Woman wants to share angel dolls with sick kids

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, August 9, 2000

ERIK SANZENBACH / L’Observateur / August 9, 2000

LAPLACE – Lori Stumpf knows a little something about fear and suffering. Ayear ago she was diagnosed with nasal pharyngeal cancer. After months ofpainful chemotherapy, worry and dread, she is happy to announce that she is in remission and the doctors have found no signs of the cancer in her body.

During her fight against the disease, family and friends kept giving her images and dolls of angels to make her feel better during her therapy. Itworked. Now Stumpf wants to make sure children with cancer get the samehope and good feeling she did.

“If I can make a child feel like I did when I got an angel, all this effort is worth it,” Stumpf said.

Stumpf works in ceramics and owns the Ceramics and Gifts Galore shop on Main Street in LaPlace. She has started designing and making her own angelsthat she would like to give to children stricken with cancer.

The gifts of angels from friends and family were the major motivation for her generosity, but what really got her to fire up her ceramics kiln was watching a report on television about a little girl with leukemia who had just received a large angel doll.

“When I saw that little girl’s face light up on TV, I just said, ‘why not?’,” said Stumpf.

So Stumpf got to work, and now she has just finished 30 angels that she donated to Children’s Hospital in New Orleans. The range and style of statuesis impressive. There are large angels, small cherubs, angels kneeling andpraying, angels sitting in the Hand of God and cherubs flying or kneeling.

They are all pearl white with soft, gentle expressions, and most of them are holding bright red hearts hand-painted by Stumpf. They all have halos ofpearls around their heads and carry flowers. Stumpf has even made someangels with darker skin tones for African-American children.

It takes at least four days to make the statues. Each one of them has to befired in the kiln three times. The first time is what Stumpf calls thegreenware firing, then the glaze firing and finally the mother-of-pearl firing.

Each firing takes a day.

After the statues have cooled Stumpf decorates them with the pearl haloes and flowers.

“That takes the longest time,” said Stumpf, “because I’m working with the hot glue gun.”Stumpf has been working with ceramics for 25 years. She got started in itabout 10 years after moving to LaPlace from California. Stumpf wrote hersister and asked her to make a ceramic Santa for a Christmas present.

Stumpf’s sister suggested that Stumpf go to a ceramics class and learn how to do it herself. She did and she got hooked.”I have not regretted learning this at all,” said Stumpf.

Not only does she sell her work, but she also teaches ceramics to children and adults. Teaching children is her biggest joy.”What makes it worthwhile,” said Stumpf, “is seeing the children’s faces when they see their finished product.”Not only does she want to give her angels to children with cancer, but she wants to teach any child with cancer how to make their own ceramic angel.

She invites any ailing child to come to her shop and learn the art of ceramics.

After her donation to Children’s Hospital, Stumpf is now looking for children in the River Parishes who have cancer or other life-threatening diseases would like to get some hope and inspiration from one of her creations.

Stumpf asks for only one thing in return.

“Every child I give a statue to, I want their address so that I can send them a birthday card,” said Stumpf.

Anyone who knows a child with cancer or another life-threatening disease and thinks one of Stumpf’s angels would be appreciated, call her at (504) 651- 4060.

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