Woman sews hundreds of quilts for patients at Florida Hospital
'You don't know how what you do touches somebody'
ORLANDO, Fla. – A crafting project has quickly become an assembly line for handmade quilts inside one woman's home.
Beth Saffer started quilting after a trip to a local fabric store with her daughter. She met a nurse who worked in the neonatal intensive care unit and was looking for patterns to make isolette covers for the hospital.
"I didn't work, I just wanted to start quilting, so I found an outlet for them," Saffer said.
Since she began quilting, Saffer has sewn 817 isolette covers, quilts, Christmas stockings and pillowcases for children at Florida Hospital.
The bright patterns are chosen specifically because the babies see the covers as soon as they start opening their eyes.
NICU child life specialist Summer Bernath said oftentimes the quilts are more for the parents than they are for the kids.
"The lingo is different, and the expectations are different, and they really lack a lot of control. Because they can't control what their baby's body is doing, and so that leads to a lot of anxiety," Bernath said.
Bernath said without Saffer's donations, the hospital would not be able to provide quilts for each pediatric patient.
Parents who lose their children to illness in the hospital take Saffer's quilts home.
"Which is so so important, because they're not old enough to have built a legacy yet," Bernath said.
Saffer sews labels on every quilt to let parents know they are handmade, but she doesn't normally meet the families.
She did get to meet the family of one baby in the NICU in February, and called the experience emotional.
"You don't know how what you do touches somebody," Saffer said.
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