It is hard to believe that this is our FIFTH year making no sew fleece blankets. This is always such a special event for us because the idea that inspired the idea for KindCraft came when two moms decided to make blankets and bring them to children at the hospital for the holidays. Check out this picture from the event that inspired the idea behind this "kindness club" our kids wanted to start.
And here we are, five years later, still tying blankets together! We moved from the cafeteria to the gym, and still had over 20 families on a waiting list hoping for a spot to join us! Our community is amazing!
This year, we chose to partner with The Brayden Garrett Burn Foundation. One of the foundation's board members is a KindCraft member that moved to the Nashville area. Marion Millan and her family used to participate in our monthly events when they lived in Kansas. They have participated from Tennessee in any way they can, so when she reached out to our President, Courtney Smith, asking if some of our blankets could go to The Brayden Garrett Foundations, we knew we wanted to spread some KindCraft love her way.
So who is Brayden Garrett?
Brayden Garrett is a 19 year old who lives in Murfreesboro, Tennessee with his dad and siblings. On November 16, 2018, Brayden was in a single car accident where he lost control of his car and collided with a guardrail. His car caught fire and was engulfed in flames and rolled down an embankment. Two men pulled Brayden from the burning car and placed him a safe area.
He sustained burns over 85% of his body and has had multiple amputations. He has had 34 surgeries and over 350 hours of sedation. Brayden was transferred to Shriners Hospitals for Children - Houston, Texas, where he went through rigorous physical therapy treatment. Currently, as of November 2019, Brayden continues to travel back and forth to Shriners Hospitals for Children. He has several more surgeries ahead of him.
The mission of the Brayden Garrett Burn Foundation is to provide a variety of services to individuals and families, who like Brayden have been affected by life altering traumatic burn injuries. The Foundation serves kids throughout the United States, by providing sponsorship's for burn camps, fleece blankets, care-packages for families with extended stays in the hospital and support groups.
Marion Millan and her two children drove down from Tennessee for our December event to be able to teach children about the foundation. At KindCraft, we believe a key part of building empathy and compassion for others, is seeing real life needs in the community and presenting them in a way that children can understand and know who they are helping. Hearing Marion talk about Brayden, seeing her emotions about his situation, and learning of ways they can provide comfort to burn victims is all part of the learning experience that helps to build a compassionate community. We had several families ask if they could drop off their blankets they made at home and just come for the beginning presentation so their kids could hear who we are helping. YES was our response because this is where the real learning takes place!
Here are a few pictures from the event (want to see more? Scroll to the bottom!)
Not only did we have nearly 200 people participating at Sunnyside, but many families who couldn't attend the event chose to do their blankets on their own. Here are a few pictures of blankets that were made prior to the event at home.
We even had the Prairie Trail Middle School Choir and Theater classes make blankets! Led by their amazing choir teacher, Erin Stubenrauch, and theater teacher, Dana Hess Davis, the students worked in groups throughout the day to make ALL THESE COZY blankets. They did such a great job on their blankets. Check out this slideshow of ALL the blankets they made!
We knew we were going to end up with so many blankets so we decided to share some of the blankets locally to the University of Kansas Medical Center. Bright and early the following morning, Courtney Smith, Marion Millan, and her children drove down to KU Med Center. The staff was so thankful and even helped us obtain a parking spot right up front so we could unload quickly and safely.
We met the KINDEST parking attendant ever, named Joseph (pictured in red below). Joseph made sure we had a great spot to unload and told us not to worry a bit about our cars. He listened to our story of blankets and who we were donating too and was a burn victim himself. He had a smile and a kind word for every single person that walked through those doors. Marion Millan's kids were a great help and had fun pushing our "wheelchair blankets" :) Next stop-the burn and wound care unit on the fifth floor!
We entered the burn unit and were immediately greeted with hugs and smiles of appreciation from the burn unit staff at University of Kansas Medical Center. They were overwhelmed with the number of blankets we delivered (and those were just the "extras" leftover from what isn't going to Tennessee!). We shared stories of making the blankets, how the blanket event all started, all about Brayden Garrett and the foundation. Tears were flowing, and lots and lots of hugs given. The nurses and doctors were so thankful and couldn't get over the fun patterns and how soft the blankets were!
While chatting with the staff at University of Kansas Medical Center burn unit, we learned of a boy currently on the burn unit floor who is "obsessed" with The Kansas City Chiefs ❤️💛. We dug through the three giant bags of blankets that we had pulled to donate to KU Medical Center but couldn't find a Chiefs one. We knew we had seen that someone had made a Chiefs blankets but we weren't sure of exactly where that blanket ended up.
We said our goodbyes to the staff, but while transferring blankets to Marion Millan's car to head to Tennessee, her son discovered this blanket at the very bottom of the pile. We went back up to the fifth floor with a feeling of excitement knowing this blanket will be very special for a boy who is in the hospital due to a traumatic burn. Pictured below is the blanket that we found!!
THIS IS WHY WE DO WHAT WE DO!!!!
The staff was so excited that we had found a Chiefs blanket for this special boy. Our hearts were full knowing that we would bring a smile to one burn victim's face.
We say it all the time (because it's true!) KINDNESS IS CONTAGIOUS!! A group from Building Better Moms in Silver Lake, Kansas decided to host blanket event on GivingTuesday.
Led by a GivingTuesdayKids project from the daughter of BBM's leader Gena Rossow, they made 10 no sew fleece blankets!
"In a world that wants you to believe that darkness and despair is winning, it was awesome to see everyone working together toward hope and compassionate care of others!" We couldn't agree more Gena!!!
Our fifth annual no sew fleece blanket event was sponsored by Kelly Sue Robinson and Grace Thru Faith. GTF has incredibly cute, high quality clothes. Thank you for your continued support of KindCraft!!
Thank you to ALL who helped make our 5th annual blanket event a huge success this year!
Here are ALL of the pictures from the event! Please feel free to share this blog with your friends and family in an effort to help us spread more kindness!!