For over two years, non-profit organisation Bravery Blanky has delivered hundreds of bravery blankies to paediatric oncology wards including St. John's Ward in Crumlin and Our Lady Of Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda.
Run by Susan Brown and her husband, the idea for Bravery Blanky first arose following their two-year-old son's cancer diagnosis. On a mission, the couple aims to provide comfort to our littlest heroes diagnosed with cancer, including children with life-debilitating illnesses and their families. Susan explains
"It is important to us that, as well as supporting the children we let the parents know that people are supporting them during this terrible time"
Thanks to generous members of the public and crafters across Ireland, Bravery Blanky provides hand-knitted and crocheted blankets, Hickman Line protective wear, toys, bravery teddies, seasonal goods and care packages nationwide to sick children and their super siblings.
According to their GoFundMe page, Bravery Blanky also posts directly to children who cannot attend these hospitals, including adult oncology patients to ensure nobody is left out regardless of their location or timing of their treatment.
"We also now receive requests from adult oncology patients for themselves or their children who have seen the comfort our Bravery Blankys have brought to the children from St. John's,"
She also told us the response from parents has been extremely positive.
"We receive so many messages of support and gratitude from parents with photos of their amazing children and their new Bravery Blanky deliveries, always with a big smile on their face."
"That is what it is all about for us. We want to provide comfort and hope when they need it most."
Talking about the future of Bravery Blanky, Susan hopes that it will continue to grow bigger and stronger.
"We will continue to help in any way we can as we know first hand how isolating it can be to have a child or family member with a life-limiting diagnosis."
"Because of the amazing support we receive, we have been honoured to receive messages from families in the UK, America and Australia. Some are asking for help, others seeking to gain information on how to support our organisation. With the continued support from our amazing volunteers and supporters, the Bravery Blanky family will continue to grow far and wide," she concludes.
Last month a group of Tallaght women knitted and crocheted dozens of blankets for children of St John's Ward. During a crafting class with Margaret Goulding from Silver Surfers, a nurse attending suggested they made blankets for children in the ward she worked and that is exactly
what they did.
Alongside Ms Goulding class, a crocheting group in Kilnamanagh also got on board to help make the much-loved colourful blankets. Talking with The Echo newspaper, Ms Goulding said:
"Each child in the ward gets one of these blankets, and they can take them home too. The nurses say the blankets are a great talking point, as the children talk about the colours and they spend 20 or 30 minutes picking out their own blanket."
"It's been a great success, and it works in two ways – the children benefit from the blankets, and a lot of the women who are knitting and crocheting are retired, and doing it is good for mindfulness and also the feeling of doing something worthwhile."
If you would like to get involved making blankets, or by donating items such as Freddy bags, vests, teddies, new and unopened toys or Easter Eggs get in touch with the amazing volunteers over at Bravery Blanky.