Sewist* comes up with new product for ‘Tissue Bankers’

MomandSon-300x219Named after the original golden age “jungle girl” and first female comic book character, Sheena Marrell has had adventures of her own as an innovator. First, she and her son Richard Marrell are the first mother and son team among the 1685 innovators recognized in The Society from Northwest Indiana. Richard invented wooden prosthetics that revolutionized the tissue transplant industry that resulted in a shift away from vinyl prosthetics to a more crematory friendly product. Sheena’s contribution came in the early 2000’s when Richard visited the family home to brainstorm about new products for RLM Tissue Bank Prosthetics in Valparaiso. Looking for an absorbent material, Sheena asked an obvious question: Why not use the sawdust that is everywhere in the shop from the manufacturer of wooden legs, arms and other prosthetics. The sawdust is to be used in cadavers whose bodies have been harvested of bone and tissue destined for the living by tissue banks across the country. She was still fulltime at Centier Bank, but she helped out by sewing the little cotton bags for the sawdust. Her suggestion was the launch of contour bags of various sizes. Today, RLM ships over 4,000 bags a month, supplementing its use of sawdust from Hoosier Bat Company. Sheena introduced a successful new product at RLM Prosthetics, where she continues to work part-time as a sewist today while enjoying her seven grandchildren.

*Sewist is a person who creates sewn works of art.

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