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Will go to children battling cancer, victims of Connecticut shooting

By KATIE FITZPATRICK

Staff writer

A project started Nov. 29 by members of the Prince Frederick Volunteer Rescue Squad originally designed to bring cheer to the lives of two children with cancer during the holidays quickly turned into an ongoing one for many children in need.

Lt. Summer Downs of the rescue squad said she and EMS Chief Stanis Inscoe originally were seeking donations of Christmas cards from county residents to send to two children with cancer.

“This all started because we were trying to get people to give us Christmas cards,” Downs said.

Downs said her brother-in-law has a brain tumor and knows a boy named Nathan, who has cancer, and “all he wanted was Christmas cards so he could have something to look at” during the holidays. Downs said she “wanted to go a step further with that” and soon, the idea formed to make quilts out of donated law enforcement patches for Nathan and Adam Lumpkins, a 5-year-old King George, Va., boy who has been battling leukemia nearly his whole life.

The quilts will be made of the patches and about 6 inches of open space will be left at the top of the quilt for the children’s names, Downs said.

Within “a day or two” of spreading the word that they were looking for patches, Downs said she had “hundreds of responses” from people looking to help. She said she set up a Facebook page for the program, which she called “Patches for Peds,” and, since then, has received donated patches from all over the world, including Australia and Canada.

Because the project received an overwhelming amount of donated patches, Downs said she decided to “make this an ongoing program for any kid” in need.

“A lot of these children admire the fire, EMS, military and police officials,” Downs said of why she decided to use the patches for the quilts.

After hearing about the Friday, Dec. 14, shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., which left 20 students and six teachers and administrators dead, Downs said she wanted to make the project “even bigger.” She said a quilt is going to be made for each victim of the shooting and will be sent either to the victim’s families or the school.

To date, more than 300 patches have been collected, Downs said, but one quilt requires 30 patches. The two for Adam and Nathan have been completed, but Downs said many more donations of patches are needed to make the quilts for the victims of the shooting. Downs said donations of toys also are being accepted.

Currently, two people have volunteered to sew the quilts together, and Downs said anyone who is willing to help sew can bring their sewing machine to the rescue squad.

To volunteer or donate patches, contact Downs at 240-882-1792 or email her at PatchesForPeds@yahoo.com. Patches also can be dropped off at the rescue squad at 755 S. Solomons Island Road in Prince Frederick, or mailed to Downs at P.O. Box 346, Prince Frederick, MD 20678.

kfitzpatrick@somdnews.com