3 Years, 600 Blankets and Counting!

Tying BlanketsLayers of Love was launched on February 24, 2010.  We are nearing our three year anniversary.  Layers of Love began because of a simple need, one terrible side effect of chemotherapy treatment is being susceptible to cold.

Fleece Blanket Donations

In just under three years we have provided over 600 brand new fleece blankets to chemotherapy patients all over the United States and Canada.  We have received donations from all over the world.  We have donated blankets to Cancer infusion centers all over the United States, from Miami to New York City, from Camden, New Jersey to Milwaukee, from California to North Carolina and many more locations. We collect  both adult sized blankets and pediatric sized blankets.  We collect pediatric size blankets for two wonderful organizations: Chai Lifeline and The Isiah Alonso Foundation.  We have also shipped blankets that have been privately requested by loved ones for their friends, family members, and work colleagues.  We have received requests through our twitter account, our facebook page and through email.  Layers of Love is proud to say that we have never turned down a request for a blanket.  In fact, we have even been able to fulfill requests that have come in for multiple blankets to infusion centers from both nurses and patients.

The reason we have been able to provide so many chemotherapy patients with comfort and warmth is because of generous people just like you.  We have so many friends of Layers of Love donate blankets so that we can continue on our mission.

Community Groups

We have had community groups, church groups, Girl Scout Troops, Brownie Troops, a Life ScoutUniversity dorms, Summer Camp programs plus incredible individuals that have continuously donated blankets to us time and time again.   We are so grateful and thank you for all the support, and blanket donations we have received over the past three years.  With each day that passes by we become more and more committed to providing comfort and warmth to chemotherapy patients.  We do not intend on stopping until each and every chemotherapy patient has a blanket to provide them with comfort and warmth as they go through their treatment. What three years has taught us is that not only are we warming a chemotherapy patient’s body with our blankets, we are also warming their hearts.  What three years has taught us, is that when a chemotherapy patient receives a brand new fleece blanket that was donated from a complete stranger, their face lights up, their hope is raised,  they don’t feel so alone, their heart is indeed warmed. We hope that as we begin on this next year of our journey that you will continue to support our mission, to help us carry on the comfort and warmth.

If you would like to donate a brand new fleece blanket to Layers of Love and aren’t sure where to begin, be sure to visit our website. Check out the FAQ/Guideline tab for more information.

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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.

Happy Father’s Day

As I celebrate Father’s Day this year, I am so grateful that my father has survived his bout with stage 3 colon cancer. And as of today, he is cancer free and in great health.

I started Layers of Love with two simple things in mind: a need and a passion.  In my Welcome post on February 24, 2010, I outlined both.

“The first time I sat with my parents in the waiting room of the Cooper Cancer Institute, I was struck by not just the number of patients who walked through the door, but by how many of them carried a tote bag with a fleece blanket tucked inside.

As my mom and I walked my dad in for his appointment, the reason became apparent – the temperature in the treatment room dropped considerably. The first thing my dad said as he settled into his chair was, “I sure wish I brought my blanket with me…it’s cold in here!” Not only is the room kept cooler, but as we all soon learned, being cold is a side effect of chemotherapy.

While hospital blankets are of course provided, they are the standard, thin sort. Hardly the type I’d imagine would provide any real warmth and comfort. Judging by the blankets other patients chose to bring, fleece is the fabric of choice.”

Thus, the idea was born. I felt incredibly helpless to my dad while he was in the battle of his life. I knew I had to do something; I wanted to do something for him, for everyone in that treatment room.  So over a year later, I still have that passion, while my dad is doing great there are so many patients, dads, grandpas, uncles, brothers, mothers, sisters, grandmothers, daughters who are not doing as well.  They are still battling this terrible disease, still in need of comfort and warmth as they go through their treatment.  Going through these treatments is not easy.

There are many patients who do not have a support system.  They are battling this disease alone.  It’s amazing what a difference a simple fleece blanket can make to a patient.  So on this Father’s Day, I pay tribute to my Dad by continuing to collect donated blankets for chemotherapy patients.  As long as there are chemotherapy patients we will be doing our best to collect blankets to supply to keep them comforted and warm as they go through their treatment.

So to my dad I say Happy Father’s Day, I love you.  In honor of you, Layers of Love, my passion continues to go on.

Stay the Course Light a Star

“When the world says “Give up,” hope whispers “Try it one more time.” ~Author Unknown

Our very good friends over in Mansfield Ohio, the wonderful children’s charity Friends Like Us, were hit back at the end of February with a devastating flood. Since we launched Layers of Love we have had a relationship with Friends Like Us. Mark and his wonderful children’s charity, were one of the first friends we communicated with through our social media efforts. Since our first tweets together over a year ago we have built a very strong friendship. What does Friends Like Us do? They are a nonprofit childhood cancer organization with a goal to help children who have been devastated by cancer through their treatments. With all the pain and heartache that can come with this disease, we want to leave a lasting impression of love and hope with them.

