Making Blankets is Community Collaboration at its Best!

With the turning of your calendar to September, fall begins to usher in with cooler temperatures, and students young and old begin a new year in school.  This is the time that many community* groups begin to form and start up once again.  This is the perfect time to begin thinking about community* projects.

Layers of Love lends itself perfectly to these projects.

Here’s what some participants have told us about making blankets:

They enjoyed making these blankets very much and are glad that the blankets will bring comfort to children undergoing chemotherapy.” ~Girl Scout Troop 824’s Leader

“People just kept giving and giving, and it allowed us to buy more to make more.” ~Diane Huber who’s church group donated several times to Layers of Love.

“The children’s little fingers were so happy to tying blankets that were going to provide comfort for chemotherapy patients.”  ~Bethany Wesley Church’s Youth Group Leader

“It’s really important to me that these women who receive these blankets know that they have support and prayers from all the girls in our dorm.” ~Karis, student at Purdue University, and Windsor Residence Hall Social Director

“When is the next Fleece Blanket Tying Night? I hope you have another one!”  ~Participant of blanket tying community event at the Palmerton Library

“Just let us know when!”  ~Participant during our first Family Fun Blanket Tying Night, when asked if they’d like to join our blanket tying night again.

We have been closely involved in several community projects that were completed for Layers of Love and one very BIG underlying sentiment is always present with every occasion:  friendship, conversation, collaboration and accomplishment.  There is something magical that happens when several people are gathered around the same blanket working together to complete it.  During those community events we often hear: “Wow, we made all the blankets already?  Time really flew by!  Are you having another blanket tying event?  We’d like to join in again! This is a lot of fun!”

The most important part of the community’s* group efforts is the chemotherapy patients who will benefit from these brand new fleece blankets.  Even in the warmest of temperatures outdoors or even indoors, a terrible side effect of chemotherapy is being cold.  These blankets will provide a patient with comfort and warmth.  The blankets will not only warm their body but will also warm their hearts.  Just by knowing someone they’ve never met took time and made them a blanket can turn their whole journey with this terrible disease around.

If your community* group is starting up again for the fall we hope you will consider a project making blankets for Layers of Love.

You would like to make blankets but aren’t sure where to start, check out our Putting It All Together post. With step-by-step instructions of how to prepare a blanket.  Need sizing information see our FAQ page.   Looking for other information that you didn’t see on our FAQ page be sure to check out our Guidelines page.  If you have any questions/concerns that were not addressed in the links above please contact us in the comments below or at our email: patty@layersoflove.net  We collect blankets for both adult and pediatric cancer patients.

If your community* group would like to donate blankets to Layers of Love and would like some help to get started let us know.  We have worked, and continue to work, with several groups, giving directions of how to put the blankets together, supplying scissors, even gathering more volunteers for your group if needed.  Making blankets truly is community collaboration at its best!

*Community group: High School group, Senior Project, Scout Project, Senior Citizen Project, Girl Scout Troop, Boy Scouts, Youth group, Church group.

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Let’s Talk Cancer

I am thrilled and excited that this Thursday, May 3 I will have the honor of being a guest on the radio show Let’s Talk Cancer.  The radio show can be found at WWDB-AM 860 on your radio dial or you can listen live on their website.

Taken from the mission statement of WWDB-AM 860:

“With it’s powerful 10,000 watt signal, WWDB-AM 860 is heard loud and clear throughout the Delaware Valley.  WWDB-AM 860 is “Made in America” radio, homegrown and proud.  

“But there is another important dimension to the line-up at WWDB-AM 860 and that’s talk radio.  WWDB-AM 860 is the legacy Talk Radio Station and people come here to the 555 Building to broadcast their programs Live and Local.  WWDB is proud to make airtime available for those serious broadcasters with a unique point of view, with voices that need a radio platform on which to be heard.” 

Let’s Talk Cancer is hosted by Kim Cirucci and Denise Ciliberti-Sosalski.  “They are two friends who talk the Big-C.  Kim is living with cancer and her friend Denise is by her side for honest heartfelt conversation.  They are two south Philly girls on a mission to spread hope and cheer for everyone effected by the disease.”  Kim and Denise truly have a global reach.  On their show they  interview people who are effected by cancer from all over the world.  Last week they interviewed Anne who resides in Ireland.

On Kim and Denise’s show they spread hope, inspiration and the cancer journey with their listeners.  I look forward to be joining them both to talk about cancer and Layers of Love.  It promises to be a great show.  I hope you will join us at LIVE at 12:30 pm est this Thursday, May 3.  If you can’t make the show live be sure to check their website for the podcast recording of the show, where you can listen to all their previous shows as well.

What’s Your Story?

We want to hear from you!

