Donations for blankets help wrap the holidays for small patients

Sometimes all a child needs is a warm blanket to make him feel comfortable and safe. Child Life Specialist Deanna Davis said blankets can calm scared children and make a dreary hospital room feel a bit more like home.

Blankets help the tiniest patients in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) as well as toddlers, preschoolers and older children. In this season of giving, your generosity can provide even more gifts of comfort and joy. To learn how you can help hospitalized children and their families, please visit carle.org/giving.

One comforting occasion stands out to Davis.

“We delivered a puppy blanket to a child who was pretty homesick, missing his own dog. When the child saw the blanket, he perked up,” she said.

A hospital chaplain delivered such a pick-me-up to Jackie Hines, Savoy, new mom had just given birth to Nolan and Oliver, twins born one monthly early, 10 days after Christmas, at 4.5 pounds.

“This was the first gift since the babies were born, and it really stood out. It was a jolt back to reality for me that everything was going to be all right,” Hines said.

The first-time mom said her boys’ arrival didn’t go as planned. She struggled with high blood pressure, and Nolan needed emergency surgery.

“Not being able to hold him was tough,” she said.

Then the donated blankets arrived, and things started to improve. They were handmade, gentle and warmed up the hospital setting.

Nolan’s parents realized the hospital stay was temporary and soon both boys would be rolling around on the blankets at home.

“The babies have made good use of the blankets. There has been a lot of tummy time. They had the perfect amount of cushion,” Hines said.

The blankets are supported by donations to the Carle Center for Philanthropy to ensure every child admitted to Carle is provided with a sense of security to help them heal.

When you support young patients by providing donations to purchase a cozy blanket, you help ensure they have the emotional support during their hospital stay.

 “It’s a great way for a child to remember their hospital stay positively,” Davis said.

Nearly a year later, the Hines family remembers these gifts while they celebrate the holiday season with milestones like crawling and pulling up.

“Oliver is a spitfire. He’s spirited and opinionated. He looks like Dad but acts like me,” Hines said.

He has figured out how to open the baby gate providing valuable playtime in the dog’s bed or water dish. Nolan, the twin with special medical needs, is more laid back.He loves chasing his brother around the house and singing in the car.

“It’s amazing to watch them develop. They are so smart. They watch us closely and imitate everything,” said Hines, adding the twins are doing better than expected, and she’s eager to hear them say “mama.”