Fugett students make blankets for cancer patients

This article can be found published on the Daily Local News‘ website.
Volunteers from Fugett Middle School make 65 fleece blankets for the nonprofit Cozies 4 Chemo Monday afternoon. (Tracey Dukert)

Volunteers from Fugett Middle School make 65 fleece blankets for the nonprofit Cozies 4 Chemo Monday afternoon. (Tracey Dukert)

WEST GOSHEN — Since 2012, Cozies 4 Chemo has been donating hand-tied fleece blankets to cancer patients throughout the United States and, recently, to Canada as well.

Started by Meghan Vizzard when she was 12, Cozies 4 Chemo has grown into a nonprofit and spread to Fugett Middle School in West Chester.

Erin Sola, the seventh and eighth grade Spanish teacher and World Language Department Chair at Fugett knew Meghan through a friend’s friend.

“Through my good friend, that’s how I met Meghan and Meghan’s mom and it went hand-in-hand with what I already do,” Sola said.

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Sola was already fundraising for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society through marathons, triathlons and cycling.

Once she heard about Cozies 4 Chemo, it was a no-brainer for her help out with.

“It’s more tangible and something you can actually see,” Sola said. “I thought this was a great idea for kids. I teach and a lot of them need community service hours, so why not get them involved?”

Sola held the first Cozies 4 Chemo event at Fugett last year, where the student and adult volunteers made 33 blankets.

“I throw an announcement up on the morning announcements and said if anyone wants to help, they can come on down,” she said.

This year, even more came out for the event and Sola was given more donations to buy more fleece.

“People have given money and gift cards and our PTO donated money, our student council donated money and students even brought in their own fleece,” Sola said. “They didn’t have to do that. I then went out and had a heyday at Joanne’s Fabrics and had about three carts worth of fleece.”

The volunteers took the fleece and cut two 2-yard pieces. Using a cardboard template, a 4-inch by 4-inch square is cut out of each corner of the blanket pieces and then strips are cut around the sides.

The volunteers then take a strip from the top blanket layer and one from the bottom layer and double-knot them together.

“This year, we had enough fabric to make 65 blankets, which is really awesome,” Sola said.

Teachers, aids, students and even Sola’s parents came out for the event after school on Monday for about two-and-a-half hours, totaling around 45 volunteers.

“I’ll meet up with Meghan’s mom and do a blanket exchange,” Sola said. “What they do is box (the blankets) up and put a little note in there saying something nice to whoever is receiving the blanket. All those (shipping) charges is also what Cozies 4 Chemo does. They basically count on these premade blankets or donations.”

Only 64 of the blankets are going to be part of the exchange, though, as one that was made was set aside for a Fugett parent.

“We have one kid who came today whose mother is undergoing chemo,” Sola said. “He had emailed and asked if he could take one home with him, so I made sure he had the paper and (wrapping) so she could get the full effect.”

With the success and growing popularity of having a Cozies 4 Chemo event, Sola intends to keep hosting it at Fugett for the foreseeable future.

“The kids were so great and excited,” she said. “At Fugett in general, we have great kids, and when you do something like this, those extra, extra great kids turn up. We also worked with the learning support kids since it’s an easy thing for them to do with tying and the other regular education kids get to spend time with them. That’s even more heartwarming. It’s fun to see them do that.”

If anyone is interested in finding out how to donate money, fleece or finished blankets to Cozies 4 Chemo, or if you know someone who should receive a blanket, visit www.cozies4chemo.org.


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Categories: Community, Education

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