OGDEN — Love was in the air as students from Weber State University and Ogden High School worked with members of the Morgan/Weber Down Syndrome Foundation to tie heart pillows for the cardiac unit at McKay-Dee Hospital.
The heart pillow project is in its third year. In the past, Scouts have worked with the foundation to create the pillows, but this year WSU student Kaitlyn East worked with students in her small group communication class as well as students in Youthlink, a youth service group. They tied and assembled approximately 140 small heart pillows for patients recovering from heart surgery.
The project not only helps those recovering patients but gives those with special needs the chance to do a little service as well.
“It’s been awesome because so often they have the focus on them and now they get to focus on someone else,” East said of the Down syndrome members.
East was excited about the project when she heard about it because she felt like it helped her community. She said that many Down syndrome individuals can suffer from heart ailments so the pillow project can hit close to home for them.
East and some of her classmates spent about a week cutting the fabric for the pillows so it would be easy to assemble last Friday night.
East’s classmates were glad to pitch in on the project.
“It’s pretty cool and it’s always good to help out other people,” WSU student Frank Otis said as he tied together a fleece heart pillow. He smiled as he watched some of the Down syndrome kids play with some of the pillows that had been tied.
“He’s having a great time,” he said, looking at one of the kids.
Susan McQuivey brings her daughter, who has Down syndrome, to the event each year. McQuivey’s husband had cancer and often used pillows during his hospital stay for a comfort.
“We don’t like to miss things like this,” she said as she worked with her daughter to tie the pillows.
She also enjoys the time to be around other parents of children with Down syndrome.
“We can all relate and our kids can connect with each other,” she said.
The Weber/Morgan group usually meets once a quarter and she always tries to come. Her daughter is grown and she has noticed it provides support if she shares some of her experiences with the parents of younger children with Down syndrome.
The group had an assembly line going, tying each pillow, then attaching a small card with a picture of one of the members and the saying, “From our hearts to yours.”
Noelle Shaw works for the McKay-Dee Hospital Foundation and helps deliver the pillows to the hospital.
“We love getting things. This is an amazing and fun fundraiser,” she said.