Avenue to contribute makes a difference for South Carolinian

April 15, 2020
Avenue to contribute makes a difference for South Carolinian

Laura Lanter, a Baha’i in Rock Hill, South Carolina, has multiple health challenges but has found a new purpose in life during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Kari Beal interviews Laura Lanter (on laptop screen) for a televised segment on Lanter’s service sewing surgical gowns for health-care professionals. Screenshot from video

She is sewing surgical gowns for health-care professionals in the Charlotte, North Carolina, metro area, which includes Rock Hill.

Lanter lost most movement in her legs about five years ago, she told Spectrum News for an April 9 segment on the TV channel, which serves subscribers of Spectrum cable.

“I just felt like there was no purpose in my life,” she said in the story. “I wasn’t able to contribute anything. I was just using up oxygen and medicine.”

But Lanter had learned to sew as a child. And when she heard that the organization CLTgivePPE was looking for volunteers to make surgical gowns in partnership with Charlotte-area health care providers Atrium and Novant Health, she leapt at the opportunity.

Laura Lanter (center) and Tracey Ratte (left) celebrate a job well done sewing surgical gowns for health-care professionals. Screenshot from video

On April 6, Lanter and Tracey Ratte, who organized the volunteers, went to work. “[Lanter] got out of her wheelchair and she scooted along the floor, and I gave her some yoga blankets to scoot around on,” Ratte told Spectrum News.

Hundreds of yards of fabric later, 65 gowns had been cut and sewn and Lanter knew she was making a difference.

To help Lanter prepare for the interview, Charlotte-area Baha’is Karin Sawhill and Marzieh Yousefian conducted a practice Zoom call with her “to relax her and to say some prayers together,” says Sawhill.

Later that day, with apprehensions abated, Lanter went on camera and reflected on her new service.

“This matters,” Lanter reflected. “It matters a lot and it is meaningful to people’s lives.”

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