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'Warm Up WNY' drive collecting comforts for young hospital patients

Michael Mroziak/WBFO News

From now through New Year's Day, Women and Children's Hospital is asking for donations of new blankets and socks for their young patients. The drive, known as Warm Up WNY, is designed to collect what doctors say brings a much-needed psychological boost to young patients. State Senator Tim Kennedy is coordinating the effort along with the hospital.

"Parents have said that wrapping a small, scared child in a warm, cozy blanket, especially in the cold winter months, can make a world of difference in not only curbing any anxiousness, but providing a sense of warmth and familiarity that's often found only at home," Kennedy said at the hospital Tuesday.

Kennedy is just one of numerous state and local lawmakers whose offices will accept donations. All Erie County Department of Motor Vehicles offices are also accepting donations, as well as the North Buffalo Community Center and Fruitbelt Coalition's headquarters on Maple Street.

Sue Mirabella, Child Life Specialist at the hospital, says the blankets and socks go a long way toward easing the minds of the children they treat.

"The blankets help to take the chill off of a patient. They provide comfort, especially after procedures, and help to make the patient's stay, no matter how long or short, more relaxed and less anxious," Mirabella said.

The drive continues through January 1.

Michael Mroziak is an experienced, award-winning reporter whose career includes work in broadcast and print media. When he joined the WBFO news staff in April 2015, it was a return to both the radio station and to Horizons Plaza.