HOWELL – A local Girl Scout has been awarded the Girl Scout Silver Award after donating over 700 masks and 100 pillows to hospitals in the area.
Allison Quinn from Howell received her Girl Scout Silver Award for teaching others how to sew masks, chemo port pillows, pillowcases, and mastectomy pillows for those who are going through cancer treatment and surgery.
It all started when Allison’s mother Kelly was diagnosed with breast cancer in June of 2019. That winter, Allison started taking sewing lessons and with her sister decided to ask her sewing instructor how to make something for the seat belt to cover the port for chemo. They made the port pillow along with a bigger mastectomy pillow for the recovery.
“I had brought the pillows to the hospital and the nurses asked where I got them,” Allison’s mother Kelly said. “They said they would be happy to take some if Allison wanted to donate, and give them to the patients because they saw that it was comforting and helpful through the recovery.”
When COVID-19 came in March of this year, Allison started to make masks for the patients and nurses at the hospitals. She started donating her masks and pillows to Robert Wood Johnson, CentraState and Riverview Medical Center.
“It kind of snowballed into this year-long project. Then she wanted to teach others how to sew, so she made a video since she can’t do it in person because of COVID-19. She made a video to share with friends and other Girl Scouts how to make the masks so they can be donated as well. It turned out to be really nice,” Kelly said.
Allison even started taking orders from people who were going through treatment. One patient asked for a ChapStick holder. Another asked for aromatherapy heating pads. She wanted to make anything that would make them feel comfortable.
Allison, who has been a Girl Scout for about seven years, received the Girl Scout Silver Award for completing over 50 hours of community service. She also had to create a sustainable project, whether it was teaching someone something or starting an organization or a non-profit. The project had to stand on its own so as you move on, it can run without the person independently.
“She received her Bronze Award first when she was younger, now Silver is the next level, it’s a little bit more independent without a leader,” Kelly said. “She had to write up a proposal of her project and present it to the Girl Scouts Committee so they can approve it before she can get started, then she had to check in with them after each one of her proposals was completed, send pictures and write ups about what she did.”
Allison said she completed the whole project about a month ago and the result was about 700 masks and 50 to 100 pillows donated to local hospitals.
“She has a whole living room of pillows that will soon be donated to Riverview,” said Kelly.
The project has become so massive that the community started to get involved to help Allison. When word got out, residents started donating fabric and Poly-Fil. Some days she would find fabric left on her porch and other materials to support her sewing projects.
Allison said that she plans on keeping this an ongoing project. “I love to volunteer, I love to volunteer with animals, and love to give back to the community because I love seeing what comfort it brings to others,” Allison said.