Feature Stories

Journeying from Star Wars® to blankets

June 13, 2018

Amanda Martyn, Senior Quality Assurance Analyst at Baylis Medical, picked up a crochet hook for the first time when her husband gave her a book on how to crochet Star Wars characters. She quickly began crocheting Star Wars-themed toys for her son, Jay.

Two years later, although she is no longer creating an army of Stormtroopers® for her son to enjoy, she still uses yarn for a different purpose - providing comfort and a feeling of security to children who are "seriously ill, traumatized or otherwise in need."1 

The Baylis Yarncraft ClubShe and other devoted members of the Baylis Yarncraft Club are doing this by making blankets for Project Linus, an organization appropriately named after the beloved Peanuts character, Linus van Pelt, who is rarely seen without his blue security blanket. In addition to monetary donations and knitting supplies, Project Linus also accepts finished blankets that are given to children ranging in ages from a few months old to 18 years.

As one of its four core values, social responsibility, which includes giving back to the community, is not new to Baylis. The company has a group of employee volunteers, including Amanda, who make up For the Children (FTC), a charitable group which aims to improve the lives of children around the world through various initiatives.

​​​​"For members of FTC, looking for opportunities to support children has become ingrained in our day-to-day," said Amanda. "Project Linus was a natural fit."

The Yarncraft Club was inspired to contribute to Project Linus by the experience of two other Baylis colleagues. Jacob Oldham, the son of Baylis staff Research and Development Engineers Andrew and Lorraine Oldham, was born prematurely and has been in and out of the hospital since his birth.

"Jacob received a couple of blankets through Project Linus while he was staying at the hospital," said Lorraine. "Every time we've gotten a blanket, our hearts were warmed knowing that a complete stranger would care to take the time to do this for us."

By the end of this summer, the Yarncraft Club will have created a half-dozen handmade blankets to donate to Project Linus. Amanda and her Yarncraft Club cofounders - Regulatory and Scientific Affairs Team Leader, May Tsai, and Regulatory and Scientific Affairs Project Leader, Linda Wu - are currently teaching new club members how to crochet easy-to-make granny squares that will be combined to create two large-sized blankets so that all members, regardless of skill level, are able to contribute to the initiative. By the end of this summer, the Yarncraft Club will have created a half dozen handmade blankets to donate to Project Linus.

Whether it is developing innovative solutions to patient care or providing a blanket to a child in need, improving the lives of people around the world is at the heart of the Baylis culture.

1 Project Linus, 2018: http://www.projectlinus.org/about

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