Piedmont women making pillowcases for children with life-changing illnesses

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WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. -- Some Piedmont women are using their sewing talents to make pillowcases for children with life-changing illnesses.

The pillowcases support kids at Brenner Children’s Hospital and the Ronald McDonald House of Winston-Salem.

That effort is part of the local impact of the organization Ryan’s Case for Smiles, which has chapters throughout the United States and Canada.

“I really felt like the Lord was looking at me, you know, why is there not a chapter in Winston-Salem with a big hospital here,” Cynthia Harris said.

Harris started the chapter in 2012.

“I have told people many times, I don’t have an explanation for why it means so much, it’s just a little thing. It’s just a pillowcase, but for some reason it means a lot,” Harris said.

The impact the gesture has on families is part of why it’s not difficult to find volunteers.

Volunteer Melanie Moser is the point person for finding lively fabrics.

“That gives the child a chance to have something that’s their own, something that’s bright and cheerful in that hospital room,” Moser said.

Once or twice a year, Piedmont volunteers will hold large events where hundreds of pillowcases are made in a single day.

Pam Hooker coordinates those events.

“We have a commitment to deliver 150 [pillowcases] to Brenner and 50 to Ronald McDonald House each month,” Hooker said.

Volunteers also sew along with the children at Brenner.

“I sewed with a teenage girl at Brenner who had lost one of her arms to her cancer and she was so thrilled with her pillowcase,” Harris said.

It takes a lot of work and perhaps even more love to do this, and what keeps them going is knowing that what they are part of is so much bigger than them.

“This is not about the wonderful volunteers that we have. It’s all about these children and the needs that they have and their families. That’s what it’s all about,” Harris said.

At the end of the event held throughout the day Tuesday, volunteers had more than 650 pillowcases ready to be packaged for the children.

The group is always looking for volunteers.

Even if you don’t know how to sew, there is a way you can serve.

The best way to get in touch with the group is through its Facebook Page at “Ryan’s Case For Smiles – Winston-Salem NC Chapter.”