Friday, September 27, 2013

Middle School Students Making a Difference

 Owen J. Roberts Middle School students, Megan Kirkbride, Kyle Malmstrom and Andrew Malmstrom
Owen J. Roberts Middle School student, Kyle Malmstrom, along with his family and friends, has been working since 2011 to bring “komfort” to children coping with a life changing event.
Kyle’s Quillows has donated more than 1100 of the fleece quilt/pillow blankets to bone marrow transplant and other children battling illness. Keeping up with demand is one of the difficult challenges for such a charity. There is a never an empty bed on the Bone Marrow Transplant floor at CHOP and, in fact, the fifteen beds on the floor often require overflow space into the Cancer Unit. Bone marrow transplant patients need more than one Quillow as it is necessary to launder everything for which they come in contact every day. As word about the charity spreads, requests for donations have come as far as Scotland and Australia.
Kyle’s grandmother sewed the first Quillow when he was in the hospital. After hearing the cries of a patient in the next room, he wanted to share the comfort he received and asked his grandmother if she would sew one for that child. When the time was right, Kyle and Andrew learned to make the Quillow blankets and continue to work toward a goal to serve every child in need.
Kyle is a survivor of aplastic anemia. His twin brother, Andrew, was Kyle’s bone marrow donor—one of only 2 sets of compatible twins in CHOP’s history. Andrew embroiders the letter “A” on a corner of each blanket as a tribute to donors. It is especially meaningful for patients to receive a gift from a survivor.
The Malmstrom brothers have many friends who like to help. Middle School student and girl scout, Megan Kirkbride, is helping to market the charity with the website, how-to-videos and Instagram. She hopes that this will assure that those who need the comforting blankets will know how to receive them.
Kyle’s Quillows accepts donations of fleece—2 yards will make a quillow. They say, “if you love the print, someone else will too”. You can also help craft a quillow by attending a sewing event. The next sewing event is October 6 at Pottstown Sewing, 142 Shoemaker Road from 12-3:30. Fleece donations may be dropped off at that time.

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