November 15, 1997 was when it all started.
An old friend had given Laura Block a free pass to attend the third year of Anime Weekend Atlanta. She recalls: “That Saturday night at the dance, a member of our merry band of misfits sprained his ankle pogo-dancing.” She wrapped and iced the ankle, and a department was born.
At first we seemed to be called, “Dr. Laura, HEEEEELP!” By 2002, we were busy enough that we could justify bringing in more medically-trained crew and housing them onsite, so we became “AWA Medical.” Our first members were all part of the GA-3 DMAT (Disaster Medical Assistance Team), but when Hurricane Rita hit in 2005, the GA-3 DMAT team was almost deployed to Texas. Laura was *this close* to working AWA by herself. So we began to cast our net wider for volunteers. Today, we work with close to 40 certified and credentialed volunteers. (And we’re always welcoming of more potential Bunnies. Please contact us if you’re interested in working with us.)
AWA Medical became “Bunnies Without Borders” in 2014. In 2016, we hit a wall: we were required by a venue to obtain an insurance policy for the entire department, instead of just relying on our own individual liability policies. But the annual cost of that policy for a 25-member team was more than our annual budget had ever been. In 2017, we spun off as Usagi Medical Group (Usagi is Japanese for “rabbit”), an LLC run by John Plaxco (CEO), Raymond Files (Director of Operations), Mickey Desai (New Business Development), and Laura Block (Master of Disaster). We began talking to other conventions within a 500 mile radius of Atlanta with whom to partner.
Just one week ago, the ink dried on a partnership between Middle Tennessee Anime Convention (MTAC), and we are tickled pink! Keep an ear out for more announcements on the different cons we’ll be attending, and please drop us a note if you would like us to work at your favorite convention!