Over the past two years Layers of Love has donated a great many fleece blankets to many chemotherapy patients.   Sometimes when a patient receives a blanket we will receive a photograph of them smiling with their blanket.  That got us to thinking.  We would love to hear from you if you or a loved one has received a blanket from us.  If you have a photograph you’d like to share that would be great too!

We would like to share your story with our friends here on our blog and on our facebook community page.  We want your story to be told.  Every blanket that we ship out goes to a unique patient with a unique story.  I am always amazed when I personally hand out our donated blankets by all the stories the patients tell me about themselves.  These are all beautiful stories. They tell me about their life, their battle with this terrible disease, and their families and all the support they receive.  These are all stories that should be told, voices that should be heard.

If you or your loved one would like to featured here on our blog and on our facebook community page please contact us at patty@layersoflove.net  We look forward to hearing from you!

None of our donations chemotherapy patients both adult and pediatric would be possible without the generous donations of people like you.  We are very grateful because without you we wouldn’t be able to do what we do.  If you have a fleece fabric you would like to donate, you can contact us here in the comments or at: patty@layersoflove.net  We accept brand new fleece fabric and no sew fleece fabric kits (available at many craft stores).  Don’t have the time or not sure how to put a kit together?  No problem, we can put the kits and fabric donations together for you.  Not sure about sizing or measurements?  We invite you to take a moment to look at our FAQ tab and Guidelines tab above this post to see our recommendations for donating child-sized blankets.

If your community group would like to donate to Layers of Love, please contact us: patty@layersoflove.net We have worked and continue to work with several groups, from giving directions of how to put the blankets together, supplying scissors, even gathering more volunteers for your group if needed.  Making blankets truly is community collaboration at its best!

Chai Lifeline

Today we at Layers of Love are very proud to announce that we will be donating child-sized blankets to the international non-profit organization Chai Lifeline.   Chai Lifeline operates around the world.  The non-profit is best known for it’s cancer support but they help children suffering from any life threatening illness, as well as serious chronic or genetic conditions.

Chai Lifeline - Fighting Illness With Love

Chai Lifeline offers over 20 FREE year-round services.   The non-profit is well know for their summer camps-Camp Simcha.  Their website states:

“Our most famous programs are our two overnight summer camps for seriously ill children. Camp Simcha, for children with cancer and other life-threatening illnesses, is one of the only “cancer camps” that accept children on active treatment, and one of the few offering two-week sessions. Camp Simcha Special is the first camp designed to meet the medical and social needs of children with more than 60 disparate diagnoses. Together, these camps give 400 children and teens a vacation from illness, pain, and isolation every summer.”*

Along with Camp Simcha the non-profit also offers many other services to children and families:

“In addition to camp, Chai Lifeline offers professional case management; Big Brothers and Big Sisters; special events; sibling programs; advocacy and information; insurance support services; counseling; meals and hospital visits; retreats and family respite vacations, family days, and holiday parties; tutoring; crisis intervention and bereavement services. 

Services are developed to meet the changing needs of our families. For example, when studies confirmed our clients’ reports that one of the major reasons for missing medical appointments was a lack of transportation, Chai Lifeline began a transportation assistance program that provides thousands of rides to physicians’ offices, hospitals, and treatment centers every year.”*

Chai Lifeline has locations all over the United States and the world.

Chai Lifeline’s mission statement:

“Chai Lifeline’s guiding principles are

  • That seriously ill children need and deserve as happy and normal a childhood as possible;
  • That illness affects each member of the family;
  • That the well-being of an ill child is impacted by the well-being of his or her family;
  • That pediatric illness can have a devastating financial effect on families.

With this in mind, Chai Lifeline strives to

  • Find ways to bring joy to the lives of our young patients and their families through creative, innovative, and effective family-centered programs, activities, and services;
  • Engender hope and optimism in children, families, and communities;
  • Educate and involve communities in caring for ill children and their families;
  • Provide unparalleled support throughout the child’s illness, recovery, and beyond;
  • Offer all services free of charge to ensure that every family has access to the programs it needs;
  • Embody the ideals of compassion, kindness, and caring for others inherent in Jewish culture and life“*
In this video from Chai Lifeline you can get a glimpse into the effects of childhood cancer on three  families.

We are very excited and look forward to a long relationship with Chai Lifeline.  Since we began Layers of Love in 2010 we have been very passionate about providing as many blankets as we can to pediatric cancer patients.  As long as there are chemotherapy patients we will do our best to provide them with the comfort and warmth of a brand new  fleece blanket.

*Taken directly from the Chai Lifeline website.

