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Ingrid Mitchell: Spreading love, one fabric heart at a time

22 May

In the midst of our fast-paced and bustling lives, acts of kindness have the power to create beautiful moments that brighten our days. Yet, these acts can sometimes slip by unnoticed, overshadowed by the chaos around us.

Meet Ingrid Mitchell, a compassionate soul who has dedicated her time and skills to create and distribute small, heartfelt tokens of love and support for those who need it most.

Ingrid's inspiring story began in 2018 when her son Phillip was taken for a CT scan at the Austin Hospital. As Ingrid waited patiently in the Community Room, she glanced up at the TV and saw a news segment featuring the 1000 Heart project in Hobart.

At the time, the 1000 Hearts project was a simple start-up charity founded by Sarah De Jonge, who would sew small fabric hearts to be used as a token of love and support during times of grief and sadness.

As she watched, Ingrid’s heart was deeply moved by the profound impact a simple fabric heart could have on someone's life. Driven by an overwhelming desire to make a difference, Ingrid found her calling.

Armed with her unwavering determination, Ingrid embarked on her mission to create 1,000 hearts for every year of her son’s life.

Each heart, meticulously crafted, holds within it a piece of her own love and compassion. Sourcing the fabric from the 1000 Hearts charity in Hobart, Ingrid ensures that her creations are made with the utmost care, quality, and personality.

Ingrid has continued to sew these little hearts every day, even after her son’s passing at the Austin Hospitals Palliative Care ward in 2020.

To date, Ingrid has painstakingly crafted an astonishing 46,500 fabric hearts.

These humble tokens of love find their way to various recipients, including departments at the Austin Hospital, the ONJ Centre, various children's charities across Australia, support organizations for widows, flood victims in Shepparton, and even refugees in Poland.

Ingrid's generosity knows no bounds, and her hearts have brought solace and joy to countless individuals and communities.

When asked about her tireless efforts, Ingrid humbly shares, "To make one single heart from start to finish will take anywhere between 20 and 30 minutes to make. I've made five before breakfast today." Her commitment to this cause is evident in the sheer number of hearts she has produced.

While Ingrid will admit that making these little hearts is as much a therapeutic tool for herself, the joy it brings to others is immense. "You just never know what someone is dealing with," she reflects. "There is such a need for love and kindness for each other, and these little talismans really help – you can see it in their face when you do a random act of kindness like this."

“I’m not making these hearts for personal accolades. I’m doing it to honour my son.”

Ingrid's story is not only a testament to her compassion but also an inspiration for others to take action. Her selflessness and dedication show us that even the smallest gestures of love can have a profound impact.

In a world that often feels divided and disconnected, and as we celebrate this Palliative Care Week, Ingrid reminds us of the power of empathy, kindness, and the capacity we all possess to make a positive difference.