This pillowcase is empty
But I’m colorful and bright
Just put a pillow in me
And watch me come to life.
I am here to lay your head on
To look at, cuddle and hold
And take me along with you,
Wherever you may go.
There is more behind this pillowcase
It came from donations filled with love
And wishing you well and happiness
But never once think “I Give Up.”
Judy Bleiler includes this poem with each pillowcase she donates to local hospitals. The poem was inspired by Kaeli Brandt, a 9-year-old child who died of a rare brain cancer.
Judy learned about Kaeli’s condition through her Pennsylvania church and knew she wanted to help. While working on a gift for her grandson, she decided to also make a birthday quilt for Kaeli’s hospital bed out of Tinkerbell fabric–Kaeli’s favorite character.
The quilt was a hit with Kaeli and the rest of the hospital. Judy wondered how she could use her talents to put more smiles on children’s faces. She began asking local churches for donations, collecting $450 to make pillowcases for other children with cancer.
Sadly, the pillowcases, which included the Tinkerbell one to match Kaeli’s quilt, arrived at the hospital a few days after Kaeli’s death. The quilt meant so much to Kaeli that her family buried the young girl with it.
In memory of Kaeli and two other young girls battling cancer, Judy started Olivia and Alayna’s Pillowcase Project in 2010. She quickly gathered $2,000 in donations, but knew she needed more to help all the kids in need.
She applied for the Pepsi grant in June and a week later received news that one of the $10,000 grant was hers. The Pepsi Refresh Grant is based on online voting from the public, and Judy’s project came in 6th out of 140 applicants. Judy has made more than 2,500 pillowcases with the material purchased through the Pepsi grant and hopes to double that number with the money.
Judy estimates that each pillowcase costs about $7 to make, between the material and packaging costs. She gets help assembling the pillowcases from others in the community.
See the rest of the blog hop schedule here:
September 1: Welcome from American Patchwork & Quilting
September 2: Rashida Coleman-Hale
September 3: Olivia and Alayna’s Pillowcase Project
September 4: Morgan’s Smile Factory
September 5: Pat Sloan
September 6: Northcott
September 7: Betsy Chutchian
September 8: Vanessa Christenson
September 9: Andover Fabrics
September 10: Laurie Simpson
September 11: Oak Hill, Ohio
September 12: Robert Kaufman Fabrics
September 13: Pam Buda
September 14: Indygo Junction
September 15: 4-H
September 16: Katie Hennagir
September 17: Anni Downs
September 18: FreeSpirit Fabrics
September 19: American Patchwork & Quilting Staff
September 20: Patty Young
September 21: Moda Fabrics
September 22: Monica Solorio-Snow
September 23: Moda Bake Shop
September 24: Andover Fabrics
September 25: Roseann Kermes from Rosebud’s Cottage
September 26: Ann Kelle for Shannon Fabrics
September 27: Therm O Web
September 28: Edyta Sitar
September 29: Fabri-Quilt
September 30: Cherri House
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