Friday, September 24, 2010

Heartwarming Response to Our Letter

In response to our Guild's annual wrap-up letter (see the post below this one), I received two heartwarming and  encouraging notes from a mother (Mary) and daughter (Briana) who are both members of our Guild. With their permission, I am sharing them here.

Mary sent this letter:
Dear Karen-

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!

With sincere thanks,
Mary (& Briana) R.
Well, you can imagine how that letter made my day. But - wait, there's is Briana's letter to the editors of our local newspapers:
Dear Editor,

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 .

Thank you for your time and thanks for listening to my story. I really appreciate it.

Briana R.
Thank you, Mary & Briana,
for your support of Katie's Comforters Guild,
and for sharing your story with your (& our) community!

It's That Time of Year...

...for renewing your Guild membership. You will be hearing from the Guild Association, as each year they send out membership dues renewals for the new fiscal year on October 1 (and reminders in January and March).

Meanwhile, I've sent a letter to all of our members:
Dear Katie’s Comforters Guild Members,

Our first year has been a great success, and it is thanks to you and your efforts! THANK YOU, each one of you, for helping to bring comfort to patients at Seattle Children’s Hospital. Whether you sewed, knitted, crocheted, assembled fleece blankets, purchased or donated materials or gift cards, or told your friends and family about us, you made a difference in the life of a sick child.

We donated more than 215 blankets this year, and we grew to 50 members! That was our first year; imagine what we can do next year!

Here are some ideas for next year:

-gather new, unused fabric from donors (fabric shops, retiring quilters, etc.)

-be on the lookout for fabric sales

-have a blanket-making party & make fleece blankets, or host a sewing circle or knitting/crocheting circle at your house, sewing or yarn shop (it’s even more fun if you can share food and beverages)

-tell your local newspaper about us – give an interview or write a letter to the editor.

-Hand out our cards to friends and acquaintances.

-tell your facebook friends about us – we have a page now, in addition to our blog

-set a personal goal to sew, knit, crochet or make (choose a number) fleece blankets this year

-take photos of any blankets you make for the guild to donate & send them to me – I’ll post them on the blog and facebook!

-order your Jo-Ann Stores discount card at or by calling 877-604-2280.

-help us sew an art quilt for auction (to raise funds for our guild) – if you’d like to do this, please contact me!

-share your ideas on our blog at

In case you don’t know, September is Pediatric Cancer Awareness month, and there is a lot of activity around the country to raise awareness and funds for research. This spring, our guild was invited to become part of the Seattle Children’s Cancer Advocacy Network, or Seattle Kids C.A.N., a group of Seattle Children’s Hospital Guilds that support cancer research. We are helping to raise funds by placing donation cans in businesses in our area. If you would like to join in the efforts of this group, please email me at , or write to me on our blog and I will share the information that I have with you.

Seattle Children’s Hospital has great good news: Dr. Mike Jensen, a pioneer researcher in immunology, has joined Seattle Children’s Research Institute to lead the new Center for Childhood Cancer. He is doing amazing work with the immune system that has potential to change the way we treat cancer for the better! You can see a video of Dr. Jensen explaining his work at (at his former hospital, City of Hope – I hope to see a new, Seattle Children’s Hospital video soon).

I think that’s all the news, for now. Please check our blog for updates and feel free to contact me if you have ideas, suggestions or questions. Thank you again for all you do to make Katie’s Comforters Guild a success!

Blessings to you,

Karen (your President)

I'm thankful for each one of you members and friends of our Guild.

Monday, September 13, 2010

A Variety of Donations, and Our 1st Year Anniversary

We have been blessed with a variety of donations. Every kind of donation helps us to accomplish our mission!
Supplies for quilt-making were donated by Ellie B. (my mom). Thank you, Mom!
Forty-one quilts, sewed by Lucile N. (she sews an average of one quilt a day!) - there were so many that I didn't take them out of the bags, since I wasn't sure I could pack them all back in as well as Lucile & Noble had done. Thank you, Lucile & Noble!
A beautiful fleece blanket, made by Katie's friend Courtney. It was wonderful to see her and her sister today when they stopped by to deliver the blanket. Thank you, Courtney!
At the end of our first year,
Katie's Comforters Guild now has
50 members!
We have donated over 215 blankets to Seattle Children's Hospital this year.
Thank you
to everyone who has helped to make this possible.
I'm looking forward to seeing what we can accomplish in our 2nd year!
I have lots of ideas percolating...