hearing.
“She was already making bracelets, and we had the thread, so we thought let's try to see if people will buy them. And a lot of people bought them,” Lainey’s mother says.
Lainey’s audiologist is impressed.
“In a pandemic, she's an 11-year-old girl and she's finding a way to positively impact people,” Leah Tygum says.
Having outfitted the hospital, Lainey will now turn her attention to making sure speech therapists at schools have clear masks too.
The manufacturer of the masks has offered to match whatever she raises.
“It feels really good,” Lainey says.
Her smile shines bright through her clear mask.