Monday, 12 August 2013

Project Linus - can you help?

As you might have recently read, Dollop broke her leg. It's been about a month now and she's having the cast off (all being well) this week. Phew.

It's been a relatively easy ride to be honest. We've been mindful of things that might be uncomfortable for her, and avoided them where we could. We were told that she could walk with the plaster cast on if she felt able to, and they gave us a special shoe to strap on it. And she started walking on it within 24 hours of the full cast going on!
We were warned that walking with the cast would tire her out, but the buggy wouldn't be suitable because it doesn't support enough of her leg. So we borrowed a children's wheelchair from the local Red Cross. We were also warned that long car journeys would be difficult for her, again because there wasn't enough support for her leg, and leg room was limited. Mini's missed out on a fair bit because of these restrictions, so we did a one-off trip last week with a long journey, and although she had an amazing time at the theme park, we could see the impact of the journey on Dollop, and we're thankful that life will return back to normal for her at the end of this week. She'll be able to have a bath which she is longing for.

The night of the accident, I tweeted for ideas on how to keep a 3 year old immobile child amused. I got a few retweets, and a few ideas, and I was also approached by someone from Project Linus, offering to send a quilt for Dollop. Slightly suspicious at the kindness of this stranger, I immediately looked up Project Linus and was amazed to find this incredible international organisation that collects quilts and blankets from a network of volunteers, and then they donate them to children who are ill, disabled or have experienced trauma. And they thought that Dollop could make use of one.

Despite the heat, I felt that Dollop would really appreciate the comfort of a special quilt, so gratefully accepted and within a week a beautiful quilt had arrived - we've used it to line her (rather scratchy) wheelchair, she's had it on her bed, she's traced the lines on it with her fingers which has kept her occupied, she's used it as a picnic blanket for her teddies, she's covered her cast in it so as not to scratch her good leg (the plaster is rather rough and abrasive - she's got battle wounds!) and she loves it. It's provided so much comfort.

 I was so grateful (despite my initial suspicions) that someone would do this for Dollop that I offered to write this post to highlight the work that Project Linus do. I know of at least one person, that as a result of seeing me tweet about the organisation has offered to volunteer her services and if more people can make and donate quilts, then more children will feel safe, secure and comfortable. A blanket won't fix the problem, but it can provide that bit of comfort. And as they say on their site:

"It may not seem much, but when you’re away from home in a hospital bed being poked and prodded by medical staff it’s the little home comforts which often bring the most relief to patients. For a young person being given a gift like a quilt to treasure can bring a smile to their face in spite of their pain and discomfort. For the parents of children who spend much of their time unwell, knowing that someone else is thinking of your child can be a comfort and additional source of emotional support."

I've been so grateful, as has Dollop, and I can see the benefit of a quilt for children who have experienced other traumas or have other illnesses. Indeed with Mini's background, I was pleased to see that quilts and blankets are donated to foster carers, care-leavers, and social services to distribute to children in care, as well as through children's wards, neo-natal units, renal units, hospices, visually impaired children, special schools, respite homes, refugee centres and various organisations who work with children.

Project Linus started in America, but now there is a UK network too. And over the years some 2000 quilts have been donated to children in the UK.
If you think you could help, please please get in touch with your local co-ordinator. There are volunteers across the country. And even if you can't make a quilt, perhaps you could donate fabric or help with the administration. You might even know someone who would benefit from a quilt, and if you do, then get in touch.

Disclaimer: Dollop was sent a blanket (it's double sided which is why the pics are different) for free, this was for her because of her accident. By way of a thank you I've written this post to help highlight Project Linus and their work.


  1. hello i have high fucniong autism and adhd im at a special autism specifc boarding school and and they started two years ago giving us blankets for the induviul student it was amazing hope she feels better soon : )

  2. LOVE this idea! Lucky Dollop, I can imagine how reassuring one of these blankets would be. My nana-in-law gave me an antique sewing machine for Christmas and a book on quilting (actually beginners quilting for children... but we'll let that slide for now!) so maybe it's time I started using it!

    Jane x