Handmade Blankets Keep Patients Warm - NECN


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Handmade Blankets Keep Patients Warm



    Diane Donnellan is helping patients at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital by providing handmade blankets. (Published Wednesday, Dec. 21, 2016)

    At Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital in Boston's Charlestown neighborhood, one woman is bringing a car load of love and healing, one blanket at a time.

    Diane Donnellan sent out 47 handmade afghans Wednesday, delivering them to patients like Yvonne D'Souza.

    "I wish to thank you on behalf of all of us who get this," D'Souza said.

    Most of these beauties are personally crocheted by Donnellan in her Newton living room, with the help of a small group of volunteers adding their own personal touch to each one.

    "It just makes me feel really good," Donnellan said.

    A few years ago, after her retirement, Donnellan began working with a handful of women, making blankets for people hurt during the Boston Marathon bombings.

    "Because everybody had left the rehab, it wasn't needed anymore," she said.

    But Spaulding Chaplain Joan Horgan wanted the program to continue.

    "We also take them to patients at the other Spaulding hospitals," Horgan said.

    Donnellan says she couldn't say no. So she started her own charity called Hugcrafters, doing the same thing. However, all the work and demand is now starting to pile up in her house.

    And the reality is, it takes resources. Donnellan's already spent thousands of dollars out of her own pocket. That's why former Massachusetts Congressman Bill Delahunt is trying to help.

    "I want others to experience what I felt, your shawl around my shoulders," he said.

    Earlier this year, Delahunt recovered at Spaulding after a bout with bacterial pneumonia. He got one of her creations. Now he's trying to help raise money and grow a network of volunteers across New England.

    "Let's see if that money can buy a lot of yarn," he said.

    If you'd like to volunteer, you can reach Donnellan via email at dianedonnellan@gmail.com, by phone at (617) 527-7000, or at Hugcrafters' Facebook page.

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