Vanessa J. Szalapski

4:21 PM, Jan 9, 2013   |    comments
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"Find something you enjoy doing and spread the joy." 

For 18 year old Vanessa Szalapski, joy comes in the form of a warm blanket. Because as an ice skater, she says, "I'm cold all the time." So it's not surprising that three years ago, after getting a fleece blanket as a gift, she decided to start making blankets to spread warmth to others. She made blankets at the rink during ice breaks. Then other skaters in the Braemar City of Lakes Figure Skating Club wanted to help. She says she couldn't bring the fleece in fast enough. 

Together they have now handcrafted more than 65 blankets and 100 pillows, all of which Szalapski has delivered to children on the cancer and mental health floors at Fairview-University Children's hospital. Through bake sales, a blanket raffle, a skating exhibition and donations, Vanessa has raised more than $2,000 to pay for the materials. And she's not done. She and her fellow skaters are now starting a new project that is sure to warm up more hospital rooms--making fleece hats for cancer patients. "It gives you a much broader perspective of the world." 

Designated Charity: Operation Snuggles

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