Sunday, May 26, 2019

Finger Puppets for the Janeway

Are you guys aware of the incredible thing that is happening right here in Newfoundland and Labrador right now? No, not the icebergs, though they are lovely.. I'm talking about something a little more personal. There are people - knitters - coming out of the woodwork to help put a smile on the faces of the children of our province.

On May 9th, Denika Philpott saw a Facebook post saying that the Janeway was running out of finger puppets, and it struck a chord with her. Denika told me that she remembers visiting the Janeway numerous times with her own young children, not for anything serious, but her daughter, Abigail had to have bloodwork done quite often and every time she left she would leave with a finger puppet, and she would dry her tears and that would be the highlight of her day. She said that the thought that a child might have to go to the Janeway for bloodwork or some other procedure, and not get to have that little treat really bothered her, and so she decided to do something about it.

Denika started public a Facebook group called 'Knitted Finger Puppets for the Janeway', and it has grown to include almost 1000 people, all eager to donate their time to such a wonderful project. It is such a positive group, with people sharing patterns and offering help to those who might not be seasoned knitters. It is amazing to see how creative some people can be with such a small canvas to work with. There are pictures of finger puppets in the shape of unicorns, sock monkeys, ninja turtles, you name it! There are photos posted daily of the batches of tiny puppets that people are ready to donate. My favourite photo so far was of a bag stuffed with finger puppets with a note attached that said, "Emma Wells, 97 years old, 175 finger puppets, original pattern since 1982". Amazing.

Denika has been so impressed that people are taking it upon themselves to deliver the finger puppets to the Janeway, and they are even checking with other hospitals around the province to see who might be able to use them. She says it really shows the true hearts of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians - people pitching in to help others.

The group has now expanded to include people knitting preemie hats, and booties for the Janeway as well. There are photos of tiny babies, with captions like, "My granddaughter was born December 9, 2018, 10 weeks early weighing 2 pounds 6 oz. These hats are what kept her little head warm while she was in the incubator." If  that doesn't pull on your heart-strings, I don't know what will!

I have visited the blood collection department with Brennen many times over the years, and he always leaves with a puppet covering his bandage, and a smile on his face. Like Denika, I can't imagine not having that little token of kindness to go home with. It's something so small, but it can really brighten your day and put a positive spin on something that can otherwise be quite scary for young children (and their Mommas!)

We invited some of our favourite kiddos over on the weekend (my niece and nephew), and they had a great time playing with the finger puppets that Nanny made! We look forward to bringing these in to the Janeway this week!

I am a sucker for a good-news story, especially when it comes to children in the hospital, and I commend these knitters (including my own Mom!) for putting the time in to help put a smile on the faces of some very special kiddos. Thank you, thank you!!

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