Chelsea Cares, Inc.

Comforting children one blanket at a time

Wrapped in Love

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Warm wishes

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Inspired by little Chelsea Mayes, baby blanket-making group holds fundraiser at Boyert's Greenhouse & Farm see page 6
by GRETCHEN ELDRIDGE
11/23/2008 - A two-year-old charity manned by three local women raised nearly $3,500 at their first Chelsea Cares fundraiser, held at Boyert's Greenhouse & Farm just south of Medina on Saturday, Nov. 1.

Recently incorporated, Chelsea Cares took its roots at Akron Children's Hospital PICU in January 2007, where Chelsea Mayes spent three of her first weeks as an intensive care infant. Parents Eric and Suzanne Mayes, along with Chelsea's grandmothers, Betty Platner and Sue Mayes, all of Medina, were moved by the kind gesture of a soft pink blanket gently placed beneath their seriously ill baby girl in the PICU.

After Chelsea's miraculous full recovery, they all agreed they needed to give back to the hospital that gave so much tenderness to the baby they almost lost. To date, Chelsea Cares Inc. has made, gathered and delivered more than 750 homemade blankets and 350 homemade pillow cases (for the older children) to Akron Children's Hospital.

The recent fundraiser was a first for this organization. Boyert's Farm generously donated their time and farm for the fall festival. Many friends, family and other kind folk attended, supporting the cause. Local hands extended warmth in donating to this charity, as well.

Medina's VCS Salon kindly donated a manicure/pedicure gift certificate, while Mrs. Gangle's class at Blake Elementary donated $200 to Boyert's Farm in honor of Chelsea Cares. Lisa Gray, local children's storyteller, held a half-hour of her storytime specialty right there on the farm. Grace Beall, Blake Elementary fourth grader, volunteered her expertise in making balloon animals for all the children.

With a community so willing to participate, many more blankets will be made and donated to keep babies warm and spirits high at Akron Children's Hospital. It goes to show that where your heart is, there your treasure will be also. This family has certainly used a tragedy to create an ongoing blessing.

 

Warming the body and the heart

by Gayle Foster
write the author
 

Impressed with hospital care, Medina's Mayes family makes blankets to donate
04/01/2007


Nearly lost in the pile of hand-made blankets sits 2-month-old Chelsea Mayes, who is the inspiration for the "Made by Chelsea Cares" blankets that are being donated to Akron Children's Hospital. (click for larger version)

   

 

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MEDINA – Early this year, 3-week-old Chelsea Mayes seemed to have a cold. Her parents took her to the doctor who checked her over and sent her home. Mom, Suzanne Mayes, grew concerned when her baby seemed to get sicker. Returning to the pediatrician, the doctor became alarmed and had the infant transported immediately to Akron Children's Hospital where she was diagnosed with adenovirus and then went into septic shock. She was hooked up to wires and tubes and a ventilator, a terrifying experience for her parents.

Eric and Suzanne Mayes of Medina spent the next three weeks at little Chelsea's cribside. Day and night one or the other or both of them were there aching to hold her. Chelsea's big brother, 3-year-old Ryan, was allowed to be with the family during the stressful time. His mother said the nurses were fabulous. It was very difficult seeing their infant daughter sedated and so wired up they couldn't even hold her. Chelsea was admitted to the hospital on a Tuesday and her mother couldn't hold her until the following Sunday. Suzanne said that was the hardest part for her.

The one bright spot in the PICU (Pediatric Intensive Care Unit) was the colorful fleece blanket Chelsea was laying on. Suzanne said Chelsea was propped up on Beanie Babies and all the color surrounding her seemed to give the family a sense of normalcy in a very un-normal situation. Suzanne made a mental note of a comment she overheard a nurse say about the fleece blanket supply running low.

Three weeks later, when they finally brought Chelsea home – healthy – Suzanne mentioned the blankets that surrounded her baby and the overheard comment. The Mayes' felt such gratitude for the blankets and knowing how much they meant to them, Suzanne was determined to help re-stock the hospital's supply. She prevailed upon friends and family and one evening, as a Lenten project, 75 people met at Holy Martyrs Church in Weymouth and churned out 125 hand-tied (no sewing involved) fleece blankets.

Today, that number has increased to 201 and they are piled in the Mayes' dining room and kitchen awaiting the arrival of labels that say "Made by Chelsea Cares" which will be added to each blanket, then delivered to Akron Children's Hospital to add a touch of cheer for other families going through the anxiety of having their children hospitalized. Suzanne said children having surgery can choose their own blankets and their siblings are also given toys and stickers to ease their fears.

She was very impressed with the medical staff at the hospital, saying they treated Chelsea as if she was theirs. Their care and concern meant a lot to the family and they just feel the need to give back in some way. Suzanne says the blankets are very easy to make and, if others would care to contribute, she is willing to share information on their construction through her e-mail address, Chelseacares1@hotmail.com. She plans another work day this summer when the extended family gets together, though she says finding space and tables to spread out the fabric is a challenge.

Little Chelsea, now 2-1?2 months old, is well and growing and very alert to her mother's voice and touch, a precious gift in every sense of the word. She may or may not face asthma in her future as a result of her illness, but considering what she has already been through, the Mayes' feel they can handle it.

Suzanne truly hopes readers will be touched by their story and feel led to make their own blankets.

"Unfortunately, there will always be sick babies and kids. Even one blanket will mean a lot to that one child and one family," she said. Just the sight of the colorful blankets was therapeutic and helped them emotionally to recover from the stressful period they went through.
 
 
 

 

Scouts extend helping hand

01/04/2009 - The girls in Troop 792 have been making a difference. As part of "Make a Difference Day," which was celebrated on Oct. 25, the girls cut and tied fleece blankets for children and their families at Akron Children's Hospital. The blankets were donated to the hospital through an organization known as Chelsea Cares.

Last week, the girls made more than 100 cards for the organization "A Million Thanks," which sends Christmas cards to servicemen and women serving overseas. The girls will also spend time this month caroling at a local nursing home. The girls have focused a lot of effort this year on community service.

That's not to say that this year has been all work, though. The girls reaped the rewards of their cookie selling efforts by spending an evening sleeping with the jellyfish at the Akron Zoo. They also earned an ecology patch, fed the penguins, and saw some very interesting behind-the-scenes information about the animals while at the zoo.

Troop 792 consists of 18 girls who are all third graders at Sharon Elementary School. Members of the troop include: Sophie Bazan, Marisa Burgess, Brianna Budzinski, Caitlyn Collins, Abby Dean, Stephanie Fannin, Trinaty Giamo, Emily Hoose, Jonna Jaroska, Macey Krecic, Elise Lautenschleger, Melina Ley, Kaila Oberhaus, Julie Origlio, Shannon Pipik, Anna Stanec, Amanda Vanke and Taylor Waibel.

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