Tubie Friends online fundraising auction to benefit children starts Thursday

Jonah points to his friend Tubie. (Photo courtesy of Friends of Tubie)

Starting Thursday, people can purchase items such as an 8-pound block of Beecher’s Handmade Cheese, Funko figurines, two hours of kayaking on Lake Union, a Harry Potter gift set, a “Chick Flick” and even an encounter with a unicorn while donating to a charitable cause. Tubie Friends, a South Snohomish County-based nonprofit that helps families who have children with feeding tubes or other medical devices implanted in their bodies, is holding its annual spring auction in line from April 21 to 24.

The all-volunteer organization provides personalized stuffed animals with food and other types of medical tubes attached to them to make life easier for children who depend on these devices. The stuffed animals are modified by volunteers – called “Tubie Friend Surgeons” – who mirror as closely as possible a child’s individual medical procedures on the animal by attaching a tube or similar, albeit non-functional device.

Once completed, the finished stuffed animal functions both as a comfort aid for children requiring different types of tubing and as an educational tool for the child, family members, friends and caregivers . Each Tubie friend comes with a letter for parents that includes informational resources and support groups available as well as a personalized card signed by his or her “surgeons”.

Modified stuffed animals are provided to individuals and medical institutions by donation only. Suggested donation amounts are listed — tied to the prices of materials from the various offerings — but people who can’t afford that amount can still get one as long as they can afford standard shipping.

Tubie Friends’ annual auction helps raise funds to sponsor children who are on its waiting list because their families are unable to contribute a sum of money. The organization’s staff consists of a small local board of directors from Lynnwood, Mountlake Terrace and Mill Creek as well as dedicated volunteers, most of whom have been directly affected by someone who has to rely on the implementation of a medical tube.

“Help from supporters will help us reach our goal of raising enough money to sponsor 100 children waiting for a Tubie friend,” said Shannon Gonsalves, who co-founded the charity. “Help us eliminate the fear of feeding tubes, one Tubie friend at a time.”

There are nearly 150 individual auction listings people can bid on, including themed gift baskets made up of multiple goodies and/or gift cards. Basket themes offered include arts and crafts supplies, barbecue, coffee products, personal care items, toys, games, activities, kitchen items and wine. Additionally, Gonsalves noted that Filling the Frame Photography recently donated $1,100 in gift certificates for photoshoot sessions.

The online fundraising auction can be previewed here. It starts accepting offers on Thursday, April 21 at 6 a.m. and ends on Sunday, April 24 at 7 p.m. Bidding is anonymous except to auction administrators, and some elements include the option to skip this process in order to “buy it now”. Once the auction is over, items can be picked up from Mountlake Terrace or shipped to winning bidders for an additional fee.

You can read more in our previous story here.

— By Nathan Blackwell

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