Thursday, October 29, 2009

Calling All Quilters

Calling all quilters, and friends of quilters:  we have three, beautifully made quilt tops which need to be made into finished quilts.

Their sizes are: 
84" X 58"
93" X 68"
93" X 90"

These are treasures, and they are too large to donate to patients. Finishing the quilts will enable us sell them at an auction, to raise funds for the Guild.

Would you (or anyone you know) like to help?   If you are interested, please leave a comment here, including your contact information, and we will get in touch with you.

Thank you!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

A Great Day for Katie's Comforters

Today was a great day for our guild. Our Treasurer (my sister-in-law, Katie's Auntie Linda) came to visit, and together, we went to Bank of America to open a checking and savings account for Katie's Comforters Guild. We opened this account with a generous donation from Auto Connections East in Bellevue, Washington, which is owned by my brother-in-law, Stu Cordova. Thank you, Stu (Katie's Uncle - you can learn more about him if you click on his name), and my sister Deb (Katie's Aunt)!

Here is a photo of our Treasurer, Linda Case.

If you're wondering what the object is next to her, it's a full roll of batting from Jo-Ann Fabrics.  All 18 yards of it, in one roll - that's enough to make 18 quilts!

Speaking of Jo-Ann Fabrics, we have just heard from their corporate office that they are going to provide discount cards for our guild members. When the cards arrive, I will post more about this. We want to thank Jo-Ann Fabrics for their interest, compassion and support!

Last, but not least, thank you, Mom, for your generous check, which paid for that roll of batting, and other quilting supplies!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Katie's Comforters Guild is Mentioned in Guild Notes

Katie's Comforters Guild was mentioned in the new email edition of Guild Notes. If you would like to receive this publication, or others, you may sign up on the
Seattle Children's Hospital website
on this page:

The entire website has been re-designed, so if you haven't been there lately, it's worth a visit, to see the new look.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Cotton Fabric Available for Guild Members

If you are a guild member & need fabric in order to start making blankets for the Hospital, we have received donations, and can provide a variety of cottons for you.

Please leave a comment here, including your email address, and I will get in touch with you about sending fabric to you.

If you have cotton or flannel fabric, or yarn, that you would like to donate, please leave a comment here, with your email address, and I will contact you about that. Thank you!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Two-Plus Years, and A Bounty of Quilts Donated!

We have been sewing quilts for Seattle Children's Hospital's SCCA (Seattle Cancer Care Alliance) ward since the autumn of 2007. We made our first donation in March of 2008.

The photos here show quilts that have been sewed by kind and generous people, locally and around the country, and donated to the SCCA ward at Seattle Children's Hospital.

I hope these photos give you inspiration.

Now, we would love to have photos of you with your knitted, crocheted, fleece or sewed blankets. If you would like to have your photo included here, please leave a comment and I will send my email address to you. You can email the photo to me, and I will put it up here on the site.
It would be inspiring and exciting to see what you are creating!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

More About Blankets

When our children were tiny, they each had a favorite blanket. They have been given a variety of blankets at different times in their lives, and their favorites changed.

I've been going through old photos, and I can see many examples. 

There are photos of them with blankets that they enjoyed cuddling with, sleeping with and using for coziness (for example, wearing a blanket, rather than a bathrobe).

They packed their blankets, and took them on vacation. After a long day of swimming and playing in California, Katie got cozy with her blanket (and her dad) on the couch. 

Here is Katie on a weekend morning, before she had cancer. She is playing a video game with David (and chewing on an English muffin, while her hands are busy). You can see the quilt that I made for her, sitting on her lap.

And here she is at home, after she recovered from her chemotherapy and 18-hour surgery. She was in remission, and she and David had just returned from a week at Camp Goodtimes West (her hair is still dyed from the carnival). You can see her yellow quilt behind her, on her bed.

Shortly before she passed away, Katie was in her bed, cuddling with our cat, Latte...and she still loved that quilt.

A blanket can be a meaningful and lasting source of comfort, through good times and bad.

A child can be very creative and imaginative, using a blanket as:

a mask (to block out food or hospital smells - chemo makes people super-smell-sensitive);

a shawl around the shoulders or on the lap, for warmth and coziness;

a cover, to hide under and avoid being seen;
a comforter (something to cuddle);

a blinder, to block out light, or sights one doesn't want to see:

a bathrobe;

a bedspread;

a bit of homemade love;

a distraction (Katie's is printed with all of the United States' state flowers, so we would try to pick them out, one by one);
a visual statement about who he or she is.

Blankets can be made with fabrics that relate to a child's hobbies, home town or state, favorite color or subjects, pets or sports. As the variety of fabrics, patterns (and yarns) is endless, so are the possibilities!

Have fun creating coziness!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Our First Official Meeting

Last evening, my mom and I attended a New Members meeting with the Guild Association at Seattle Children's Hospital. We learned about other new guilds, met some of their members, and heard stories about why they started their guilds. We learned what they are planning in the way of fund-raising for the hospital. I didn't know that when Seattle Children's was founded, 102 years ago, there was NO major pediatric hospital in existence west of the Mississippi River. The founder (Anna Clise) had a young son who died, and decided to DO SOMETHING about the situation. She founded what is now Seattle Children's Hospital, and started the first guild to support it (click HERE if you would like to read more about the history of the hospital).

