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  • Backyard pillowcase flyover. Photo courtesy Rhonda Buss.

    Backyard pillowcase flyover. Photo courtesy Rhonda Buss.

    Chicago woman working to collect 900 pillowcases for Mary Bridge

    by Halley Knigge

    July 4, 2013 update: 169 pillowcases, and counting!

    MultiCare Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital may not be the most obvious charity of choice for a Chicago seamstress. But it was the Tacoma, Wash. hospital that first inspired Rhonda Buss to give back, so it’s Mary Bridge driving her effort to collect 900 pillowcases to cheer sick children.

    Staff members at Mary Bridge collect donated, homemade pillowcases year-round, with the goal of giving a bright, cheerful pillowcase to every patient who comes to the hospital.

    The project spoke to Buss when she first learned of it at the 2013 Sewing & Stitchery Expo, a yearly consumer sewing show in Puyallup. This year’s attendees donated 4,596 pillowcases for Mary Bridge, inspiring Buss to join them.

    “I’ve been through this. It’s been kind of an ongoing saga throughout my adult life. I know when your body hurts, to be comfortable is such an important thing,” said Buss. “And to have something bright and cheery, and not only that, the fact that somebody made it.”

    So Buss set a goal – she would collect 900 pillowcases for young patients at Mary Bridge. And she wouldn’t do it alone.

    “Nine hundred is a lot to do,” says Buss. “So I thought, ‘Just ask and see,’ because if everybody did one – just one – I’d have it done in a day.”

    She put the call for help on her blog, Rhonda’s Creative Life, on March 12. Soon after, she had emails from people in Belgium, the Canary Islands, and around the U.S.

    “You never get anything if you don’t ask for it,” she said. “You know I thought it would be kind of a neat thing to do to just bring people together from all parts of the world.”

    Buss says it’s been exciting to watch the pillowcases arrive. She hopes to have 900 collected by the end of summer, and travel back to the Pacific Northwest to deliver them in person.

    “It’s not something I thought too much about and just decided it was something that was possible,” she said. “You just kind of take that big step and other things start happening that you never even expected.”

    Buss is a Chicago-based pilot who flies for a dog rescue charity. She also has a degree in fashion design, and spends her free time sewing, creating patterns, and writing about it on her blog: Rhonda’s Creative Life.

    Want to get involved? Download the pillowcase pattern here. Pillowcases must be made from machine-washable fabrics. Donations can be made year-round to the MultiCare Mary Bridge Children’s Health Center lobby at 311 S. L St. in Tacoma, or the main lobby of MultiCare Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital at 315 Martin Luther King Jr. Way.

    Posted on Jul 4, 2013 in