5th-graders make 'cozy' blankets for cancer patients

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A group of South Jersey 5th-graders is taking a life lesson and turning to action to help young cancer patients feel comforted while undergoing treatment at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. (WPVI)

At the Van Zant Elementary School in Marlton, New Jersey, students have been working on character traits - things like cooperation, self control and responsibility.

The 5th-graders decided they wanted to focus on empathy and so the entire class, all 65 of them, decided one way to practice empathy was to make a batch of colorful blankets for young cancer patients.

"We are doing Cozies 4 Chemo, which we are making blankets for kids who have cancer," said student Gabbie Dansette.

"I want to help kids in the hospital, and I did it with my swim team, and I thought it would be cool to do with my grade," said student Julia Fanning.

"We can't come up with a cure yet, but what we can do is we can just try to make them feel cozy," said student Paul Miller.

The students broke into teams, snipping strips of fabric along the edges of fleece blankets and tying them into knots. Teachers say the project puts ideas into action.

"They're taught about helping others and knowing when other people need help from them, and they're taking that to a real-life project," said teacher Christine Keltos.
"Make someone feel better and put yourself in someone else's shoes," said student Xander Wessner.

The kids have decided that when they're finished the blankets should go to Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, so that cancer patients at CHOP - kids just like them - can feel the love.

"It's like giving a hug to them and making them feel warm inside and fuzzy," said student Zach Rossi.
"I take it seriously and I just want to do all I can to help," said student Jared Bell.

Two years ago, substitute teacher Mary Beth Curcic was battling ovarian cancer and received a blanket like this.
"Hopeful and happy that a child cared enough to do this for me. It's one of my prized possessions," said Curcic.

The kids hope the blankets they make will mean the same to the cancer patients at CHOP.
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