Handmade blankets for cancer patients
Snip, snip, snip!
The sound of scissors cutting fabric mingles with the laughter and banter shared by four people gathered in a local coffee shop. Each person is in charge of measuring, cutting, and tying one end of the cheerful no-sew blanket that lies on the small table before them. The Blanket Brigade—as they’ve affectionately dubbed themselves—has crafted three blankets already, with plans to finish a fourth fifty-by-sixty-inch blanket by the end of the evening.
For Robin Emmerich, vice president on the board of Wrapped in Love—a nonprofit organization that makes blankets by hand for cancer patients—working on a blanket is especially meaningful. It’s her small way of honoring her father, James Emmerich, who passed away from complications of cancer treatment on Valentine’s Day in 1997.
“When James first went through chemo, he was always freezing and had to carry a blanket,” recalls Darvina Emmerich, James’s widow and founder of the Pittsburgh-based nonprofit. “And I quickly found that there were other patients experiencing the same symptoms.” Years later, she began Wrapped in Love to make blankets for cancer patients.
Since the organization delivered its first batch of blankets to a cancer center in 2011, its members nationwide have made and donated about 4,000 new quilted, crocheted, knitted, and no-sew fleece blankets.
“For many of these people, the blankets are the first gift they’ll receive as a cancer patient,” says Robin, who has started a chapter of Wrapped in Love in Central Texas. “They can’t believe that strangers are thinking of them and taking the time to make something especially for them—no strings attached.”
Because sewing expertise isn’t required when crafting cut-and-tie fleece blankets, almost anyone can participate in the no-sew blanket-making groups. Participating in such a group is an ideal service activity for businesses, school groups, church groups, and service organizations. Robin hopes organizations and others will form their own Blanket Brigades so that Wrapped in Love will continue to grow and involve even more volunteers.
“Anyone is welcome to join one of our established groups or form their own,” says Robin, who leads a floating no-sew blanket-making group in the greater-Georgetown area.
“Before [starting Wrapped in Love], I didn’t know that I could contribute to so many people in such a way,” says Robin, who’s currently planning her next delivery of twelve blankets to the Georgetown Cancer Center. “Wrapped in Love not only touches the people who receive the blankets, but it also touches the people who make them. It really takes you out of your mind and into your heart.”
For those interested in donating new, handmade blankets, participating in a blanket-making day, or joining or forming a new Wrapped in Love group, visit wrappedinlovefoundation.org.