UHS students seek donations to make blankets for dialysis patients

URBANA — Students at Urbana High School are seeking donations so they can make fleece blankets to give to patients at a local dialysis center.

Students hope to make 120 blankets for Champaign-Urbana Dialysis Center patients and are asking for donations of fleece and money to buy materials to make blankets.

They'll use the materials at a Blanket-A-Thon, which is scheduled for the afternoon of Feb. 23 at the commons at the high school.

The students will take two equal-sized pieces of fleece, cut out the corners and then cut down the sides to create 1-inch fringe, explained sophomore Quentaeshia Jenkins. Then, depending on how the student wants the blanket to look, he or she will tie the two sides together using one or two knots.

Sophomore Bethany Peppers said she's looking forward to making the blankets, calling the project "different but helpful."

"It's something people might not think about," she said.

Lori Ellinger, Urbana High School's community involvement coordinator, came up with the idea because she's a volunteer driver for a dialysis patient who expressed a need for blankets. Ellinger said she hopes next year, students can take control of planning the event and can decide who should benefit.

"I think that's pretty powerful for kids," she said. "They see things we don't see."

Mentors and mentees involved in the Champaign-Urbana One-To-One Mentoring Program have already made 10 blankets, but Ellinger organized the Blanket-A-Thon in an effort to make many more.

Students from several cultural clubs at UHS will participate, including those from the African-American, Asian-American and Latino/Latina clubs, as will students who participate in Operation Snowball. The school's mentor-mentee pairs will be invited, as well.

The average dialysis treatment lasts four hours, said Jeanette Pritschet, a social worker at C-U Dialysis.

Patients often have other health problems that lead to poor circulation, and that, combined with not being up and moving around during treatments, may mean they get cold.

"A lot of our patients are frail or elderly," Pritschet said.

Dialysis patients are given hospital-quality linens during dialysis sessions, Pritschet said, so the fleece blankets will be for their home use.

They're especially intended for those who can't afford blankets of their own.

"It's really intended to help those who have economic needs," she said.

The center serves about 120 people who receive hemodialysis, she said.

Because Ellinger is hoping to use all donated money to buy supplies for making blankets, she would also be grateful to receive donations of snacks and beverages for the high school students who attend the Blanket-A-Thon.

To donate for the event, you can contact Ellinger at Urbana High School at 384-3505, or email lellinger@usd116.org.

Or, you can send a check made out to UHS Blanket-A-Thon to the high school at 1002 S. Race St., Urbana, IL 61801.

She'd like to have donations for making blankets by Friday, Feb. 22, she said, but would welcome any snack donations the day of the Blanket-A-Thon, Feb. 23.

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sweet caroline wrote on February 14, 2013 at 11:02 pm

Thank you, Urbana High School mentors, techers, and students, for doing such a loving thing for dialysis patients.