Long Beach Medical Center nurse Kandice Winn, RN, took three trips in her father’s pick-up truck to unload more than 300 blankets for patients at the MemorialCare Todd Cancer Institute at Long Beach Medical Center. Thanks to her efforts and assistance from Tara Stein, mentor and WINGS volunteer, cancer patients are able to continue snuggling up with a warm blanket in their room.

Volunteers hand out blankets to patients to provide physical and emotional comfort during treatment as an added comfort measure to patients. A year ago, the Todd Cancer Institute’s main blanket donor stopped providing blankets for its patients, and since then, blanket supply has been very low. While Tara was passing out blankets to patients, she realized that the number of blankets in the supply closet was nearing zero, so she decided to take action.

“I was once a cancer patient at Long Beach Medical Center,” says Tara. “I know how much comfort these blankets give patients. That’s what urged me to find a way to replenish the supply.”

Tara contacted Kandice about the blanket shortage, which immediately caused Kandice to reach out to friends and family for donations.

“My original goal was to receive 20 blankets,” says Kandice, “but with the love of friends and family, we were able to far surpass that.”

Kandice worked endlessly asking friends and family for blanket donations, and in doing so, she reconnected with a friend who is a teacher at Bell Intermediate School. She invited Kandice to speak at an assembly to educate students about cancer, the effects of chemotherapy and how cancer is a widespread disease that affects millions of people throughout the world, which inspired the students to give back by giving blankets.

“I never thought that the amount of support from our community would be this great,” Kandice said. “I’m incredibly grateful for the generosity of Bell Intermediate’s students and community members for donating blankets and improving the lives of our patients.”

With an initial goal of 20 blankets, Kandice and Tara were able to reach more than 300. Because of the enormous donation, volunteers at the Todd Cancer Institute will be able to provide patients with blankets for another year.