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Cancer Survivor Gives Out Blankets, Encouragement To Patients

Katie Widmar

Cancer survivor Katie Widmar (left) and her mother, Cindy, give out blankets at Northwestern Memorial Hospital. (Credit: Steve Miller/WBBM Newsradio/CBS)

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CHICAGO (CBS) — More than five years now cancer-free, a 24-year-old Chicago woman is now in her fourth year of giving out blankets to hospitalized cancer patients.

As WBBM Newsradio’s Steve Miller reports, Katie Widmar was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma when she was 18. A blanket gave her comfort, and now she is giving out hundreds to adult cancer patients.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Steve Miller reports

“There’s so many things when you go into the children’s wards. There’s so much for them, and adults, when they’re sick, they need a blankie too,” Widmar said. “Everyone’s a big kid, especially when you’re sick.”

On Wednesday, Widmar was at the top of the Northwestern Memorial Hospital high-rise building.

In a large corner room with windows on two sides, a young woman, originally from India, sat in a chair. She is battling cancer.

When Widmar came in with a blanket as a gift, the woman shared her thoughts.

“Actually, I was a little bit scared,” she said. But I’m in good hands and I know I’m going to be good.”

This is the fourth year that Katie and her mother – and other volunteers – have given blankets to cancer patients.

Dick Frazier’s wife got a blanket from Widmar after she was diagnosed with cancer.

“It just touched us so much,” Frazier said.

Now Frazier is helping make and distribute the blankets at Northwestern. His wife died almost two years ago.

“It does make me feel good. Like I’m doing something in her memory that she would’ve wanted me to do.”