Dawn has been part of 1000 Hearts since its beginning in 2016 and she has made so many hearts in that time. I asked her to write her heart story to share and below are her words, raw and authentic, written during a time of loss and healing.

"Tomorrow I am attending a funeral for a high school student, Tyrone, from my daughter's special needs school. It's a celebration of his life with colour and love as the theme. He was just 18. He had cerebral palsy and many life limiting issues. Sunday week ago he said to his mum “let me go”.

My heart is broken for his mom, family and our community.  A parent’s worst nightmare to lose such a being. We live with life limiting medical conditions here in our house. So close to home.

I'm taking my heart making gear to the wake and will make colourful hearts as they are needed...or get the person to make their own.

I usually make hearts in the school café school and Tyrone would take my order with his iPad and we would laugh how slow the service was...and how quick his ordering was as front of house.  I would ask him could I buy an expensive marshmallow and get a free cup of hot chocolate with it. He would laugh each time. Never will he get old or our one joke.

I have already given hearts to the teachers who were affected by young Tyrone's death.

I will take special hearts for the family.

These hearts are a subtle way of weaving love, hope, courage and comfort as it says on the back of the heart packet insert.

On a bright note I have also been asked to conduct a heart making session with ACT Health Recovery College which is a pilot programme here in Canberra. This will be a little daunting because I suffer from generalised anxiety and spectrum issues so I will be duly challenged. Volunteering is my passion and it's so worth it.

Sarah asked me to write why I do this project, so here it is.

It's because my heart is broken and this is the most tangible way I know how to mend it. One heart at a time.

How to take others’ minds off what has broken or is damaged in theirs because I can't fix it. I can give them a heart made by another human who cares. 

I use my mom’s embroidery cottons that she gifted me many moons ago to sew them. My mother was a hard woman to love though her embroidery was her god’s gift. I sometimes use little embellishments that she gave me from her hoard, like ribbon, lace and buttons that were also my grandmother’s and make a special heart.

Sew...many reasons I do this. (Pun intended).

It's just the right fit for my mindfulness. It's the right project for my talents. It allows me to sit and listen to others and witness their journey. It brings light to darkness and joy to sorrow. It allows a conversation to happen or silence to be ok.

The hearts were the first thing I asked for when I was in the cardiac ward after my heart failure this year. Each one has my hopes and dreams in it."