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.

2010 What a Year!

Layers of Love Logo

We launched Layers of Love on On February 24, 2010. What a year it has been! What started with a simple idea and an email sent from a dear friend late at night,  has blossomed into a full-blown non-profit, collecting brand new homemade fleece blankets to provide comfort and warmth to chemotherapy patients.

Layers of Love started by collecting blankets specifically for those chemotherapy patients at Cooper Cancer Institute in Voorhees, New Jersey. We completed our goal plus some, and now we are close to meeting another goal for the chemotherapy patients at Lehigh Valley Health Network.

Donated Fleece Blankets

This year, Layers of Love had a great amount of help from very generous people. We were lucky enough to work with many community groups, individuals, teens, charter school students and college students, all toward one common goal, providing comfort and warmth for people who need it most.

We received a HUGE lift from a Life Scout Sam Keefer, whose Eagle Scout project was to not only collect blankets to benefit the chemotherapy patients at Cooper Cancer Institute, but he also organized and ran a fundraiser, plus organized a volunteer event to put over 50 blankets together. We also held our first Fleece Blanket Tying Event at Palmerton Library. We had a lot of help from volunteers who gave up a night of their time to come out and help put blankets together. It was a lot of fun.

Another fun group was the group of teenage girls who came over our house for a Fleece Tying Family Fun Night. My daughter and her friends had a lot of fun. Not only did we receive generous donations of tied fleece blankets but we also received handsewn blanket donations. Along with those, we also received bolts of fleece fabric from a wonderful mother and daughter. That donation in turn led to a church youth group pairing up their fabric with the donated fabric to make beautiful blankets for more chemotherapy patients.

Donations don’t have to come locally, and many donations to Layers of Love did not. We were contacted by a dorm of college students at Purdue University who made four very special blankets for Layers of Love to be donated specifically for chemotherapy patients who are battling breast cancer. But not all blanket donations came from community groups, many came from individuals from all over the globe, we have even received blankets from as far away as Ireland!

We also had the privilege of working with another charity very closely during the month of November. Friends Like Us is a wonderful children’s charity. Friends Like Us is a non-profit childhood cancer organization with a goal to help children who have been devastated by cancer. They provide children who have been diagnosed with cancer undergoing chemotherapy a customized chemo bear with interactive accessories and a children’s cancer book. We are looking forward to the new year and are very excited to be working with Friends Like Us again. We will have more information, and a full official announcement on this campaign right after the new year.

Far and away the most rewarding part of the past year was our delivery of your donated blankets to the chemotherapy patients at Cooper Cancer Institute.  That was a day I will never forget and is never far from my mind.  As I wrote in the original blog post “It was wonderful to give a patient a blanket and see their face light up and for them to immediately put them to use.  YOUR generous donations have made a huge difference to these chemotherapy patients.  YOU have made it possible for them to have comfort and warmth as they go forward with their treatments.  We cannot thank you enough for all the donations we have received.”

Those words stand true to this day.  Layers of Love would not be where it is today without all of your generous donations.  We are very proud to say that to date we have received more than 108 blanket donations. Along with donations to both Cooper Cancer Institute and upcoming to the Lehigh Valley Health Network, we have also received numerous emails from individuals requesting blankets for loved ones who are currently undergoing chemotherapy treatments, we are pleased to say we have not turned down a single request this year.

We are so proud of everything we’ve accomplished this year, thanks to you. We rely on your generous donations, and you have not let us down.  We are so grateful for each and every donation we have received, and to all of you we say THANK YOU.

As we are moving on into the new year of 2011, we are looking forward to helping even more chemotherapy patients. We have a lot planned to help us reach our goals.  At Layers of Love, we don’t plan on resting until every chemotherapy patient who needs one has received a brand new fleece blanket to provide them with comfort and warmth as they go through their treatments.

From Layers of Love to you and your family, Happy New Year.

12 by the 18th

We have big changes on the horizon here at Layers of Love. First up,  we have set a goal of collecting 12 No Sew Fleece Blankets for the chemotherapy patients at Cooper Cancer Institute by August 18th.  We currently have 9 here waiting to be delivered.  We just need 3 more to reach our goal!

After we make the last delivery of blankets to the Cooper Cancer Institute in Voorhees, Layers of Love will take off in a similar but new direction.  We are currently in the planning stages and will make a formal announcement after the 18th of August.  We are very excited and look forward to working hard to make a difference for those who are going through chemotherapy treatments.

We are so grateful for everyone who has helped us out along the way.  We could have not done this without you. Thank you!

You can follow us on twitter for timely updates on all cancer related subjects.

You can also “like” & feel free to share our page on facebook.

Chemotherapy with a Positive Attitude

On Thursday May 20, thanks to all of your donations we received, I made the first of what I hope to be THREE fleece blanket deliveries to Cooper Cancer Institute in Voorhees New Jersey.  It was a day I won’t soon forget.  There has not been a day that has gone by since I walked out of the Institute that I have not thought about the chemotherapy patients, and their smiles, loads of smiles.  With that very thought in mind today I bring you two patients of the many I met that day, while delivering your fleece blanket donations.

