Comforting Kids, One Case at a Time

4 years 11 months 1 week ago December 22, 2011 Dec 22, 2011 Thursday, December 22 2011 Thursday, December 22, 2011 8:46:00 AM CST in News
Source: Mary Anne Patten
By: Cody Lee Heyveld

VERSAILLES - In the midst of the holiday season, the spirit of giving is all around. Nine-year-old Averee Hooper decided to make her season of giving a yearlong project, using her sewing skills to help kids with cancer.

Averee made her first pillowcase as a Missouri 4-H project for the Morgan County fair this past summer. After her grandmother died of cancer, Averee became determined to do something for others who suffer from cancer and other serious diseases.

She calls her project "Pocketful of Sunshine," from the title of a pop song. "It talks about taking a person to a better place and I thought that's a good name," Averee said.

"[Pocketful of Sunshine] has grown phenomenally from this one little pillowcase that she made as her first project in sewing," said University of Missouri Extension 4-H youth specialist Mary Anne Patten. "She brought it to the county fair, then it went to the state fair, and then she decided she was going to do these pillowcases for the children at the hospital."

She decided to make 57 pillowcases a month for a whole year for sick children in local hospitals. So far, Averee has made more than 200 pillowcases and goes through many yards of fabric to make 57 pillowcases a month.

"People [from all over the state] have heard about this project and so they're donating fabric or money so she can buy more fabric to make the pillowcases," Patten said.

Averee teamed up with ConKerr Cancer, an organization that has delivered more than 430,000 cheerful pillowcases to children in hospitals across the country. Averee's goal is to make sure all seriously ill kids in local hospitals receive one of her pillowcases.

She recently had the chance to meet 9-year-old Aliyah Earickson, who received pillowcases during her stay at MU Children's Hospital in Columbia. "The hospital pillowcases are plain white. [Averee's] are colorful and they have people's favorite things on them," said Aliyah. "They're just amazing."

Averee never dreamed of the impact her project would make on her community.

This will also be airing as a Sarah's Story coming in January.

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