MADEIRA BEACH, Florida - This week, students from Madeira Beach Fundamental School will be delivering a surprise to a local hospital: a pile of handmade fleece blankets. Enough, in fact, for every bed at All Children's Hospital in St. Petersburg.
"I think they're really going to like them. They're really soft," says student Emma Clark.
About 90 kids volunteered their time after school to create blankets in all different prints, from tie dye to paw prints to a Gators-themed blanket that hopefully won't go to a Seminoles fan.
"What can start as a small gift from somebody else can grow into a bigger gift for other people," says sixth-grade math teacher Betsy Mauro.
The blanket project started when Mauro's son, Christopher, was diagnosed with leukemia. The shocking news inspired her class to make a difference, and the project has only grown from there.
When Christopher heard about it "it was just one of the greatest feelings in the world," he says. "Because the same thing was done for me when I was in the hospital."
When he was first in the hospital, a patient gave him a handmade blanket.
"There was true happiness, if you think about it, because someone who had gone through all this before, to bring in something for people who are going to be going through it themselves, it was just a great feeling," he says.
It's also a great feeling for the students making the blankets.
"We get to help all of those children who, on Christmas Eve, are going to be stuck in a hospital," says student Michelle Piotrowski. "It really shows that kids can make a difference."