Five-year-old Nora Gorlich has been helping her mother with sewing projects since she was a toddler.
While other 2-year-olds were building towers out of blocks, little Nora was guiding thread through her mother’s sewing machine and pushing the pedal for her as she worked.
Nora and her mother, Shawn Gorlich, recently opened a stuffed animal “hospital” out of their Bluffton home.
A full-time stay-at-home mom with a background in advertising and graphic design, Shawn homeschools her two young children during the day and runs her textiles business at night.
She designs and sews both modern and traditional quilts. She also makes T-shirt quilts and memory quilts. She is looking forward to releasing some of her own quilt patterns this year and testing patterns for designers around the world.
Like many young girls, Nora wants to be just like her mom. And just like many other 5-year-olds, she wants to do the work all by herself. So Nora is the stuffed animal doctor, and Shawn is her medical assistant.
After Nora’s stuffed cat, Rainbow Kitty, had to get stitches, Nora thought it would be nice to help other stuffed animals in town as well.
“She has such a nice, giving heart,” Shawn said about her daughter. “She wants to help others.”
On Feb. 12, Shawn announced the grand opening of Nora’s stuffed animal hospital on the Bluffton SC Moms Facebook page. Her free offer to fix holes and rips in stuffed animals was well received among local moms. The post had 204 reactions and 46 comments when this article was published.
Dr. Nora has already seen a few overnight patients and is ready for more. She made a bed out of a laundry basket for her patients, who she said she feeds and cares for until they go home.
“If they are sad, I will make a fort for them, and they will be happy,” Nora said.
And if they get lonely, Nora’s stuffed animals will happily play with the patients.
While Nora’s services are free of charge, she and her mom will gladly accept donations, which they will use to buy dog food for local animal shelters.
To make an appointment with Dr. Nora, search for “Made by Shawn” on Facebook. Donations can be made via the Facebook page. Stuffed animals can be dropped off and picked up on the Gorlichs’ front porch to avoid the spread of COVID-19.
Amy Coyne Bredeson of Bluffton is a freelance writer, a mother of two and a volunteer with the Tuberous Sclerosis Alliance.