Mary sent this letter:
My daughter, Briana, and I each received our own copy of your wonderful letter to the guild members yesterday. (Thank you for sending Briana one of her own.) We are very excited about the great things that are happening in the guild. 215 blankets—WOW! Right away, Briana went to the computer and composed a letter to the editors of the Sun and the Herald newspapers. I hope she won’t mind that I am attaching a copy here for you to read, but I am just so very proud of her and I also wanted you to know what an inspiration YOU are! I am off to mail her letters once I sign off here so hopefully, you will see it in the papers soon. (You get a sneak peek!:))
I also thought it was quite coincidental that my goals for this month mirror some of the same ideas you suggested in your letter. (Great minds think alike?) Our son got married this last summer in Eastern WA, so my head (and everything else) was in a tail spin for most of the 12 months prior, so, sadly, I didn’t get any blankets donated as planned. To counter that disappointment, I set myself a goal at the beginning of September; here’s how I put it in a letter to my sister-in-law…
"Well, Briana and I joined the guild last year, and I am ashamed to say that we didn’t follow through on our good intentions of making blankets during that time. So my birthday wish for myself is to complete 5 fleece blankets during this month for the cause. (Actually, I started out with my imaginary friend on my right shoulder saying, 'Let’s make 50 blankets this coming year to celebrate your 50 years!' To which the imaginary friend on my left shoulder countered, 'Get real! You have another wedding to plan this year, you silly woman!' So in an ever constant effort to keep all my imaginary friends happy (is it normal to have imaginary friends at my age???) and to keep my sanity, the real Mary said to self, 'OK. Let’s compromise and make the goal 5 blankets for this September before things really get chaotic for the wedding. Anything over and beyond that during the year will be “frosting on the cake” so to speak.') "
So unabashedly, I have invited any family and friends to join in my mission and instead of giving me gifts, I have had them all around the table tying blanket knots while we visit and enjoy each other’s company with the promised reward of refreshments following. I have been enjoying it immensely. So far, I have two blankets completed, plus one that is almost done but may not work because it is shedding like crazy. I think I bought the wrong kind of fabric for that one. Ooops! But I still plan to reach my goal. And as you can guess, Briana is a BIG part of this goal in enthusiasm, helpful hands, and genuine kind-heartedness. She inspires me!
So, Karen, please read Briana’s letter that I have attached and know that you are doing wonderful things not only for the kids at Seattle’s Children’s Hospital, but for those of us in the guild in letting us share in this most worthy mission. It brings us together and gives us all a joyful heart. Now I am off to the post office and Joann’s. Have a great day!Well, you can imagine how that letter made my day. But - wait, there's more...here is Briana's letter to the editors of our local newspapers:
With sincere thanks,
Mary (& Briana) R.
My name is Briana R.; I am 11 years old and in the 6th grade. I go to school at P. Middle School. My mom and I are guild members of Katie’s Comforters. We make quilts and blankets for the kids at the Seattle Children’s Hospital. The guild is run by Karen Gerstenberger. Karen’s daughter, Katie, was treated for cancer at the children’s hospital in 2006-7 and she died when she was around 12 years old. She used a quilt her mother made for her to do things like distract her during procedures, cover her nose when something smelled bad, and most importantly it was a comfort. When Katie died, her mother found comfort in making quilts and started a group to donate them to kids at the hospital.
This year, the group made more than 215 blankets and grew in numbers to an amazing 50 members. The group has only been going for a year but it has made a huge difference in kid’s lives and I am proud to be a part of it. When my mom and I make a blanket, I always know that we have brightened one more kid’s day in the world just by showing I care. Besides the physical uses of the blanket, I think it gives them the feeling that someone cares about them and they care enough to put time, effort, and money into making something for them. This gives them hope, happiness, strength and courage to keep moving and enjoy life and its gifts. It’s so cool that so many people do this and that every blanket is different! Some are crocheted, some are sewn, and some are knitted. The ones my mom and I make are assembled from polar fleece.
My hope is, that in reading this letter, we can get even more people to make comforters or donate new fabric to our guild for the kids at the Seattle Children’s Hospital. Anyone who wants to learn more can visit the blog or check us out on Facebook. Our blog is http://www.katiescomfortersguild.blogspot.com/ .
Thank you for your time and thanks for listening to my story. I really appreciate it.
Thank you, Mary & Briana,
for your support of Katie's Comforters Guild,
and for sharing your story with your (& our) community!