As always, today’s HOPE Week details from the Yankees…
The New York Yankees are proud to hold the second day of HOPE Week 2013 (Helping Others Persevere & Excel) on Tuesday, July 9, by celebrating 10-year-old Autumn Blinn and her dedication to those in need through her “Pillows of Love” initiative. Yankees Manager Joe Girardi and players Robinson Cano, David Robertson, Vernon Wells and Jayson Nix will surprise Autumn and assist her in handing out homemade pillows to sick children at the Ronald McDonald House on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. The players, Autumn, and her family will spend time with the children, playing games in the playroom of the facility and having a pizza party. Autumn and her family are invited to Yankee Stadium for the 7:05 p.m. game vs. Kansas City, where they will watch batting practice from the field and be part of pregame on-field ceremonies.
Coping with a hospital stay of any length can be a scary proposition. Autumn Blinn, a 10-year-old from Rome, New York, realized this from spending time with her grandfather, John Santiago, who undergoes kidney dialysis three times a week at their local hospital, Faxton St. Luke’s in Utica.
Last year, when Autumn’s grandmother, Shari, taught her to sew, they decided to make a pillow for their first project. When her grandfather saw it, he asked if she could make him a pillow on which to rest his arm during dialysis. After John, a Bronx native, proudly showed off his pillow to other patients, Autumn realized that other dialysis patients could be uplifted by the gift of a pillow.
Without prompting, she dove into making “Pillows of Love” for as many people as possible. Over the last year, she has made approximately 175 pillows for sick children and adults.
Autumn has donated pillows to dialysis patients and pediatric patients at Faxton St. Luke’s, residents of the Rome Memorial Hospital facility in her hometown, and for children at both the Ronald McDonald House in Syracuse and Jacobi Hospital in the Bronx. Autumn continues to sew pillows during her free time between school, sports and spending time with her brothers, Justin, 8, and Thomas, 7, and her sister, Isabella, 4.
Photo from the Yankees of Autumn Blinn with her grandfather, John Santiago, after donating pillows at Faxton St. Luke’s Hospital in Utica