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April 2, 2013 > Case for Caring: No pillow talk, just love in action

Case for Caring: No pillow talk, just love in action

By M. J. Laird

All her life Bonnie Kellogg of Fremont has made the case for caring through her actions and donations to help others in need. Now she has launched an organization with that name, "Case for Caring," providing colorful, personalized pillow cases for pediatric oncology patients often stuck for days, even weeks, in sterile, white hospital rooms.

Kellogg became aware of the need for brightly-colored pillow cases when she visited her niece in Illinois last fall, who works as a pediatric oncology nurse. She vividly recalls the animated, emotional conversation where her niece described experiences of children with cancer checking into hospital rooms with all-white surroundings. A spark lit their eyes and joy spread across their faces when discovering a kid-friendly pillow, popping with colorful Sesame Street characters, sitting on the bed intended just for them. To the children, the message was clear: someone cared.

"As she told that story, I knew I had to do something about this," Kellogg recalls. "She was so inspiring to me because of what she had experienced. The story just touched my heart. She was just telling me about her job, and obviously, it got to me in a big way."

With the need indelibly etched in her mind, Kellogg returned to Fremont and told web designer Lisa Stambaugh about the experience. Overnight Stambaugh designed a logo and created a website to recruit volunteers to sew and donate pillowcases for Bay Area pediatric oncology beds.

Launched during the December holidays, the not-for-profit organization crawled more slowly than Kellogg would have liked. Now she is reaching out to Girl Scout troops, quilting organizations like the Piecemakers Quilt Guild of Southern Alameda County, and individuals asking them to follow directions on the web site and sew pillowcases or make cloth or cash donations so others can sew up a case. Her niece, ecstatic with the idea of receiving 100 pillowcases has been calling: "When can I get some?" Patients at Lucile Packard Children's Hospital in Palo Alto will become the first Bay Area recipients.

Kellogg intends most cases to land on beds locally, but she also envisions Case for Caring taking off nationwide, with affiliates in large cities supplying their area hospitals, especially in the state of Illinois.

Kellogg has contacted Bay Area sewing teacher Michelle Zeiler who coordinated the 13th annual Sew for Love event held in San Jose, February 8-10. Kellogg asked Zeiler to include pillowcases on the priority list of Sew for Love.

Zeiler, who teaches locally in Fremont at Niles' Not Just Quiltz, invited people to bring their own sewing machines to help sew for charity over the three days. She set a goal of 1,000 items, which included pillow cases for pediatric wards of Bay Area hospitals.

Kellogg, who invented Fix-A-Stitch, a knitting tool to patch up mistakes quickly and has a patent pending, has organized Case for Caring as a recipient through a small foundation she established to raise money for training people whose early life or situations prevented them from gaining education or skills needed to lead a productive life, giving them a second chance. The Point/ARC of Covington, Kentucky, and Fire Mountain Programs in Colorado have benefited from her fundraising. The Point recognized her last year with an award for her outstanding contribution to their program, which has operated a restaurant and laundries to provide employment for disabled people.

Making the case for helping others is no problem for Kellogg. Her challenge now is convincing others to just join in stitching pillow cases to make a difference to pediatric oncology patients. For more information, contact Kellogg at: http://caseforcaring.org/

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