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Space shuttle will carry artwork by MultiCare nurse
When space shuttle Endeavor lifts off on its final mission, the payload will include precious cargo: a space-themed glass bead created by Lara Lutrick, RN, who works at the MultiCare Covington Clinic.
Lutrick’s bead is one of 39 strung together for the mission by Beads of Courage, a nonprofit organization that helps children cope with life-threatening illnesses.
“I am beyond thrilled,” Lutrick said Tuesday afternoon, T-minus two days and 23 hours until liftoff. “It is so exciting, because not a lot of people have this opportunity.”
Lutrick’s space-bound bead depicts a playful chimpanzee peeking out the window of a rocket. She named the bead Enos, after the first chimp launched into orbit. Lutrick said she got the idea for the bead by looking at the space-themed scrubs she wears for work.
Lutrick, who lives in Maple Valley, has worked 15 years at the MultiCare Covington Clinic. Her compassion for people is what inspired her to donate her artwork to Beads of Courage.
“I like working in family practice because I get to know my patients,” Lutrick said. “I’ve known many of them for so long, so I have a personal touch with them.”
Using a 1,500-degree torch, Lutrick has been creating handcrafted glass beads since 1997. Her artwork can be found at www.lutrick.etsy.com.
Photos of all the contest-winning beads and names of the bead artists are available at https://picasaweb.google.com/101652927073622680837/BeadInSpace#.
Children who participate in Beads of Courage are given a length of string along with letter beads that spell out their name. As they undergo their healing process, they receive beads that represent different treatments and milestones. For example, every time they get a blood draw, they get a small red bead. When they have an x-ray, they get a glow-in-the-dark bead. If they had an especially difficult day, then they get a special bead that was donated by one of the artists.
“It gives them something to show to someone: this is what I’ve been through,” Lutrick said. “It helps explain their story.”
The collaboration between Beads of Courage and NASA began over a year ago when the daughter of a NASA employee utilized the beads during her treatment for cancer. After seeing the benefits of the program firsthand, he approached NASA about the possibility of including beads on a future shuttle mission to help inspire children battling life-threatening illnesses.
After the trip into space, the string of 39 beads will go into a traveling exhibit to show children at different hospitals.
Endeavor was originally scheduled to launch from the Kennedy Space Center on April 29, but the launch was delayed until later this month.
The shuttle will be commanded by Mark Kelly, husband of U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords. Giffords, the target of an attempted assassination Jan. 8, has been cleared by doctors to attend the launch. President Barack Obama and his family are also expected to attend.The MultiCare Covington Clinic is a 100,000-square-foot multispecialty outpatient center that includes a surgery center, complex imaging, urgent care, and various primary and specialty services. In December, MultiCare’s application to build a comprehensive, 58-bed hospital in Covington was approved by the state Department of Health. Additionally, MultiCare broke ground in Covington on a 24,000-square-foot Emergency Department, scheduled to open in 2012.