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Project Warmth ‘Blanket Ladies’ Needs Your Help

The women who participate in the North Shore Senior Center program crochet blankets for chemotherapy patients; the group is working to raise funds by June 30 to keep a matching donor grant.

A group of North Shore women who crochet blankets for chemotherapy patients have two weeks to match a $5,000 grant to help continue to fund the ‘Project Warmth’ program.

The grant, given by an anonymous donor, must be matched in order for the program to receive the funds.

The "Blanket Ladies" initiative was started three years ago by former Wilmette resident Ruth Silverman.

“Ruth was the guiding force who gathered steam to grow this program, she herself was a cancer survivor,” said Kathleen Geraghty, senior communications specialist at the North Shore Senior Center.

Geraghty said the blankets are given to people undergoing chemotherapy because one of the side-effects is that patients often feel cold while they are being treated.

“The blankets are created to fit over the shoulders. They are just the right size for these patients to wrap them around themselves and give them warmth during difficult treatments,” Geraghty said.

The blankets are uniquely created for each person they are given to, based on hobbies, tastes and personalities.

“For a little boy who loves sports, these ladies will hand embroider soccer balls or footballs on the blanket. For artists they may be embellished with a palette. They are truly personalized with color and patterns to help raise the spirits of these patients," Geraghty said.  

Project Warmth currently works with University of Chicago Hospital and the Kellogg Cancer Treatment Centers in Glenbrook, Evanston and Highland Park Hospitals.

Assistance being sought is twofold; the group is seeking donations to match the grant being offered to them, or you could volunteer to help crochet more blankets to increase the program’s reach. 

Participants in the Share the Warmth program hail from Winnetka, Glencoe, Wilmette, Niles, Morton Grove, Glenview, Northbrook, Deerfield and Highland Park.

The Blanket Ladies, as they call themselves, are more than willing to teach those who would like to participate how to crochet if they don’t know already. 

Individuals who prefer to be at home can be provided with both instruction and materials to help create the blankets as well.

Corporate sponsorships to help grow the program also are being sought.

“All of our volunteers are so dedicated to this project-and they are doing something very special for people who will benefit from their warmth,” Gareghty said.

The Blanket Ladies gather together to knit, crochet and visit at the North Shore Senior Center in Northfield on Fridays from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. 

For those who require transportation, the Pace Bus has a stop right outside the front door.

For more information on how to get involved, contact Kathryn McDonnell, director of development and marketing at the North Shore Senior Center, at (847) 784-6057 or kmcdonnell@nssc.org.

Donations can be made to Share the Warmth--North Shore Senior Center, 161 Northfield Road, Northfield IL 60093.

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