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Front Page » December 9, 2010 » Focus » A gift sew nice for Burn Center patients
Published 1,229 days ago

A gift sew nice for Burn Center patients


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By KEVIN SCANNELL
Sun Advocate reporter

A little bit of hope.

A beaming smile.

A few moments where the pain subsides and comfort arrives.

And the thought of knowing that other people are doing what they can to help and want to make things as comfortable as possible.

Those are just a couple of the reasons many members in the community are banding together to help create quilts for patients at the University of Utah Burn Center.

This is nothing new for many of the wives in the fire department auxiliary who have been helping make quilts for the Burn Center for many years. Originally the wives from the auxiliary would help support the fire department by helping out where they could such as making dinner especially for those late night calls responding to an emergency.

But over the years the auxiliary members started working on other projects, including one that focused on making quilts for the Burn Center. For some members working for such a cause makes all of the work needed to make a quilt that much easier.

"We just want to help them (patients) forget about their problems for awhile," said Diane Carlson, auxiliary president.

Visiting the Burn Center

Rita Dunn, quilting chairman, has visited the Burn Center three times and each time it gets harder and harder to see what many of the patients have to go through on a daily basis. Many of the patients she came across while visiting happened to be young children.

Dunn remembers one patient in particular, a young girl. The girl's body was covered with burns from head to toe, with Dunn estimating she had 90 to 95 percent of her body burned. The only exposed part of the young girl was from the holes that were created to allow her to see with her eyes.

"It was heart wrenching to see," said Dunn.

Because the wounds need to be taken care of on a daily basis, dressings and blankets are changed every day to help keep the wounds clean and prevent infection from spreading.

"It's amazing that they have to go through that each and every day," said Carlson.

With the quilts, Carlson and Dunn see a way others in the community can help out patients at the Burn Center. Because so many quilts are needed, a room at the Burn Center is filled to the brim with quilts made by people from all over the community. And they all get put to use, Dunn said.

"They really go through a lot of quilts every day," she said.

In addition to quilts being made, donations are also being accepted to help out the Burn Center in many other ways. Everything from toys, puzzles, books and much more are bought to help patients focus less on the pain and more on feeling good.

"We try to get anything that would help get their minds off of their current situation," said Dunn.

Having experienced visiting the Burn Center on more than one occasion over the past few years, Dunn said that people should visit the center to get a better understanding of how the patients' lives are affected by the burns they have. Knowing what each and every patient goes though on a daily basis makes creating quilts that much easier knowing where they will be going in the end.

"Everyone should visit the Burn Center at least once to see what it's like," said Dunn. "It's a very humbling experience. Inside and out many of those patients are scarred."

State Fire Convention

The Utah State Fire Convention will be held in Price from June 9-11. Over 600 people, including firefighters from all across the state, are expected to attend the convention. With the tenth anniversary of September 11 on the horizon, the theme to this year's convention is "Here's to the Heroes" with the primary focus being those fireman who serve in their communities each and every day.

With the convention being held in Price, the members of the auxiliary are hoping to have at least 125 quilts ready. But the total number of quilts that will be donated to the Burn Center may be much higher than that. Castle Country Quilters, a local group affiliated with he Utah Quilters Guild, is hoping to make over 100 quilts themselves. Other groups including Boy Scouts, church groups, school groups and many residents in the community are all participating in the project. Even with the convention still seven months away, there is a lot of work that needs to be done, Dunn said.

"We're still working to try and let everyone know what is going on leading up to the convention," said Dunn.

The convention will feature guest speakers and with over 600 people expected to be there, many meals will be served, door prizes will be handed out and much more. The convention is a boon to Price and Carbon County, helping fill motels, restaurants and tourist attractions, Carlson said.

"It's a very big undertaking," said Carlson. "It will be a biggie."

Impact on patients and volunteers

The impact this project has on both patients and volunteers is unmeasurable. Patients get a quilt put together by someone who put the time and effort into creating something to help out with their day to day lives. Volunteers get the satisfaction of knowing that the hard work put into the quilting project helps not only the patients but the hospital staff as well.

"There is the motivation knowing where the quilts are going which is very helpful," said Dunn.

Seeing the stacks of quilts that are collected before they are presented to the Burn Center is one of relief and happiness, knowing they will be used for a worthy cause.

"The quilts mean so much to them," said Dunn. "It reminds them that there are people out thinking of them."

"It's such a good opportunity to provide a service to people that are in such need," said Carlson. "Each case and each person at the Burn Center is unique."

For each person that will receive a quilt, behind all of the fabric and stitching and the unique designs of each quilt, they will receive a labor of love put together by people hoping their work makes another person's day a little brighter.

"It's wonderful to sew the last thread on a quilt," said Pat Scherschel, a member of the Castle Country Quilters who has been quilting for over 15 years. "Lots of love goes into each and every quilt we make."

Making of a quilt

A quilt can take as long as a week with one person working on it. If two people work on it at the same time, it can take about six hours from start to finish, Dunn said.

Each quilt is recommended to be 45 by 54 inches. Good cotton fabric is needed and batting and the fabric need to be matched together. All kinds of designs for the fabric have been used including plaid fabric, fabric with wildlife and more. One of the only recommendations is to not use the color red due to the quilts being washed often.

"We will meet the quota," said Dunn. "It will be good to see the quilts be presented to the Burn Center and see where they go at the end of the project."

At the beginning of May, the number of quilts will be tallied and if more need to be created before the convention in June they would be, Dunn said.

The Sun Advocate will be accepting materials, quilts and donations for the community quilting project leading up to the month of June. Materials, quilts and donations for the Burn Center can be donated by the public for the project all the way until June. Those looking to donate materials or give donations for the project are asked to do so earlier rather than later. By doing so more quilts can be created by distributing the materials donated to groups and people throughout the community.

"We will take any materials and donations that people want to give and we'll make sure that it gets put to good use at the Burn Center," said Carlson.

Any donations towards the quilting project can be dropped off at the Sun Advocate office and the Price City Fire Station.

The quilting project is simply at its very roots, a project designed to help brighten a person's day and bring together a community at the same time. Just the act of creating a quilt for a patient at the Burn Center can make a big difference.

"One little act of kindness," said Dunn.

"...Provides some hope," said Carlson.

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