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Home : Community : Charity Connection : Stories : Project Linus
 

Stories from the Heart

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Caring and Sharing

While so many of us love making things for ourselves and our families, many in the Lion community go further, creating for those in need. Join us in this section and be touched by these true stories of caring and sharing submitted by Lion Brand readers.

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Project Linus

I am the coordinator of a chapter of Project Linus, a national volunteer organization who makes handmade blankets to donate to children who are in physical or emotional pain. I got involved in the organization to help children with the gift of a blanket, but have been amazed at the benefits the donors get, as well as the children. One wonderful woman who has donated 169 blankets since January 2002, sent me the following email. She gave me permission to pass it on. - Judy Walter, Coordinator, Carroll County Chapter of Project Linus (more info. about Project Linus at www.projectlinus.org)

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From: "Lois Strous"
Date: Sun, 13 Jun 2004 15:44:58 -0400
To: "JUDY WALTER"
Subject: CROCHETING WARMS MY HEART

“”
I LEARNED TO CROCHET AT THE AGE OF 13 AND FOUND IT A DELIGHTFUL HOBBY. IT WAS SO COMFORTING TO ME AND I WAS EXCITED OVER HAVING THE ABILITY TO CREATE SOMETHING ON MY OWN.

WHEN I MARRIED AT THE AGE OF 18, I BEGAN TO CROCHET BABY OUTFITS FOR MY HOPE CHEST. THE FOLLOWING YEAR, I GAVE BIRTH TO A SON, JIM. THE NEXT YEAR, WE WELCOMED KATHY. AGAIN A YEAR LATER, BONNIE ARRIVED. TWO YEARS LATER, CINDY MADE HER APPEARANCE. I GUESS YOU KNOW I DIDN’T HAVE MUCH TIME FOR CROCHETING THEN.



WHEN KATHY WAS 4 YEARS OLD, SHE DIED FROM A RARE GENETIC DISORDER, WHICH RESULTED IN KIDNEY FAILURE. I TURNED TO MY OLD HOBBY OF CROCHETING TO HELP ME DEAL WITH THE LOSS. I MADE CAPES, MITTENS, SCARVES AND MORE BABY OUTFITS.

SOON BABY # 5 ARRIVED, HIS NAME WAS KENNY. TWO YEARS LATER, ANOTHER LITTLE GIRL NAMED WENDY WAS BORN. LIFE WAS HECTIC.



WE DISCOVERED THAT KENNY ALSO HAD THE SAME GENETIC DISORDER THAT KATHY DIED FROM. ONCE AGAIN WE FACED MANY TRIPS TO THE HOSPITAL AND WONDERED IF HE WOULD SUFFER THE SAME FATE…TWO YEARS PASSED AND WE GOT A LITTLE SURPRISE, ANOTHER BOY, WE NAMED STEVE.

WHEN KENNY WAS JUST 8 YEARS OLD, HE TOO PASSED AWAY FROM KIDNEY FAILURE, AND TO MAKE MATTERS EVEN WORSE, WE FOUND OUT THAT OUR BABY BOY, STEVE, ALSO HAD THE SAME DISORDER. LIFE WAS UNFAIR.



ONCE AGAIN, OUT CAME THE CROCHET HOOK AND THE LOVELY SOFT YARN AS I SPENT ALL MY “FREE TIME” COUNTING STITCHES. (IF I WAS COUNTING, THEN I DIDN’T HAVE TIME TO THINK)

YEARS WENT BY AND LUCKILY, AT THE AGE OF 9, STEVE WAS ABLE TO RECEIVE HELP BY UNDERGOING KIDNEY DIALYSIS. I LEARNED TO DO THIS PROCEDURE AT HOME AND FOR THE NEXT 7 YEARS, HE WAS OUR PRIORITY. WHEN STEVE TURNED 16, HE RECIVED A KIDNEY TRANSPLANT AND LIFE WAS GOOD AGAIN.

I STILL OCCASIONALLY PICKED UP MY CROCHET HOOK AND WORKED ON GIFTS FOR FRIENDS AND RELATIVES. OVER THE YEARS, STEVE WAS HOSPITALIZED MANY TIMES FOR COMPLICATIONS FROM HIS ILLNESS. HE LOST HIS SIGHT AND NEEDED ME MORE THAN EVER. WE REMAINED VERY CLOSE AND WHEN STEVE WAS 31, HE DIED FROM MULTIPLE ORGAN FAILURE, WITH THE FAMILY BY HIS SIDE. THIS TIME THE GRIEF WAS ALMOST MORE THAN I COULD BARE. I WAS DEPRESSED AND SPENT A LOT OF TIME FEELING SORRY FOR MYSELF.

