The Tommy Foundation
After my mom passed away, I immediately moved my dad to be closer to me because he suffered from dementia as well as several other debilitating diseases. My dad struggled on a daily basis finding conversation, purpose in his days, and trying to remember my mom passed away. I started having my dad help me make the blankets. We would talk about the program and who we were making them for. The daily conversation gently reminded my dad that my mom was gone. In the beginning, my dad was able to actually cut the fabrics and tie the knots around the edges. As the year progressed, my dad declined quickly, so we would sit together and we would tie the knots together. Conversation was always difficult, but with the blanket between us, we would just quietly work together. It was incredibly peaceful for the two of us. It allowed my dad to relax and he actually would remember stories of the past and share them with me. Towards the end of my dad's life, the blanket would keep my him warm and I would sit with him and tie the knots. I had my dad for a year after my mom passed away, and the blankets gave us such a special time together. I never imagined two pieces of fleece could bring such comfort, first to those who suffer from dementia and for people fighting cancer.
My goal for the Tommy Foundation is to provide each cancer patient the same comforts and peace the blanket brought my mom while they are going through chemotherapy. The program has been expanded to provide families who visit their loved ones in a memory care unit a project that will ease the difficulties of conversation and provide purpose in their loved ones life. The blankets are then collected and distributed to my local hospital's cancer unit.
Tommy was my mom's nickname given to her by her father!