Volunteers Blanket Children's Hospital at Strong with Special Gifts
Project Linus provides security blankets to children and their families
June 16, 2000
A handmade blanket can mean the world to a child who must make Children's Hospital at Strong a temporary home, says Lucille Arthmann, a Gates resident and leader of the Rochester chapter of Project Linus.
"It's so heartwarming to put a smile on a child's face, and Project Linus helps do that," Arthmann says. "Children who spend time in the hospital are faced with a new environment - one that takes some getting used to - and if we can provide some sense of comfort by giving a security blanket of their very own, I think that's terrific."
Project Linus is an international organization devoted to making children feel safe, secure, and special. It started in 1995, after founder Karen Loucks read a news story about a child who was receiving intensive chemotherapy treatments.
The young girl was managing well, in large part because she relied on a security blanket for support. After finishing the story, Loucks decided to provide some homemade blankets to the Rocky Mountain Children's Cancer Center in Denver.
Since then, members of Project Linus have provided more than 200,000 blankets to children throughout the world. The original goal was to help children who were fighting cancer, but members now try to help any seriously ill child.
Arthmann regularly brings blankets to Children's Hospital at Strong, where they are delivered to children in each unit. The blankets come in all sizes, including miniature ones, perfect for tiny babies recovering in the hospital's Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.
"The blankets help to personalize each child's room and are a nice gift that the family can eventually take home," says Wendy Lane, coordinator of the hospital's child-life program. "Parents often say how thoughtful people are to make the blankets."
Last month, Arthmann received a big hug from a mother who was overjoyed that a stranger would do such a nice deed.
"Those kinds of experiences make it all worth it," Arthmann says.