To date Layers of Love has donated close to 400 brand new fleece blankets to both adult and pediatric chemotherapy patients.  Those donations have gone to cancer centers all over the United States. We proudly are working hard to collect child-sized blankets for both Chai Lifeline and The Isaiah Alonso Foundation. We are proud to say we have never turned down a privately requested blanket and have shipped those requested blankets to patients both in the United States and Canada.  We have been able to provide these blankets because of the generous donations from our friends all over the world.  Thank you!

This is the perfect time to think about donating a child-sized blanket.   If you have a fleece fabric you would like to donate, you can contact us here in the comments or at: patty@layersoflove.net  We accept brand new fleece fabric and no sew fleece fabric kits (available at many craft stores).  Don’t have the time or not sure how to put a kit together?  No problem, we can put the kits and fabric donations together for you.  Not sure about sizing or measurements?  We invite you to take a moment to look at our FAQ tab and Guidelines tab above this post to see our recommendations for donating child-sized blankets.

If your community group would like to donate to Layers of Love, please contact us: patty@layersoflove.net We have worked and continue to work with several groups, from giving directions of how to put the blankets together, supplying scissors, even gathering more volunteers for your group if needed.  Making blankets truly is community collaboration at its best!

An Amazing Project by an Amazing Young Lady

We are gearing up to make another delivery of blankets!  This one will be going to Cooper Cancer Institute in Voorhees, New Jersey. We deliver a lot of blankets both in bulk amounts to cancer centers and individually requested blankets for those who contact us privately ( patty@layersoflove.net )  to have one shipped out for a loved one going through chemotherapy treatment.  Our mission statement is Layers of Love: Comforting chemotherapy patients one blanket at a time.

But here is what you might not know.

Handmade tags, Marissa made for each blanket.

Every blanket has a story.  Every blanket donated to us has been handmade by someone who cares enough to take the time to donate a blanket.  This holiday season we have received many donations from across the country.  Many times I just receive the donated blankets, and all I know is the address of where it was shipped from.  But when I do know the back story it makes the blanket come to life. When I deliver that blanket I can tell the chemotherapy patient where it came from and any other fact I know about the person(s) who made it.

When I started Layers of Love, it was mainly because I wanted help curtail one of the terrible side effects that chemotherapy patients endure while going through treatment, being susceptible to cold.  I wanted to help provide comfort and warmth.  What I didn’t know is that not only will the blanket provide the patient with physical comfort and warmth, but it would also provide emotional comfort and warmth.  It is emotionally uplifting to know that a stranger has cared enough to donate a blanket for them as they go through their treatment battling this terrible disease.  It touches their hearts.

You’ll remember Robyn, from our last post Ordinary People Doing Extraordinary Deeds and her incredible drive for Layers of Love.  Now it’s time to let you know about another member of her family, who has done and equally amazing drive for us.

Marissa is Robyn’s 12-year-old daughter.  Robyn and Marissa were looking for a project that Marissa could do for her upcoming Bat Matzvah. When Robyn and Marissa found Layers of Love, they went right into action!  Marissa put together a blog: Get Cozy During Chemo and began her blanket drive.  She set up a donation link on her blog so that anyone could help out her drive by donating money so they could purchase the fleece to make the blankets, her Mom sent out emails to all their friends to let them know what Marissa was doing, and they were off and running.

After raising money to purchase fleece fabric she set up her first blanket party and over 60 friends and family came out to help put together the blankets!

“I was really surprised, I knew people were coming and I didn’t know how many but I was surprised at how many actually came,” Marissa said. “We have a few people from our community helping and a lot of my friends.”

When I asked Marissa how she has had such success with her blanket drive she said,  “I made a Facebook event, my mom constantly posted on facebook &  twitter and her blog CancerHawk,  which more people read and it just got around quickly from social media.”

After her first blanket party, Marissa had a second blanket party hosted at her Mom’s favorite clothing store Emily Grace.  It was an all day event, where you could come in to the store, donate toward a blanket, help put together blankets, and shop for a 20% store wide discount.  They made 45 more blankets at the party!  WOW!

Marissa’s Bat Mitzvah is in May. She set a goal of 180 blankets to donate for cancer patients.  Why 180? Derivatives of the number 18 symbolize “life” and “good luck” in Judaism.  You can also read more about why Marissa picked Layers of Love, and why she wanted to donate blankets for chemotherapy patients in her Why blankets? …..My story post on her blog.  Marissa loves hanging out with her friends and loves cheerleading.

Just a portion of the donated blankets from Marissa ready to out for delivery.

Marissa is another example of an ordinary person doing extraordinary deeds.  She is a wonderful young lady.  These handmade fleece blankets will be so welcomed by the chemotherapy patients they will be donated to.  They will provide comfort and warmth both emotionally and physically.   We are so grateful to both Marissa and Robyn for their hard work, and their amazing inspiration.  Both Marissa and Robyn are truly making a difference to so many people.  Thank you for all that you do, thank you for all that you have done.  Thank you for all the blankets.  Thank you.