Fran Ceritano

This is Fran Ceritano who is currently receiving chemotherapy treatment.  She is a wonderful lady, with a beautiful smile.  I love the blanket she chose, one that was hand sewn.  I loved meeting her and her daughter.  I wish her all the best as she moves forward with her treatments.

Bill Duncan

Another patient I met while at the Cooper Cancer Institute was Bill Duncan.  I talked for a while with Bill about his cancer and met his wonderful wife who was with him.   When I asked Bill if I could take a photograph and tell  his story on the layers of love website & blog he did not hesitate to answer a resounding “Yes!” He wanted his story told because he said that “if he could give anyone, even one person who has cancer hope, that is exactly what I want to do.” Bill described to me that he currently has stage 4 small lung cancer extensive, left lung, right lung, effected, abdomen, and a spot on his kidney.   Before his first of three chemotherapy treatments his tumor measured 12.7cm x 4.5cm.  After first three treatments his tumor has reduced in size to 4.5cm x approximately 2.0 cm.  Bill said that “the treatments do work.” Bill was an amazing man with an inspiring positive outlook.  He also went on to say that he “is reacting good to his treatments” and “the one thing you must have no matter what when diagnosed with cancer is a positive attitude.” “When I was diagnosed the doctors told me I have 12 months, after these first three treatments I am now telling them, I have at least 12 years!” Bill’s positive attitude radiated from him.  Bill and his wife, and Fran and her daughter,  were a joy to spend time with and wonderful to talk to.  I am so glad I got to met them and everyone I had the pleasure of meeting and talking with on that day.

I wish Bill and Fran all the best as they move forward with their treatments.

I was told last week that all the fleece blankets that were delivered on that day have now been handed out to patients.  It was wonderful to give a patient a blanket and see their face light up and for them to immediately put them to use.  YOUR generous donations have made a huge difference to these chemotherapy patients.  YOU have made it possible for them to have comfort and warmth as they go forward with their treatments.  We cannot thank you enough for all the donations we have received.  We are a third of the way to reaching our goal.  There is still time to help us out, donating is as easy as a few clicks of the mouse.  Check out our sidebar for blanket donation suggestions, you can purchase them right from here and have them shipped directly to us.   If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to ask us, send us an email at: donations@layersoflove.net     We thank you for all your help!

A Delivery of Smiles

Last Thursday I made the first of what I hope to be three deliveries of homemade fleece blankets to the Cooper Cancer Institute. First off let me say that this day would not have been possible without all of your generous donations.  I am so thankful for all your help.  Thank you all!

It was an incredible morning!  I was met by Beth Ann Rachkis the Director of Marketing and Communications at Cooper Cancer Institute. We brought the blankets into the chemotherapy treatment room snapped a few photographs and started handing them out.

Two wonderful nurses at Cooper Cancer Institute with the blankets

It was fun to see which blankets were chosen by the patients.  We had so many different patterns to choose from.  Not only was it wonderful to bring so many smiles to the chemotherapy patients but it was equally as wonderful to chat with them for a little while.  Many who chose blankets put them to use right away as they were receiving their treatment that morning.  Comfort and warmth, plus a smile, what a great combination.

I will never forget delivering the blankets last Thursday.  It was a moving day and though I have left the building the memories I made that day have not left my mind.

So what is next?  Now the drive continues, hopefully we will gain more exposure from our website and our facebook page.  With that exposure we hope to bring more donations in for our cause.  Our goal is 74 blankets and we are over 1/3 of the way there already.  Thank you to everyone who has joined our cause and provided comfort and warmth to those chemotherapy patients who are currently undergoing treatment.  We could not have done this without YOUR help.

You Are Invited!

If you are in the Lehigh Valley Area you are invited to join us at our first of two Palmerton Area Library Blanket Tying Events.  The first event will take place on Thursday May 13 from 6:30 – 8 p.m.

Join us as we will be preparing hand tied fleece blankets to donate to provide comfort and warmth to those patients who are undergoing chemotherapy treatment.

Here are the specifics:

What should I bring? Yourself, fleece material to make a blanket, or a no sew fleece blanket kit, a pair of scissors, and a friend!

I don’t have a blanket kit where can I get one? You can purchase one ahead of time at JoAnn Fabric and Craft Stores, or you can simply bring a $15.00 donation (to cover the cost of the blanket kit) with you and we will have a limited selection of kits available for you to purchase right at the library that night.

BE PREPARED!!

We have found when tying blankets, friendships flourish, conversations flow, and everyone has a lot of fun all for a great cause!

We are listening to you!  This event is a result of the ideas you have brought to us.  This event is perfect for those of you who have pets and wanted to make sure your blankets were prepared in a NO pet hair zone. Keep your ideas coming!  We appreciate your input and are working hard to make sure we implement as many of your ideas as possible to become a reality.

*Mark your calendars! Our second Blanket Tying event will be a daytime event held on Friday June 11 from 10-11:30 a. m. We hope to see you there!