by Terri Winder
One February, years ago, when Kathy Hurst was having her annual We’re in Stitches sale, a young woman from Monticello came and purchased ten flannel doll blankets and burp cloths.
She told Kathy that she had given birth to a premature baby and spent time in the NICU (newborn intensive care unit) at St. Mary’s Hospital in Grand Junction. She wanted to do something to repay the kindnesses she had experienced while there, and she knew the doll sized blankets were just the right size for the tiny babies in the NICU.
The next year she returned for ten more sets and then she came again the year after that. She said the blankets and burp cloths were a perfect thank you and much appreciated by the hospital and parents of the babies.
Kathy was impressed by the young woman’s act of service. Though Kathy has forgotten her name, she remembered her example.
Then, last November, a young acquaintance of Kathy’s had a premature baby that was life-flighted to St. Mary’s. Kathy remembered the Monticello mother’s words and so she crocheted a doll-sized blanket for her young friend’s first baby. The mother was so appreciative that Kathy decided she wanted to do more.
This past February, as she once again had her annual sale, Kathy informed the women who came that they could have the opportunity to donate their own thread and crochet a blanket and burp cloth for the NICU at St. Mary’s.
Twenty-seven women — mostly from Blanding and Monticello, but as far away as Logan — took Kathy up on her offer. Between them they crocheted 35 sets to donate to the unit.
On March 8, Kathy and Sydney Christensen packaged and loaded the flannel sets into a cardboard box and set off for Grand Junction. When they arrived, they were warmly greeted by the nurses at the NICU who were thrilled with their gift.
“We haven’t had any homemade blankets for a long time,” the women were told.
Though Kathy and Sydney weren’t able to go into the unit, the nurses (one who has worked there for over 28 years) told them a bit about their tiny patients. They brought out the diapers they use on the babies.
Kathy said the whole diaper was smaller than the palm of her hand, yet the nurse told them it was too large for some of the preemies. The doll blankets were indeed plenty large enough for the babies.
“I know just which baby I’m giving the first one to,” one of the nurses said.
“It is so amazing what a group of people can do,” Kathy said, downplaying her own role in the project. “No one person could have done so much crocheting in a month’s time, but together we were able to make quite a contribution. The force of working together produces powerful results.”