“When I heard she had a brain aneurysm, my first thought was, I pray she makes it. I can’t do this without her.” Hänni Baatz’s words gave me chills. Hänni, the “Chief Childhood Magic Maker” behind small shop Wolfe and Scamp, was referring to Vicki Board, her longtime friend and Wolfe and Scamp social media assistant.

Vicki and baby Franki Rose, born March 11

On March 11, Vicki gave birth prematurely to baby Franki Rose at only 34 weeks due to complications related to HELPP syndrome, a variant of preeclampsia. Franki spent two weeks in the NICU, but she is (thankfully) thriving. Days after Franki’s release, Vicki began displaying stroke-like symptoms and her husband immediately took her to the ER where doctors discovered two brain aneurysms; one had already ruptured. Statistically, ruptured brain aneurysms are fatal in about 40% of cases. Of those who survive, about 66% suffer some permanent neurological deficit. Vicki underwent emergency brain surgery on March 29 and remains hospitalized. My heart goes out to Vicki and her family, including her four year old daughter, Vivi. Can you imagine what it would feel like to give birth to a preemie and then be prohibited from even comforting your infant while recuperating from life-threatening brain surgery? I can’t. The thought is devastating.

Hänni immediately sprung to action for Vicki and her family, organizing the “Vickisaurus Rex Relief Auction” and helping arrange a MoneyPool fund to defray mounting medical costs. “It is hard to express just how deeply I love Vicki,” Hänni shared. “She has helped me through some very hard times, and for the past three years, there is not one day we haven’t been in touch.”

Now Hänni is looking to the small shop community to help support Vicki under the most excruciating circumstances. “This community is like no other community; when one of us needs help, we all come together to lift that person up. I’m not sure why this is —maybe it has to do with the labor of making something with your own two hands and loving the people who appreciate and support all that goes into it. The work of small shops isn’t really about making money; the work of small shops is heart work.” How can your shop help Vicki? “Please consider participating in our auction on April 12-14, hosted in the BTC (‘Be The Change’) Auction Facebook group,” Hänni implored. “We are gratefully accepting both small shop credits and item donations, and every dollar earned from those donations will go directly to Vicki’s family. The secret hope of my heart is to raise $5,000. I know that is a lot, but it would be life-changing.” Please consider donating to the auction by entering your shop’s information here.

Small shoppers, the list of donated items so far is impressive. Shops like Savage Tots, With Love, Halle, Small Town Apparel, Monka! Goods, Runnamuck Threads, Scars & Gems, Henry + Claire, Winks + Wildflower, and so many more charitable small shops have opened their hearts to Vicki. You will NOT want to miss this fundraiser! Mark your calendar and join the BTC Auction group now.