A curious, feelgood and inspiring little story landed in our inbox this morning, just in time to brighten our Sunday…
A Greystones mother-of-four and her children are playing their part in helping to ease the plight of hospital patients and nursing home residents across Ireland – by sending them handcrafted hearts.
Carita Bramhill, a UCD staff member, set up the initiative in recent days to help lift the spirits of people left isolated by visiting restrictions in both hospitals and care homes, by reminding them they are not alone. Since the project was launched under the watch of UCD’s Purl Jam craft group, hundreds of hearts have been painstakingly knitted by volunteers up and down the country. Each heart is accompanied with an elegantly printed card, with the words ‘We Are With You’ written in over a dozen languages.
Carita admitted she’s been overwhelmed with the positive response to date to the ‘Hearts for Hospitals’ appeal. “I’d spotted a project that had been rolled out in the National Health Service over in the UK,” she explains, “whereby patients in the ICU were being given knitted hearts and their families were also receiving a corresponding heart as a symbol of hope and togetherness. “I loved the idea and decided to put a call out to our very own Purl Jam to see if they could do something similar. They answered the call, as did family members, friends, UCD students and even knitting groups from across the country, not least the ladies from the Ballyglass Needles and Yarns Group in Claremorris, Co. Mayo, who sent us more than 150 beautiful hearts.
“At one stage my living room was overflowing with knitted hearts, but my four children Isabelle, Ethan, Sienna-Rose and even Teddy, who’s just two, have been a great help with packing the hearts and cards into bags. They all loved playing a part in it.”
The colourful hearts have also given a much-needed boost to new mothers at the National Maternity Hospital, Holles Street in Dublin, who took delivery of a batch in recent days. Valerie Kinsella, assistant director of midwifery and nursing at Holles Street, said: “It’s a particularly anxious time at the moment for any new Mum. Under the new regulations they can’t receive any visitors after giving birth until the day they are discharged.
“And that’s very difficult for their partners and their parents who are unable to come and visit their new grandchild. So we were thrilled to receive these hearts. They’re really lovely and they’re a powerful symbol to new mums that they are not alone.”
And the 25 residents of Kilcoole Lodge Nursing Home in north Co.Wicklow were delighted to each receive a handcrafted heart earlier this week. Patricia McCoy [above, left], director of nursing at the facility, said: “The visiting restrictions have made this a very difficult time for our residents. Some of them have had to learn how to use iPads for the first time to communicate with their relatives. But it’s not the same as seeing them in person. These knitted hearts will give them a boost and remind them that they are not alone at this very challenging time.”
Nice. You can find some more good vibrations in these difficult times right here.
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