Former Jefferson Woman Honors Her Mother by Crocheting Blankets for Cancer Patients

Longtime Jefferson resident Lori Ferrara passed away in September after a yearlong battle with cancer. Her daughter, Trisha Sabourin, told The Jefferson Chronicle that she was diagnosed with aggressive small cell lung cancer and fought through chemotherapy and radiation treatments. Sabourin was by her side, crocheting a blanket in which her mother would later wrap herself every day of her remaining life.

Sabourin recently launched a GoFundMe campaign to purchase yarn for crocheting blankets for other cancer patients. She noted that the blanket for her mom provided not only warmth, but also love, courage, and comfort. She wants to give these gifts to others battling cancer.

A “Cuddles for Courage” blanket crocheted by Trisha Sabourin. (Photo courtesy of Trisha Sabourin)

According to Sabourin, her mother had immense love for her daughter and three sons. “My mom was my best friend – my whole world.” Lori Ferrara, who worked at the Milton Inn for 20 years, was also a beloved member of the community. Sabourin hopes that the blankets will honor her mother and create a lasting legacy, making tangible that love and tight-knit bond.

Hug with Love

Trisha Sabourin lives in Massachusetts. When Ferrara was diagnosed in July 2017, her daughter spent every weekend with her in New Jersey, and also took weeks off from her work as an elementary school counselor during hospitalizations. As a gift last Christmas, she gave her mom the blanket along with a poem in which she referred to it as “a hug from me until I am back home at last.” The poem reads in part, “I will be here for you always, Mom, and love you with all my heart. Please use this blanket and think of me for when we are apart.” Sabourin’s favorite picture shows her mother wrapped up in the “hug with love.”

Last December, Ferrara received a cancer-free diagnosis: a true Christmas miracle for the family. However, by the end of March, the cancer had metastasized, and she started chemotherapy again. Sabourin moved back to New Jersey in June to be with her mother until her passing on September 20.

The Strength of a Single Strand of Yarn

Trisha Sabourin’s background as a school counselor has given her insight into trauma and how a hug – a feeling of pressure – can ease anxiety. “If something as simple as wrapping up in a cozy blanket can give that extra comfort, a glimmer of hope … something as simple as yarn made into a blanket,” she said, “then I would make them for the rest of my life.”

While crocheting blankets for family members and seeing the joy and love in their faces, Sabourin realized the impact she could have by providing comfort and support for individuals going through the toughest time of their lives. Making the blankets was also personally therapeutic, helping to ease her own loss.

Her preferred yarn is Bernat Blanket, a chenille style praised for its soft and cozy feel. According to Sabourin, blankets made with Bernat are warmer, thicker, and more insulating, and they hold up well. She is also willing to crochet blankets using any donated yarn.

Trisha Sabourin’s preferred yarn is Bernat Blanket, a chenille style praised for its soft and cozy feel when crocheting her “Cuddles for Courage” blankets. (Photo courtesy of Trisha Sabourin)

It takes about 20 hours to create one blanket. Sabourin likes to make them large enough to completely cover patients as they receive treatment, enabling them to feel warm and supported.

Initially, the blankets will be donated to the places where Ferrara received love and kindness throughout her fight. The first batch will be given to Sparta Cancer Center, where her mother underwent chemotherapy and radiation. Sabourin is grateful to all the nurses and doctors who helped them throughout those challenging times. Eventually, she will expand the donations into Massachusetts.

“Cuddles for Courage” blankets crocheted by Trisha Sabourin. (Photo courtesy of Trisha Sabourin)

How to Help

Visit Trisha Sabourin’s GoFundMe campaign, Cuddles for Courage, at www.gofundme.com/cuddles-for-courage-honoring-lori-ferrara.

Follow her story on Facebook, which includes pictures of Lori Ferrara and the blankets as well as updates: https://www.facebook.com/cuddlesforcourage. There is also a link to the GoFundMe campaign.

Yarn or monetary donations can be mailed to Cuddles for Courage, c/o Ferrara Family, 5 Patti Lane, Oak Ridge, NJ 07438.

For additional information, email cuddlesforcourage@gmail.com.

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