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Scarsdale's Jansen Hospice Patients Warmed By Lap Robe Effort

Bobbe Kastner, left, is a volunteer knitter in the Jansen Hospice lap robe program, and originator Valerie Schneer of Tuckahoe made the blanket on the right.
Bobbe Kastner, left, is a volunteer knitter in the Jansen Hospice lap robe program, and originator Valerie Schneer of Tuckahoe made the blanket on the right. Photo Credit: Jansen Hospice

SCARSDALE, N.Y. -- When a Jansen Hospice volunteer lost a close friend to cancer, her experience of loss turned into a heart- and body-warming project to make lap robes for patients in the Scarsdale medical facility.

Valerie Schneer of Tuckahoe said her friend “Was the love of my life. I always made stuff for him and took care of him. I missed doing that, and wanted to continue the tradition.”

When Schneer came to Jansen to donate homemade blankets, Volunteer Coordinator Laura Hanlon turned it into a new volunteer activity that makes everyone feel better. Blankets are called “lap robes,” she said, because “They are perfectly sized to keep someone warm when they are sitting or resting in a wheelchair.”

The lap-robe program was welcomed by volunteers who knit and crochet blankets. Bobbe Kastner of Scarsdale volunteered as soon as she heard about the lap robe initiative.

“I’ve been knitting forever,” she said. “I have tons of yarn and all sorts of colors. It doesn’t feel like work, it’s simply something I like to do.”

In fact, Schneer received a letter and a photograph from a patient’s daughter, showing her mother with her new lap robe. She wanted Schneer to know what a positive impact she had on her mother’s well being.

“Giving lap robes to hospice patients lets them know someone is thinking about them,” Schneer said. “They’re not cut off from the world -- people know they exist.”

Blankets can be homemade or purchased, and are donated to hospice patients in community nursing homes. If you are interested in volunteering, contact Laura Hanlon at (914)-787-6158.

For information on becoming a volunteer, click here .

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