By Kevin McBain
and Anna Polsfut
The Kindersley Clarion
It’s a deadly disease and it’s guaranteed you know someone affected by it.
Cancer is the leading cause of death in Canada – one in four sufferers will die of the disease this year. It’s estimated that 206,200 new cases of cancer will be diagnosed this year and 80,800 Canadians will die as a result of cancer, according to the Canadian Cancer Society.
It is tough watching people fight cancer and many feel helpless as they watch the disease slowly take away a person’s life.
But there’s hope: medical advances continue to be made in hopes that one day cancer can be cured.
For now, people like Heather Wall and her friends are giving comfort to those fighting the battle.
Wall has created the organization she calls Visanbre Angel Blankets.
The letters in the name represent her three aunts, Sandra and Brenda Schoultz, and Vivian Burton, all of whom lost their battle with cancer.
Aunt Vivian was the latest victim, losing her battle in early August.
Wall was moved to create the organization in June, while Vivian was battling the disease.
“I love to crochet and I had been making things for my granddaughter. One day she (Vivian) asked if I could make something for her in her favourite colour,” said Wall. “So I made her a blanket. After she had passed, my grandmother said ‘You don’t know how much comfort that it brought her,’ and I guess she would just curl up with it. It was a comfort to her.”
So the idea to start Visanbre Angel Blankets was born, with the thought of donating blankets to the Cancer Centre in Saskatoon, and invited people to join in.
“I would like these warriors to know that someone is thinking of them,” she said.
The response was immediate and many people in the area have helped out.
On August 31, Heather and her daughter, Sydney, drove to Saskatoon to deliver the quilts and blankets that she had gathered so far. On the blankets, Heather pinned notes with an encouraging word, scripture verse and her contact number in case the recipients want more blankets.
Her arrival at the Cancer Centre was memorable.
“When we went in, we found Erin Bentley, who I’ve been talking to and I think she only expected maybe two or three, but when we started loading them up, she was in tears,” said Heather. “She couldn’t believe it.”
Thanks to the generous people of the area, they donated 15 crocheted blankets, five fleece blankets and one quilt. Those who receive the blankets can use them while they’re in the centre and take them home when they’re released.
Heather says this is definitely not a one-time event. She plans to take in quilts and blankets as often and for as long as she can.
She followed up with a phone call to the centre on Sept. 6t about how things were going and what more can be done. She discovered they also have a bowl in the reception area with toques, mittens, slippers and scarves that people can take.
She has also reached out to the children’s ward at University Hospital and discovered they’re also in dire need of blankets.
“I’m so extremely touched by the response to this project and I am willing to make as many trips to take in blankets as I can,” she said.
Heather said they hope to take in another load by the end of the month or maybe early in October, with blankets and maybe toques, mitts and slippers.
She says people can make these items or purchase them. You can also donate materials and volunteers have stepped forward who are willing to make items. She doesn’t really want to deal with cash and would rather have materials donated.
To stay up-to-date on the project, go to Visanbre Angel Blankets on Facebook.
Heather says that she wants to be transparent about what’s happening with the donated items and to help with that, she posted a live feed of the blanket donation on the page, to quell any misgivings.
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