Teen to bring blankets to children at hospital

12/17/2012

By RACHAEL GRAY

By RACHAEL GRAY

rgray@gctelegram.com

While most people plan to spend Christmas Eve with family at home, 15-year-old Haley Finch will be visiting St. Catherine Hospital.

The Garden City High School sophomore will be delivering blankets to patients. And not just any blankets — blankets she made herself after raising money around town.

On Christmas Eve, Finch will deliver 40 blankets to children at St. Catherine.

Finch's involvement with St. Catherine began last summer, when she was a part of the Volunteen program.

"The experience made me know that I want to be a part of that," she said.

While volunteering, Finch got to see all areas of the hospital.

"I saw everything — the good and the bad," she said.

Before starting the program, Finch had wanted to be an X-ray technician. Now, she wants to become a radiologist. She has her plan mapped out. She will graduate a year early from GCHS, attend Garden City Community College for two years and then finish her degree at Fort Hays State University.

Then she wants to return home.

"I would really love to come back and work for this hospital," she said.

Finch always has been interested in the human body.

"I like the structure of the body, being able to look at a picture or an X-ray, and knowing what is causing pain or discomfort," she said. At GCHS, Finch is in the Academy of Trade and Health Sciences.

Her favorite class she has taken is Health Career Investigations.

"You learn the history of medicine, and bone structures, and everything. It's just a broad health class," she said.

Finch spent about 70 hours volunteering this summer, according to Shari Brandenburg, volunteer coordinator.

Brandenburg said Finch already has what it takes to make it in the medical field.

"She is one of the teens that just understood right away what it takes to be a nurse, doctor or work in the hospital. She understood the time restraints and caught on right away. She was interested in absolutely everything," she said.

Brandenburg said Finch is wise beyond her years.

"She is personable, a hard worker and bright. She asks a lot of questions," she said.

In addition to her volunteer service, staff at St. Catherine are appreciative of the blankets.

"And this is something she did all on her own. It wasn't for a Buff project or another project," Brandenburg said.

Finch said the goal with the blankets is to keep children comfortable.

"I thought a lot about what a child would want in the hospital. When you're there, you want security. These will be something comfortable that they can hug," she said.

Finch said she thought Christmas would be a good time to give the blankets.

"With the holiday season coming along, it's a time of giving," she said.

Finch made all 40 of the blankets herself. She used different patterns and materials for the soft, no-sew, tied blankets. Each blanket costs about $20 and takes about an hour to an hour-and-a-half to make," she said.

Finch thanks her sponsors — Keller and Miller, Palmer Manufacturing, Baker Boot, Triple A Pawn Shop, Western Motor, American Implement, Dales Furniture — and other donations in the community.

She's looking forward to delivering the blankets on Christmas Eve.

"I'll be like an early Santa," she said.

What she's looking forward to the most is the look on the children's faces.

"I just want to see their faces. I'm extremely ready to do my part in Christmas giving and give these blankets. I hope this is a tradition that will continue," she said.

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