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Woman uses crochet to comfort hospital patients

WOODRIDGE – During the past year-and-a-half, a local woman has used the art of crocheting to bring hope and encouragement into hospital patients’ lives.

Shelly Nelson has crocheted and donated a dozen prayer shawls, 90 chemotherapy hats and 400 surgery pillows to Adventist Bolingbrook, Adventist GlenOaks, Adventist Hinsdale and Adventist La Grange memorial hospitals.

“As you crochet the shawls, you say prayers of healing, and then those are given to the patients as a piece of comfort,” said Nelson, whose grandmother taught her how to crochet when she was 8 years old.

Nelson said the surgery pillows can be used to relieve pressure where the patient has had surgery and ease his or her pain.

“That small pillow just gives them a little bit of comfort,” Nelson said. “If I can take away a small amount of their pain, then that’s what I should strive for.” 

The crocheted donations began because of the blessings she and her family received while visiting her 8-year-old nephew at the hospital for almost a month.

“I was a recipient of other people’s kindness,” Nelson said. “I want to give back for what I was given and hopefully make someone’s life a little easier. It’s the right thing to do.”

Many people want to help, but not everyone knows how, Nelson said.

“It’s amazing when people go the extra mile and reach out,” she said. “When you’re going through a rough time, sometimes the smallest gestures can make the biggest impacts.”

After Nelson crochets the pillows, caps and prayer shawls, she delivers them to the hospitals, and the nurses or staff pass them out to patients.

“I trust the hospital. They have a wonderful staff, and I depend on them,” Nelson said. “They know who needs the pillows the most.”

Nelson said it’s a privilege to donate to the hospitals.

“We all have talents and things we can do to give back to others,” Nelson said. “And once you find that, it’s very rewarding.”

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