ONE DAY MY BEST FRIEND, JULIE, CAME TO MY RESCUE. SHE INTRODUCED ME TO “PROJECT LINUS”. THEY PROVIDE COMFORT AND CARING IN THE FORM OF HAND MADE BLANKETS FOR SICK OR ABUSED CHILDREN AND FOR THOSE GRIEVING FROM A LOSS.

NOW I HAD A PURPOSE, I WOULD CROCHET BLANKETS IN MEMORY OF MY THREE CHILDREN.

JULIE AND I BOTH ENJOY FINDING PATTERNS AND PURCHASING BRIGHTLY COLORED YARN TO TURN INTO BEAUTIFUL SECURITY BLANKETS. WE STARTED MAKING THESE BLANKETS AND DELIVERING THEM TO PROJECT LINUS A FEW YEARS AGO AND HAVE MADE OVER TWO HUNDRED BLANKETS BETWEEN US IN THE LAST FEW YEARS.

BECAUSE WE JUST COULDN’T CROCHET FAST ENOUGH, WE ALSO STARTED SEWING SMALL QUILTS. JULIE REALLY ENJOYED THE SEWING PROCESS AND I REALLY LOVED TO PICK OUT FABRICS AND DO THE FINISHING TOUCHES ON THE BLANKETS…SO, WE SET UP AN ASSEMBLY LINE….I FOUND THE FABRICS, WE BOTH PINNED THE FABRIC TOGETHER WITH BATTING, THEN JULIE SEWED AND I “TIED” THE BLANKETS WITH EMBROIDERY FLOSS. WE THEN DELIVERED THE FINISHED BLANKETS TO JUDY, OUR PROJECT LINUS COORDINATOR. WE FOUND THAT WE COULD GET MANY MORE BLANKETS FINISHED IN THIS WAY.

WE ALSO BRANCHED OUT TO INCLUDE CROCHETING YARN EDGES AROUND PURCHASED FLEECE BLANKETS WHICH ARE A WONDERFUL SIZE FOR TEENS.

WE BOTH LOVE PICKING OUT BRIGHTLY COLORED YARNS AND WORKING UP PATTERNS THAT WE THINK THE CHILDREN WILL ENJOY. IN FACT, WE HAVE RECEIVED MANY “THANK YOU LETTERS” FROM INDIVIDUALS AND HOSPITALS THAT HAVE TOUCHED US BOTH VERY DEEPLY. WE SHARE OUR LETTERS WITH EACH OTHER, OFTEN SHEDDING A TEAR ALONG THE WAY, BUT ALWAYS THANKFUL THAT WE HAVE MADE A DIFFERENCE IN SOME SMALL WAY.



CROCHETING HAS BECOME SOMETHING THAT BONDS OUR FRIENDSHIP AND ENABLES US TO DO WHAT WE LOVE AND TO HELP OTHERS AT THE SAME TIME. NOW THAT OUR CHILDREN ARE GROWN, AND WE ARE BOTH RETIRED, WE ENJOY PROPPING OUR FEET UP, TURNING ON THE TV SET AND OF COURSE, PICKING UP OUR CROCHET HOOKS AND YARN TO CREATE ANOTHER SPECIAL “BLANKIE”.



AS I AM CROCHETING A BLANKET, I AM REMINDED OF WHEN MY CHILDREN WERE SMALL AND HOW COMFORTING IT WAS FOR THEM TO HOLD THEIR BLANKETS, ESPECIALLY WHEN THEY WERE SICK OR TIRED.

JUST KNOWING THAT SOMEWHERE A BABY IN A HOSPITAL OR A CHILD DEALING WITH THE LOSS OF A PARENT OR ONE THAT HAS SUFFERED ABUSE IS BEING COMFORTED BY ONE OF OUR BLANKETS…..MAKES US SMILE. I AM SURE THAT AS LONG AS WE CAN HOLD CROCHET HOOKS IN OUR HANDS, WE WILL BE MAKING “PROJECT LINUS” BLANKETS AND LOVING EVERY MINUTE OF IT.



SINCERELY,

LOIS STROUS


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