Lakeview teen looking for help in sewing pillows for patients

By Curtis Wildfong • Last Updated 10:44 am on Thursday, January 16, 2014

Lakeview High School junior Kennedy Cogswell, 16, is spearheading a project, coined “Courage 4-H Pillow Project,” which will result in more than 600 pillows for patients and residents at local hospitals and senior homes. Cogswell is hosting an event at 1 p.m. Saturday at the Montcalm Township Hall and is asking anyone willing to donate time or materials to participate in putting together the final couple of hundred pillows to be donated. — Daily News/Curtis Wildfong

MONTCALM TOWNSHIP — It’s taken hours upon hours of cutting, sewing and stuffing, and there is still plenty more to do.

The goal for one Lakeview teenager is to make 550 pressure pillows to be distributed to community hospitals and nursing homes.

“The purpose is to help prevent bedsores. People can put them where pressure points are and they are a comfortable item for them,” said Kennedy Cogswell, a 16-year-old junior at Lakeview High School.

She plans to donate the pillows for use by patients and residents at Heartland Hospice Services of Fremont and Spectrum Health Kelsey Hospital in Lakeview.

“For those people it takes so much courage to get up each day and fight their illnesses,” said Cogswell, who has coined her efforts “The Courage 4-H Pillow Project.” “I feel like I help make their illness a little more comfortable. I want it to be as easy for them as possible. They are going through so much already.”

The idea came to her as she watched her grandfather, Keith Dines, struggle with body pain while receiving hospice services at his home.

“It made a difference in how he felt and how he sat,” she said of her grandfather, who died last August.

Noticing how much the pillow eased his pain, Cogswell kickstarted the project two years ago. She made anywhere from 45 to 60 pillows in the first two years, but wanted to up the ante in the third year.

“This year I wanted to make so many more because they are really appreciated,” she said. “I’ve gotten calls from people asking for them.”

Kelsey and Heartland have each requested 50 pillows. It’s apparent the pillows are appreciated because of the demand for more.

“From the first year she did it I thought it was a great idea,” said Cogswell’s mother Kelly Dines, adding seeing the importance of the pillows to patients and residents “melts your heart.”

With donated fabric from VJ’s Materia -N-More in Lakeview and stuffing from Petersen Farms in Greenville, Cogswell, who has already personally sewn more than 30 pillows this year, has a jump start on the goal. But she is hoping for a helping hand … well, a lot of helping hands.

Cogswell is hosting a gathering 1 p.m. Saturday at Montcalm Township Hall, located at 1880 S. Greenville Road (M-91), with friends, family and fellow 4-H members to put together the final few hundred for this year’s donation. Of the 650 pillows already being requested, Cogswell said she still has around 450 to make.

“My goal is to fulfill that,” she said, or even exceed it. “Even though they need 550, my hope is to make 600.

Any leftover pillows will be donated to Twin Oaks Retirement Home in Gowen and the Greenville United Memorial Hospital’s longterm care.

Anyone is welcome to stop in and help with the pillows or donate Saturday during the event. For more information, call Kelly Dines at (989) 213-2211.

“There are a variety of things we could use,” Dines said.

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