Kansas mom honors her son's memory by making blankets for sick kids
For those who have lost a child, words cannot express the grief and pain you feel in the days, weeks, and months that follow.
Christine Strutt knows what that feels like. She's now a regular customer at JoAnn's Fabric in Salina.
She's there not for herself, but for others so she can keep her son's memory alive.
In 2014, when her middle child Connor was 16, doctors diagnosed him with non-hogkins t-cell lymphoma. After getting it into remission they found out on May 6, 2016 he had relapsed.
"When it comes back, it comes back with a vengeance and we were working toward a bone marrow transplant and he did not make it. August 20, 2016 he passed away," said Strutt.
About six months later she decided to do something in her son's memory. She settled on fleece blankets for sick kids. She calls her effort Connor's Cuddles.
"When I first started, I thought, eh if we deliver 20-30 blankets down to Children's Mercy Hospital for the children on the 4th floor, which is the Hemochromatosis Unit, that Connor spent his time in, that would be good. Then the whole thing just went crazy," said Strutt.
In the past two years she, with the help of volunteers, have made about 475 fleece blankets.
"I say I'm healing one blanket at a time. It's hard to make sense of everything that happened, but if I can...my goal is to maybe bring a smile and a bit of comfort to a sick child," said Strutt.
At $40 to $50 per blanket, some custom orders are more expensive, she's spent nearly $24,000 on fabric.
She's grateful she has not had to do this alone. She's had help along the way.
"I can't thank people enough. We've been very blessed with people helping us out with this and helping us keep it going," said Strutt.
I was able to pull out my cell phone and showed Strutt a pre-recorded video from Dustin DeVaughn and Richard James of DeVaughn James Injury Lawyers.
"Christine, thank you for your work with Connor's Cuddles. We heard about it, we're excited and we want to make a presentation to you," said James. "The care, love and compassion that you're giving to kids in need is amazing. Thanks for your great work," said DeVaughn.
"We're excited to present you with a check for $1,200," said James.
When the video ended Strutt was visibly surprised.
"Oh my gosh. Thank you. Thank you. That will help. Yes. Thank you very much," said Strutt.
"Hopefully that will get you a handful more blankets," said Evans, "And a few more smiles and comfort to some kids in need," Strutt said as though she was finishing the sentence.
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