I know a lot of bereaved mothers who feel the same way. On certain days, grief lights a fire under me; I can't stand to see another family endure what we have suffered. I want to alleviate - and at best, prevent - that kind of suffering. I want to FIGHT BACK...but I intend to do it with love. I want to bring into the world some of the kind of light that left it when Katie passed away.

I can't bring Katie back, but I believe that we can bring light to others who are suffering. That's the purpose of this guild! Comforters and blankets for COMFORT!

Thanks to Aileen Kelly and the board of the Guild Association for all of your help and support.

Friday, October 2, 2009

How To Donate

I've received questions about how to make a donation to Katie's Comforters Guild. Good news:  you have some choices (I love choices)!

You may write a check to:
Katie's Comforters Guild
c/o Seattle Children's Hospital Guild Association
M/S S 200
P.O. Box 50020
Seattle, WA  98145-5020

You may also donate online. If you have questions about how to do this, please call the Guild Association office at 206-987-2153,
or 800-635-1432 (toll-free).

If you would like to donate to Seattle Children's Hospital, you can go to their website by following this link. There is information about many ways to donate here.

If you would like to donate to the Katie Gerstenberger Endowment for Cancer Research at Seattle Children's Hospital, click this link
 or mail a check to: 
Katie Gerstenberger Endowment
c/o Seattle Children's Hospital Foundation
PO Box 50020 / S - 200
Seattle, WA 98145-5020

Thank you for asking!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Why Blankets?

Why was Katie's Comforters Guild created to make blankets, instead of raising money to buy blankets?

A store-bought blanket is a nice gift. But the gift of a homemade blanket, with all of the care, love and intention that goes into it, can have a profoundly comforting effect on a person who is in the hospital.

Many patients at Seattle Children's Hospital don't know they are going to be checking in to stay, when they arrive there. Some come in through the Emergency Department, as Katie did; some are airlifted to the hospital. Some are simply coming in for tests, but then a problem is discovered, and they are unable to go home and get items that are comforting and familiar to them. By grace, Katie had thought to bring her quilt from home with her the day we were sent in for tests!
Katie used her quilt as:

*a reminder of home (this photo is during her first round of chemo, in the ICU, with Nurse Heather);

*a tent, to hide under, and sometimes to feign sleep with;

(here she is a few weeks later, checking her email on the SCCA ward)

*a mask, to block smells that bothered her;

her quilt is barely visible --under the big pink and purple fleece blanket from a friend -- in this photo with David and two of the Seattle Seahawks, but it's there!)

*a lap blanket, to warm her legs when in the car or a wheelchair;

*a wrap, like a pashmina, to keep her upper body warm;

*a blinder, to avoid sights she disliked (such as hypodermic needles);

*a bathrobe, over her pjs (this is David, Katie and Nurse April, helping Katie to walk after her surgery);

*a distraction, studying its pattern (the state flowers of the U.S.A.), instead of watching procedures

*a comforter (here she is on the surgery ward, almost ready to go home, nearly 6 weeks after her 18-hours-long surgery).

I'm sure there are lots more possible uses than these. Kids are creative!

Thank you for your interest in Katie's Comforters Guild. Please spread the word!

Where to Deliver Your Blankets

Where do the blankets go once they are made?
To the Volunteer Office at Seattle Children's Hospital. The Volunteer Office is located on the ground floor of the Janet Sinegal Building, accessed by the Giraffe Entrance. Detailed driving directions to the hospital, a map and parking information can be found HERE.

Briefly:  when you turn from Sand Point Way into the driveway of Seattle Children's Hospital, you will start uphill. Take the first right-hand turn, following the drive to a turn-around. There is a large covered area in front of the automatic doors. Go through those doors, and use the hand sanitizer as soon as you are inside, please! *
To your left you will see a "welcome" desk, where you will need to check in, and tell the Greeters why you are visiting. They will direct you to the Volunteer Office, which is also on the left, just past the Greeters' Desk.

Once inside the Volunteer Office, you will be greeted warmly (and your blankets will very likely be complimented!). They will offer you a form to fill out (for your tax-deduction purposes), and they will want to know the name of our Guild. You may leave the blankets with them for distribution to the area of greatest need in the hospital. You have just contributed to the comfort and encouragement of a child, and a family, in a time of great need. Thank you!

Volunteer Office Hours

Monday to Thursday: 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Friday: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Saturday: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Sunday: Closed
Phone: 206-987-2155
Please remember: Due to infection control issues, we are only able to give our patients newly purchased/made items. No used (or hand-me-down) blankets, please!

If you cannot get to the hospital in person, you are welcome to mail the blankets to the Volunteer Office, or contact me, and I will try to help you coordinate pick-up and delivery.

*NOTE: If you prefer to park your car and walk in, the Giraffe Parking Garage is a bit further up the driveway, on the left side. If it is a very busy day at the hospital, and you can't find a spot to park in the Giraffe lot, you may drive further up the driveway to the Whale Entrance, and park in the lot there. The Greeter at the desk at the Whale Entrance can give you directions to the Volunteer Office from there. This route involves a longer walk, as well as an elevator trip.
In a pinch, you may telephone the visitors office, and they can send someone out to the Giraffe Entrance turn-around to take the quilts from you.