Kristy Rollins hands the phone to Cole almost immediately. It’s still a little tough for her talk about the blankets.
Cole is 10. He’s in fifth grade at Pine Creek Elementary, and he’s chatty on the phone. “We have a huge, big party,” he says, “where we make the blankets, and then we go give them to the kids at Children’s Hospital. They’re the kind you cut out and tie together.”
“Everyone brings their own fleece,” Kristy says. “Cole calls them parties.”
“People are upstairs and downstairs and all over, and everyone’s making them,” Cole says.
“It’s a big day,” his mom adds.
This year, about 20 people helped him put together 70 fleece blankets for the hospital. That’s a considerable increase from his first blanket party three years ago, when six friends came to help him make 19 blankets.
Cole was seven then. His little sister, Mallory, was three and receiving monthly infusions at Children’s to combat opsoclonus-myoclonus syndrome (OMS). “My sister came home with a couple fleece blankets from the hospital,” Cole says.
“He said he wanted to give blankets back to the hospital where Mallory got hers,” Kristy says. “The blankets mean so much to her. She treasures them. So we know that these kids treasure these. It’s a keepsake. Mallory has at least three.”
“My first one I gave to an older boy,” Cole remembers. “It was a John Deere blanket.” His favorite fleece patterns, he says, are camouflage and anything outdoorsy.
“Lots of kids still bring their blankets [to infusion],” Kristy says. “We’ll see them around.”
“I want to make a blanket for one of Mallory’s infusion friends,” Cole says. “It’s one of her friends that gets infusion at the same time, Lily. She wants a Justin Bieber fleece, but I can’t find any.”
Kristy says that, for the kids who make the blankets, the best part is hand-delivering them to the hospital. “The kids love giving them out in the lobby,” she says. “They love personally giving them.”
Speaking of giving, the 2013 holiday season marked the first annual Cole Cares Christmas—Cole partnered with a company, DirectCall of Air Methods, to run a gift donation for Children’s. “This is what he wanted to do next,” Kristy says.
But he’ll still be hosting his blanket parties.
The goal for 2014?
One hundred blankets.