As we announced earlier this year we are working this year collecting child sized fleece blankets for children who are going through chemotherapy treatment to add to their Chemo Bear Packages. They have given many children and their families a great deal of hope by providing them with these packages to help them ease the pain and uncertainty of going through chemotherapy treatment. Friends Like Us, works tirelessly for children who have been diagnosed with cancer.

As devastating as the flood was and all the damage it brought to Friends Like Us, the damage hasn’t stopped there, not only did they lose a great deal personally, their charity took a big hit as well, it has been almost complete loss for them. They have been trying to recoup some of the losses with local agencies but haven’t had any luck through that venue to date. So they are doing what they can on their own. As Friends Like Us states on their website, “We did everything we could to keep the water out and as fast is it came in, we couldn’t keep it out. It was like a small river flowing and all we could do is run around to get things put up as fast as we could, but it was too late for a lot of it. We lost so much due to the damages caused from the water. We are working hard on the recovery process, but need so much help with repairs and financially. We just can’t do it on our own!!!” Friends Like Us lost a lot of Chemo Bears, medical supplies, sibling toys, many coloring books, books and lots of supplies. You can view some photos from the flood on their website.

We are asking today if you can help them in any way possible, no donation IS TOO SMALL, every bit counts, to get them back on their feet and running again so that their mission of providing children with their Chemo Bear Packages can go on, move forward and begin to continue again.

Friends Like Us has made it very easy to donate to their cause. Simply go to their website http://www.friendslikeus.org/ and click on the donations tab at the top of the page, you can also donate through your mobile device with their QR code by going here.

Thank you for your help, it is appreciated more than you will ever know.

 

Thank you to the wonderful charity of Friends Like Us for not only everything they have done for children and their families who have been devastated by cancer, but for everything they will continue to do well into the future.  Layers of Love is grateful not only for the fantastic work they do, but for their friendship.

 

“Stay the course, light a star, change the world where’er you are.” ~Richard Le Gallienne

Providing Comfort and Warmth for Children

Today marks another beginning for Layers of Love. We are very proud and extremely happy to announce that as of today we are kicking off a brand new campaign!

As of today we will begin accepting homemade fleece blanket donations for children who are going through chemotherapy treatment.  Since I began Layers of Love, I have always known that working with children who have been diagnosed with cancer would become a reality.  Not only will we be helping provide comfort and warmth for children who are going through chemotherapy treatment but we are very excited to be working with the wonderful children’s charity Friends Like Us. As many of you will remember we worked with them last year as well.  I was so impressed with their work and what they are doing for children who have cancer that I wanted to be able to work with them again and help out in any way possible.

Friends Like Us provides Chemo Bear Packages for children who have cancer.  This Chemo Bear Package contains:

  • A bear
  • A Book- I’m a Kid Living with Cancer
  • An implantofix/port with tubing in a bears chest
  • A real stethoscope
  • Medical bag with accessories
  • Bears diagnoses report
  • Bear shirt
  • Chemo hat/bandanna
  • Friendship heart
  • A gift
  • Greeting Card
  • Birthday Surprise on child’s birthday
  • A music CD for the parents

With the help of your blanket donations to Layers of Love, we are very happy to add homemade fleece blankets to the Friends Like Us Chemo Bear Packages. Isn’t this a wonderful package for a child who has just been diagnosed with cancer?  We think it’s pretty fantastic.

You want to donate but don’t know where to start?

Donating is very easy!  Just take a look over at our sidebar right here on our blog.  For your convenience we have selected a few No Sew Fleece Blanket Kit patterns that we recommend from JoAnn’s Fabric and Craft Stores, and put the links there.  The donation process for child sized blankets is exactly the same as it works for the adult sized.  When you donate your blanket, you will still send it directly to us, and we will package it with our ribbon and tags and send it over to Friends Like Us.  If you are making a blanket yourself the measurements for the child sized blankets are slightly different from the adult requirement, the child sized blanket should measure 48″ x 60″. As always, if you don’t have time or don’t know how to put a blanket together all you have to do is ship it to us, we are very happy to be able to put it together for you.  If you are ordering a blanket directly from the links on our sidebar, you can have the blankets shipped from JoAnn’s right to us, just put our address in form when ordering.   You can find our address under the Contact Us tab above this post.  If you have any additional questions about donating to us, check out our FAQ tab, also above this post.

The best part of all of this is that not only will we be providing comfort and warmth for children now with the help of Friends Like Us, but we will continue to collect donated blankets for adults too.  We will be running both campaigns side by side together this year.

We are very close to completion of our goal for the Lehigh Valley Health Network and when that goal is completed we will be announcing the next cancer center we will be collecting donated blankets to benefit.  We have a very exciting year planned for Layers of Love!  We know that without your generous donations we would not be able to provide these blankets that are providing comfort and warmth for chemotherapy patients.   We are very grateful and appreciative of your help.  As long as there are chemotherapy patients, we will be working hard to make sure they are provided with a blanket.

Please be sure to visit the Friends Like Us website to see all the wonderful work they are doing for children with cancer. Friends Like Us is a nonprofit childhood cancer organization with a goal to help children who have been devastated by cancer.   They do great work and are truly a wonderful organization.