Ordinary People Doing Extraordinary Deeds

As you may or may not know, Layers of Love was born and has lived almost solely through the power of social media.  When I first had the idea for Layers of Love it was born because of a dear friend’s words to me in an email late one night.  20 words that  brought Layers of Love to life.  Said over the internet.

Layers of Love was born.  And we have lived primarily through social media since our launch back in February of 2010.  Twitter, Facebook, our website and here on our blog.  That is how we have spread the word.  That is also how we have met so many wonderfully incredible people doing so many incredible things.

“Individually we are one drop.  Together we are an ocean.”  ~Satoro

I am a firm believer in that quote.  We at Layers of Love believe in one blanket at time, one patient at a time.  We do what we can to help as many chemotherapy patients as we can.  We do all of this through the generosity of individuals, most we’ve never even met.  Our blanket donations come from not only across the state and all over the country, but the world.  We don’t accept monetary donations, only fleece blanket donations.  Because solely of the generosity of others we have succeeded beyond our wildest dreams.

Hang on because this is where the story of Layers of Love gets even better. We have the fortune of, through Twitter, meeting a wonderful woman. Enter cancerHAWK.  She found us through twitter.  She was looking for a project for her daughter to take on for her upcoming bat mitzvah.  They decided on making blankets for Layers of Love.  We have a full blog post coming up soon with much more on her daughter.  She is an amazing young woman. You would think this is where the story ends, right?

Wrong.

Let’s get back to twitter and our friend cancerHAWK.  Let me introduce her.  Her name is Robyn.  Robyn started a campaign over a week ago on Twitter.  For every new follower she received for the week, until October 31, she would donate a blanket to us.  Each new follower=a new blanket for a chemotherapy patient.

WOW.

JUST WOW.

We at Layers of Love were floored.  Generosity that we couldn’t believe.

Last week I had the pleasure of speaking with Robyn.  She was one of the most inspirational women I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting.  What she has done is amazing.  Robyn lost her husband Alan, to a rare form of cancer July of last year.  She has 3 incredible children.  And as she states on her blog  “When I ask myself what can I do with the lemons that have been thrown my way, I know what Alan would say. He’d say, “Make Lemonade.” cancerHAWK is my lemonade.”  One thing she said during our conversation has stuck with me ever since, “If I can make someone’s journey brighter, that’s what I want to do.”  

That is simply beautiful.  She is one beautiful woman.

Her very successful twitter campaign gained her 148 new followers.  Which in turn means 148 blankets donated to Layers of Love.  One woman, one campaign, one GIANT generous heart.

Layers of Love can never adequately thank her for all she has done for us. Giving the gift of not just a fleece blanket to a chemotherapy patient, but giving the patient comfort and warmth, and letting them know that they are not alone in their battle with this terrible disease.  The gift of a handmade blanket does provide them with warmth to help with the terrible side effect of the chemotherapy treatment but it also provides warmth for their hearts, it’s comforting to know that someone they have never met does care.

THANK YOU Robyn.  Thank you for your generosity. Thank you for your inspiration. Thank you for your beautiful heart.  Most importantly, thank you for you.

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Be sure to follow cancerHAWK on twitter.

Visit the CancerHawk Blog  The real deal for cancer patients & their caregivers….

“Like” CancerHawk on Facebook

In advance of our upcoming post on Robyn’s daughter, you might want to take a look at the Get Cozy During Chemo blog.

First of Many

Preparing the blankets with ribbon and tags

Today we are very happy to say that Layers of Love will ship out the first of what we will hope will be many shipments of child-sized fleece blankets to the Isaiah Alonso Foundation.  The foundation is going to hand them out to children who have cancer to provide them with comfort and warmth as they go through their treatments.  We are thrilled to be working with this wonderful foundation.

Some fleece blankets to be shipped

We started with a goal of 10 blankets for the Isaiah Alonso Foundation and are very proud to say that we have gone above and beyond that mark of 10 blankets.  Today we will ship out 18 brand new fleece blankets. 🙂

Blankets waiting to be packaged up to ship out.

The blankets are all packed in boxes and ready for shipment.

Our blanket drive continues.  As long as their are chemotherapy patients, whether a child or an adult, we will continue to collect brand new fleece blankets to give to the patients to provide them with comfort and warmth while they are going through treatment.

We could not do what we do without the generous donations of both fabric, and blanket kits from our friends all over the United States and the globe.  We have received donations from as far away as Ireland.  We are very grateful of your continued support.  If you would like to donate to us please see the FAQ and Donation Guidelines tabs above.  If you have any questions please contact us at donations@layersoflove.net or leave a comment below. Thank  you.