Lucky strength elephants

Student donates stuffed animals to children

Ashley Modrzynski displays custom stuffed elephants that she crafts and donates to local  hospitals.
Ashley Modrzynski displays custom stuffed elephants that she crafts and donates to local hospitals. Photo by: Nick Vander Wulp | Lifestyles Editor

Giving and donating takes many different forms, and one Ferris student has started her own philanthropic outreach to two children’s hospitals in Michigan.

Ashley Modrzynski, a Ferris social work senior, has found a unique way to help kids who need blood drawn for different illnesses and conditions.

“I started sewing last year, and it was over the summer that I decided I wanted to do something different,” Modrzynski said, “My grandma and I were browsing through Pinterest when we found this really cute pattern for an elephant. We made one for my cousin’’s baby, and when we started on it I thought, ‘I can do so much more with this.’”

Modrzynski decided to make more elephants for sick children who have to get their blood drawn after thinking about what her sister had to go through.

“My sister, when she was about six, was sick with a blood disorder, and she had to go in for a poke every week to get her blood drawn,” Modrzynski said. “Every time she got one done, she would get an animal, so I thought, ‘How can I make it so people can purchase one and I can do something to give back?’”

Modrzynski did more research on branding, and found that elephants in different cultures mean luck and strength. Building on this, she named her line the ‘Lucky Strength Elephant’.

Her main philanthropic efforts are focused on Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital in Grand Rapids and Mott’s Children’s Hospital in Ann Arobor.

“I want to start local, and the reason I chose Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital was because that’s where my sister went, and it’s more toward home for me,” Modrzynski said. “Because Mott’s is in Ann Arbor, and I have a store in Dundee, we figured more local for Dundee would make people more apt to buy them.”

While she wants to expand into other hospitals, Modrzynski’s plan is to donate around 50 elephants to each hospital before looking toward another market.

“Last week I set me goal at 20, and I had no idea that so many people would be so supportive,” Modrzynski said. “That goal was blown away. I want to get to 50 or 60. I can donate to the Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital, and I’ll make those and start again.”

A small elephant can be bought for $8 and a large one for $12. They come in various prints for all children.

For more information about the Lucky Strength Elephants, visit