Volunteer Spirit: Teen delivers "Blessings through a Blankie"

Friends and family joined Abby Ridenour as she unloaded five months of passion into the hands and hearts of young patients at East Tennessee Children's Hospital.

A mom of a patient hugged Abby and said, "He (her son) has to have a biopsy this morning and he is really nervous, so a gift just took the edge off him this morning."

They handed out blankets,100 of them to kids at ETCH. Abby had been making them since October, with her mother's stage four melanoma in mind.

"When my mom got cancer it takes a toll on you and you want to do something when someone so close to you has come down with such an illness. One night i was making her a blanket and it hit me i wanted to make them for children who had it," says Abby.

Abby's mom Lisa Ridenour says, "It helps me because I watch it help her. It's her therapy. When she is involved helping others, she takes the focus off the family dynamics and the whole cancer word in general."

The plan was to hand out blankets in the oncology and hematology department, which Abby did. But she couldn't resist the faces along the way.

Abby says, "They were overjoyed to get them. They're smiles just, they make you want to tear up, but at the same time you don't want op tear up, it's not a sad situation. You want to make them happy and bring them comfort and that's what the blankets are all about."

Her project turned into a charity "Blessings through a Blankie."
Abby collected donations through a facebook page and even tossed in 250 dollars of her own.

She says, "Instead of using all of the feelings I have to be mad or upset that she has cancer, I would rather be helpful and be able to help someone else who has it and, to use the feelings that I have to make a child feel good."

Abby's already got her mind set on her next project, The Ronald McDonald House, to help kids who are indirectly affected by cancer.


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