Wednesday, September 1, 2010

The GracieJane Project

Barbara from the GracieJane project is, well, amazing. She's one of those people that you automatically admire for her willingness to give of her time and talents, as well as the initiative to get it all done. I'll let her tell you her story and what she's all about.

I am a fairly new quilter within the last 2 years or so and since starting I have constantly been looking for ways to create things of meaning for others. The GracieJane Project is named for my niece who came into this world at 36 weeks, but only 3lbs 14oz. While she spent a very short time in a neo-natal unit, she was and continues to be a strong and healthy girl who just turned two on August 27th.

As a the mother of a healthy from the start almost 4 year old, and new baby, I can't imagine the fear that must go with having a child in medical distress. It is my hope that The GracieJane Project's mission is to provide a piece of comfort and tenderness in the form of mini quilts to infants staying in the neo-natal intensive care unit and their families during a time of immense stress.

I am really thrilled to be able to share this project with others and maybe even inspire some of you out there to give. I love using modern fabrics, I want these parents and little ones to know that they are not just thought of after the fact with prints that I would not use myself for a gift or for sale. I want them to feel like this is a treasure, just as their little ones are to the world.

What can you do? The hardest part of the project is of course the cost so donations are the only way I can continue. The master pattern uses 2.5"x5" cuts and so charm packs are a perfect donation and one pack can make 2 quilts. I have been backing the quilts with cream coloured flannel so they are the softest possible when coming in contact with these little babes. Batting is always useful and truthfully a jelly roll or a layer cake would be an overwhelming gift. We would also welcome donations of quilts made with the pattern on the site. Blog about us, talk about us, send me words of encouragement! Everything helps.

Our first donation was of 7 quilts on August 31st.  This is the unit we will be donating to.

The NICU at St. Joseph's Health Care is the regional level III NICU program serving Southwestern Ontario. As part of the tertiary care perinatal program, we provide care for critically ill and premature newborns born at our centre and transferred in from the Level I and Level II hospitals throughout the region. The NICU is a 42-bed unit of which 26 beds are designated Level III and 16 beds are designated Level II. We care for 600-700 newborns each year in the NICU with an average length of stay of 17-18 days ( range 0->150 days). Care is provided within a developmentally supportive, family centered framework.

The NICU at St. Joseph's is part of a network of 7 tertiary care NICUs across Ontario. While our primary responsibility is to serve the region of Southwestern Ontario region, at times we are called upon to accept infants from other regions when one or more of their Level III hospitals is closed.
A huge thank you to Megan and Heather for giving this project the wings that it needs to soar.

Barbara I cannot wait to hear how it all went donating, I bet it was a very touching experience.  As a mother of a sweet baby girl who initially was very sick at birth and sent to the NICU I know that a sweet beautiful quilt at her side would have eased the pain just a little bit more.  Thankfully she is a healthy, stubborn and adorable 3 year old girl today.  I admire the work you're doing and I encourage all of our readers to check out the GracieJane project and donate in any way that you can.


The Gracie Jane Project said...

Hey girls! Ahh the article is amazing. The donation day was amazing and has just made me hug my own babes a little tighter and solidified my desire to do more. You guys really have been such a champion for us. Thank you!

grammajill said...

I am so impressed with Gracie Jane. What a beatiful and thoughtful idea. I am off to check out her blog!

Anonymous said...

I would love to donate something

Rebecca Merry said...

What an awesome idea! I can't imagine the stress and heartache those families go through! What a lovely blessing to recieve!

EllensCreativePassage said...

As the mother of an NICU baby and an NICU nurse, I can tell you that those quilts are so very makes the situation a bit easier, more homey, and most parents are so happy that someone cares enough to create something for their babe!

Kera said...

I am also a parent of a NICU baby. She was in the NICU for 1 month, the hardest month of my life. I remember receiving a crochet blanket and cap, as well as bows for her hair. I have since made many bows for our NICU and was thinking about making some quilts as well. This story solidified this idea in my head. I can't wait to get started.

Sandy said...

oh my goodness!!! my daughter spent a month in the nicu at st joe's when whe was born 2 months early in 2006. this is an amazing gift to the unit that i know will be cherished!!

Diane Bohn said...

Wow! That is an awesome story and blog and idea! Very inspiring! :) My father-in-law works in the NICU! It's crazy how strong those poor little babies are! And very humbling to see how they grow and overcome the challenges they face with such tiny bodies! I also love your quilts! :) That is an awesome gift for all of those families! I also sometimes sit and wonder what to do with all my fabric... and now I know! :) Thank you! :)

Jules said...

what a great idea, my daughter was in the nicu in Strong Memorial hospital for 162 days in 2010. And i know we appreciated everything that was done for us. I am going to begin sewing for our hospital ASAP.
A great keepsake idea.
BTW, our daughter is now happy and healthy despite her rough start in life.