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.

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My Turn

While I was preparing blankets for the girls last week, I got to thinking.  Thinking about what else I could do to get more people involved with the blanket drive.  Many thoughts and ideas passed through my mind, but nothing really stood out.  That was until the girls arrived and sat down and began to tie the blankets.  While I was preparing more blankets in the other room, their excitement and conversation, along with their laughter, flowed into the room where I was.  It made me think of my friends, and how much fun we have when we are all together, how the conversation flows, laughter ensues, and what great memories we make whenever we are all together.  It was at that moment that I decided to have a fleece tying night for myself.

During the course of the year I go to many “home parties”.  These parties might be for food products, jewelery, candles, home interior products, or beauty products.  So I thought why not have a home party of my own and all for the great cause of donating blankets to chemotherapy patients.  So here’s what I decided to do.  I am having a Wine and Cheese Fleece Tying Blanket Party.  I plan to do several over the next few months and invite different friends, and have different themes each time.   The plan is very simple.  I will ask each friend to donate $20. for the purchase of one No Sew Fleece Blanket Kit.  The kits will be purchased ahead of time, and I will have them prepared for tying.  I will serve several choices of wine, and cheese, we will sit down around the blankets, tie them and I’m sure we will have as much fun if not more than my daughter and her friends did.

If you would like to have a “home party” of your own let your imagination run free, there are so many different types of parties you could have.  Don’t limit yourself to wine and cheese.  Do you have friends who love a certain television show?  Have the party centered around that show.  Do you have friends who love to cook?  Why not have a pot luck or themed dinner party, where afterward the blanket tying takes place.  Where I live the weather is starting to get really nice outside, you could even do an outdoor themed blanket tying night.  Let your imagination run, get creative, have fun with your friends and all for a great cause.

Plan on having a theme night for yourself, let us know.  What theme are you going to do?  We’d love to hear about your plans, see photos (yes take photographs!) and hear about your experience.  You can contact us at layersoflove1@gmail.com or you can leave us a comment below.

“Just Let Us Know When”

The brownies were baked, the chocolate chip muffins were baked and the pizza’s were delivered.  Our first Fleece Tying Family Fun Night was all ready.  I had spent the afternoon preparing the blankets.  It was very simple to do.  Just unroll them, lay them out on the floor and cut the strips all the way around all four sides of the square fleece fabric.  My daughter had invited 3 of her best friends over, to help tie the blankets.  They enjoyed their pizza party beforehand.  When they were ready to begin, I put a movie in the dvd player, spread the first blanket out on the floor, and explained all they had to do, is each one take a side, and begin to tie the strips of fabric together in a simple knot.

They were very enthusiastic!  They each sat down and began to get to work.  I was in the other room preparing more blankets and I could hear the laughter coming from our family room.

I wasn’t sure what to expect, but thinking I knew 13-year-old girls I thought they would get bored after 2 or 3 blankets.  That wasn’t the case at all.  They said it was so easy and they were having so much fun they wanted to do more and more.

If I would have had 1000 blankets prepared they would have done them all!  It took them only 10-15 minutes tops to tie one blanket.

They worked together in nice harmony.   They got all the blankets tied with plenty of time left for more conversation, laughter and to enjoy the movie.

This night was so memorable on so many levels.  This night truly made my heart sing.  It was so great to see how enthusiastic these young girls were to give of their time on a Friday night, so that a chemotherapy patient (whom they probably will never get to meet) will have comfort and warmth.  When I asked about another Fleece Tying Fun Night, they were all on board and simply replied, “just let us know when”.

If you would like to have a Fleece Tying Fun Night and aren’t sure how to begin, simply let us know.  We will be happy to get you and your group started with some great tips. Feel free to leave a comment below, or you can email us at layersoflove1@gmail.com  This is a great volunteer activity for those who are looking for community volunteer hours, great for girl scout troops, teen groups, even adult groups.