Mt. Vernon Register-News

March 27, 2011

Creating comfort: Scouts make pillows for youths facing surgery

By RORYE O’CONNOR
rorye.oconnor@register-news.com

MT. VERNON — Local Girl Scouts recently broke out the needle and thread to help comfort their peers who are about to undergo surgery.

The Girl Scouts of Southern Illinois Troop #8872, who meet at Bethel Grade School, have completed about 50 flannel pillows for boys and girls who are having surgery done at St. Mary’s Good Samaritan Hospital.

Katherine Markus, a leader of the troop, said she made the simple pillows as a part of her children’s church group and wanted to expand the service project through the Girl Scouts.

“I knew with experience of my grandchildren being in the hospital how needed it was,” Markus said. “We have given ours to the surgery department at Good Samaritan. They love it; they said they get great responses from parents and children, and they want us to do more.”

Troop #8872, which includes Isis Dickneite, 7; Amiyah Welling, 7; Madison Wood, 7; Trinity McConnaghay, 6; and Lissa Welling, 9; began working on the pillows in January. The girls’ leaders received donations of fabric and suppplies from Joyce’s Country Quilts, Kristy’s Custom Creations and Wal-Mart, and cut out the patterns and machine sewed all but a six-inch gap. The scouts from the troop stuffed the pillows and sewed them closed.

Markus provided needle and thread for the Girl Scouts from a sewing kit she said was her grandmother’s.

“I always keep a sewing kit,” she said. “I was a Girl Scout, and my daughter and granddaughters were as well.”

On Wednesday, the troop presented the last of their pillows, about 25, to the surgery department at St. Mary’s Good Samaritan Hospital.

The troop was also able to meet Mt. Vernon Mayor Mary Jane Chesley as a part of Girl Scout proclamation week in Mt. Vernon.

The girls agreed that making the pillows was fun to do.

Dickneite said, however, that it was a lot of work, too.

Welling said that she had been in the hospital twice, and received blankets and ice cream, which made her feel better about being in the hospital.

“It’s nice to get blankets,” she said.

Last year, the troop’s service project was to make tie blankets and donate them to St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital.

Wood said the toughest part of the project was sewing the pillows closed. The girls said they enjoyed learning how to sew as a part of the service project.

“It is just teaching them how to sew for the first time,” Markus said. “Their enthusiasm for the project has been amazing. They want to do it more — they would happily do 50 more if we had the material.”

Markus said she was hoping local businesses or individuals would continue to donate fabric so the girls could do the service project again next year. Those who are interested in helping the troop to make more pillows may call Katherine Markus at 315-1714.

She said the troop would take any kind of fabric as long as it was child-friendly. Some of the girls’ favorites were Sponge Bob Square Pants material.