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Good Cause: Aurora Central teens make blankets for sick kids

Sisters Audrey (left) Lauren Buchner AurorCentral High School students lean against some blankets they made be donated pediatric patients Lurie

Sisters Audrey (left) and Lauren Buchner, Aurora Central High School students, lean against some of the blankets they made to be donated to pediatric patients at Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago. | Submitted

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Updated: November 18, 2012 6:22AM

If you ask Michelle Buchner why her daughters, Lauren and Audrey, decided to make blankets to donate to the pediatric patients at Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago, she’ll tell you a different story for each one.

“They had been to Children’s Memorial Hospital for health reasons and surgeries that weren’t life threatening,” said Michelle of her two girls, students at Aurora Central Catholic High School. “They saw kids who were sick in the hallways, and they knew how fortunate they were.”

For the Sugar Grove family, those images may have resonated with the girls but each one has a different perspective. Audrey, 14, a freshman, said it was because they watched their mother make the blankets for family members and friends for birthdays and football games. But it was more than that for Lauren, 17, a senior.

“This past winter I met a 6-year-old who had cancer in her eye,” Lauren said. The encounter came through cheerleading, and the girl was hosted at a basketball game. “She inspired me to help kids.”

The girls also are required to complete service hours for graduation, and the project came together when they did a search online for the hospital to see what its needs are. Each pediatric patient is given a blanket that goes home with him or her.

“Making the blankets takes a while, but I think about how happy they will make the kids,” said Audrey of the no-sew fleece blankets. “They get to keep them forever.”

Since June, the girls have made 75, which includes 25 blankets that one girl at Aurora Central made after a faculty member announced what the girls were doing. Family members gave them fabric and financial donations.

They acknowledge the difficult part will be taking the blankets to the hospital, because they won’t be able to give them to the children themselves. All the blankets must be laundered and sealed before donating.

“I’m really proud of them,” their mom said. “They started to do this to help others, but I think it has helped them just as much. They see they are able to make a difference no matter their ages or resources.”

The affect on Lauren has extended into her future, though. After spending her childhood playing school and wanting to be a teacher, she has decided to become a nurse.

“The whole experience of meeting this girl changed what I want to do,” Lauren said.

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