I was sitting in my recliner on a chilly March day a little over three years ago when my phone rang. Answering it, I heard, “We want you to come down to the bowling alley and pick up your prize.” Prize? I knew the women’s league bowling tournament was taking place that day but I hadn’t entered it. Three weeks prior to the tournament, I’d had a mastectomy after being diagnosed with Stage 2 breast cancer.
I asked how could I have won a prize when I wasn’t even in the tournament. “Just come down to the bowling alley and pick up your prize,” came the reply.
Entering the bowling alley, I was met by some women who handed me a large plastic bag. “Open it,” one of the women said. So I did. “Take out what’s in there,” she said. My mouth fell open when I withdrew a bright yellow, incredibly soft, handmade blanket.
“What on earth?” I asked in amazement.
“That’s your cuddle blanket,” one of the women said. “It’s to help keep you warm while you are resting in your recliner. We all know what you’ve been going through and we wanted you to have something special. So we had this blanket made for you.”
Through tears, I smiled at them and gave each one a hug. “Thank you,” I told them. “Every time I use this blanket I’ll remember every one of you and I know I’ll feel the love and care that went into its making.”
A month following the surgery I began a five and a half month course of chemotherapy. The first four treatments were every other week. Two weeks after the fourth treatment I started the 12 weekly treatments. Having gone through it all, I know now why some people are unable to do the 12 solid weeks of chemo and need a break. I understand why some simply can’t continue and opt to terminate their treatments.
In an effort to in some way give back all the wonderful things people did for me, I decided to spread the word about cuddle blankets.
Blankets, either hand sewn, knitted, crocheted, or purchased, will be welcomed either at the chemotherapy center or by individuals who are having chemo and/or radiation treatments. Everyone making this journey appreciates receiving anything that lifts their spirits.
Now it’s three and a half years since my mastectomy. And I still use my cuddle blanket. It warms me as no other blanket ever could.