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‘That extra comfort’: Manitobans with life-limiting illnesses in need of handmade blankets

Knitters and crocheters are being called on to help provide comfort to Manitobans during their final days.

Palliative Manitoba is down to its last few handmade blankets for people receiving care in its End of Life Companion program.

The program matches people with a life-limiting illness with volunteers.

Aside from providing support to people and their families during end-of-life care, volunteers can give another source of comfort.

“When somebody’s at those end stages of life, there are topics and things that they really want to discuss and want to put out there, but it’s difficult to talk to the people closest to you, because there’s a lot of emotion going on there,” explained Lindsay Felstead, development coordinator with Palliative Manitoba.

“Our volunteers are specially trained to sit, hold space and listen to these conversations.”

Lap blankets are handed out as part of a welcome package to those taking part in the program.

Hand-knit and crocheted blanket donations are shown in a July 26, 2023 image. (Source: Jamie Dowsett/CTV News Winnipeg)

The organization put out a call for lap blanket donations earlier this month, when its supply started to dwindle. Since then, Felstead said donations have started to pour in, but they could always use more.

Blankets should be about 26 inches by 48 inches and can be made out of any fibre using any stitch, as long as it’s soft and warm.

Aside from being a thoughtful gift, the blankets are a practical one, too.

“A lot of the time, they are cold. Their body is shutting down. They’re not as active, and they feel the temperature, and sometimes just wrapping yourself up in a blanket just provides that extra comfort and security,” Felstead said.

The organization is also in need of warm memory scarves, which are handed out at its Children’s Grief Team – a six-week program for kids who have lost a loved one. These knit or crocheted creations are scarves with mittens on the end, and are meant to represent a hug.

The patterns, both knit and crotchet, for the memory scarves can be found on the organization’s website.

Donations can be dropped off during business hours at the Palliative Manitoba office at Deer Lodge Centre.

The organization can also be contacted by email if there are any additional questions.

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