Wednesday, February 15, 2012 - Hand-Knitted Blankets Keep Broward Health Broward General Medical Center Cancer Patients Wrapped in Love

Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. - When Annette Taylor-Spence’s mother, Delores, began cancer treatments at Broward Health Broward General Medical Center (BHBGMC) in 2008, Taylor-Spence noticed that regardless of the room’s temperature, her mother was always cold.

The hospital had plenty of blankets available, but her mother, an accomplished crocheter, preferred the hand-knit blankets and throws that she had created. A light went off for Taylor-Spence: If these blankets were a comfort to her mother, they might be the same for other cancer patients at BHBGMC.

In her spare time, Taylor-Spence dedicated her efforts to knitting extra blankets. While she made steady progress, she realized that she could accomplish even more with help from her community.

As the singles fellowship director at Pentecostal Tabernacle church in Miami Gardens, Taylor-Spence extended her labor of love to the members of her church. Under her direction, the singles fellowship expanded the project, which grew to include participation from the entire church family. Approximately 50 people participated by donating yarn, donating cash and doing the knitting.

She called the project “Wrapped in Love.”

“I didn’t realize how many lives had been touched by cancer until I started this project,” said Taylor-Spence. “Everyone who contributed to this project were thankful that they could do something to help.”
A total of 70 throws have been knitted so far, with the efforts continuing at the church. Taylor-Spence also includes a card with each blanket or throw that bears an uplifting poem that she wrote expressly for the project. “Cords of love we fashioned for you/We know it is a small thing to do/But to let you know how much we care/We want you wrapped in love, not fear…”

Taylor-Spence’s mother and sister, Sandra, were among those who made the made throws for the project as their way of saying thanks for the care Delores was receiving at BHBGMC. Unfortunately, after several rounds of cancer treatments, Delores passed away in September 2011.

On Nov. 8, 2011, a group from the Pentecostal Tabernacle delivered 18 throws to BHBGMC social worker Elizabeth Maus at the Outpatient Cancer Center to be given to patients who were undergoing cancer treatment or would have to be in the hospital during the holidays. The group included Jennifer Stewart, the wife of Pastor S. Robert Stewart; Taylor-Spence; Pansy Rose, minister of fellowship; Jennifer Evans; and Petchur Langston.

"Annette has put her heart and soul into this project," said Maus. "These blankets give patients more than physical warmth.  They feel the emotional comfort and support of knowing that someone has personally knitted something for them."

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