Via Cindy McLaughlin, Community Relations Liaison of Hospice Care of South Carolina (HCSC):
Originally published in the Georgetown Times, Friday, August 31, 2012, page 6A, as part of the Hearts That Care column. The following is an excerpt.
By most accounts, David is a typical 8-year-old boy. He’s bashful but expressive. He loves swimming and water parks. His favorite class in school is PE. He takes karate and has earned a purple belt; his goal is to one day be a black belt. Sound familiar? But not-so-typical of other boys his age, David has another pursuit. An extraordinary one. One with a purpose.
Blankets of Hope
It was last year, at the age of 7, when David learned about Lilly, a local 6-year-old girl who was diagnosed with leukemia. David and his mom agreed that hospitals can be a very scary place for children. If she just had something to take with her, it might help ease her fears. Together, they decided to make a soft, snuggly fleece blanket, in a pretty design, just right for a little girl. They searched until they found the perfect material, something Lilly would love. Then they made the first of what would become known as David’s Blankets of Hope.
Once Lilly’s blanket was complete, David earnestly said to his mother, “I think all kids who are sick would like a blanket, Mom.” How can you say “No” to that? Well, you can’t.
100 Blankets by the End of the Year
It takes David 1-2 hours to painstakingly create his blankets. The fleece is selected especially for the child who will receive it, uniquely chosen to reflect their favorite color and characters. There’s Spiderman and Transformers, Disney Princesses and Winnie the Pooh, flowers, puppies, blue waves, and tractors; David makes sure he finds the perfect design for his kids. He includes a poem in a hand colored gift bag, encouraging the little girl or boy to take the blanket “anywhere you go, and remember the love that made it so.”
In the beginning, all materials and supplies to make the blankets were purchased by David’s parents. But as they received word from more and more ailing children, paying for the fleece became increasingly costly. In the time since Lilly’s blanket was delivered to her, a website has been created (http://davidshope.weebly.com), the David’s Blankets of Hope Facebook page has 190 “Likes,” fundraising events have been held, and David’s classmates at Palmetto Academy of Learning and Success even pitched in to help decorate gift bags. A fall crafts fair to help raise money is also in the works for this caring and compassionate boy.
At first, David didn’t realize just how many children in South Carolina are facing serious illness. It’s something most kids his age never think about: how grateful he is to be well, and how earnestly he wants to help those who aren’t. It was earlier this summer, when David and his mom learned of the pediatric hospice provider Hands of Hope, that the flood of requests for blankets really began.
David decided he wanted to set a goal of making 100 blankets by the end of the year. That’s impressive for an eager young man, especially one busy with school, karate, and just being an 8-year-old boy. But in case you aren’t convinced, this isn’t your average 8-year-old. This is a child who understands it is through giving that we receive the greatest blessings.
Hands of Hope, a Division of HCSC
Through the help of the local hospice staff at HCSC’s Hands of Hope, David is now able to reach out to children who are ill statewide. Requests for blankets keep pouring in from these brave young fighters, and David diligently responds with a soft, warm Blanket of Hope.
Hands of Hope proudly offers comprehensive and compassionate care for infants, children, and adolescents, along with their families, living with life-threatening conditions. For more information, please call 877-747-6562.
How can you help David?
For a little boy whose mission is to bring comfort to terminally ill and ailing kids, the outpouring has been tremendous, but more supplies are needed if he is to reach his goal of 100 blankets for 100 sick children in 2012.
David’s Blankets of Hope is in the process of acquiring 501(c)3 status, but as you may know, that can take some time. Please visit David’s Blankets of Hope to see the list of names of kids he has helped, prayer requests, and plenty of opportunities to contribute to his amazing effort. And for updates on his progress toward making 100 blankets, “Like” David’s Blankets of Hope on Facebook.