CMS students making blankets for NICU babies

By Nathan Howell / Staff Writer

COLUMBIANA — When Columbiana Middle School students Madison Wood and Campbell Kellis heard the Newborn Intensive Care Unit at the UAB Hospital desperately needed blankets for the newborns, they decided to rally their classmates and take action.

Wood said she found out about the shortage through her mother, Jennifer, who is a nurse in the NICU. The newborns there need special care as the NICU is set up to treat sick or premature babies.

“These families are going through a lot having a baby in the NICU, and the blankets are a small gift to them when they leave to help them feel better,” Wood said.

The girls organized the project through their school’s FCCLA and some of their classes, headed by their teacher Samantha Pursley, with a goal of making 100 blankets. Pursley said they hope to complete the remaining 45 within the next month.

“These blankets are needed for so many reasons,” said Jennifer Wood. “They are a joy to a stressful, painful and unexpected situation. They are sometimes the only way that the baby can be dressed up.”

Since the project began last semester, the girls, along with their classmates, have made 55 blankets. Pursley estimates by the time the project is completed, nearly 30 students will have assisted in the project.

At the outset of the project the girls needed fabric and thread to make the blankets. When they sent out fliers in the community asking for donations, the community stepped in to help.

“We’ve had a huge reaction from the community,” Madison Wood said.

The girls expressed the need for more donations of fabric and thread to finish the project. Pursley said anyone interested in making a donation can drop off materials at the CMS office.