In 2012, Mt. Laurel resident Meghan Vizzard started a group called Cozies 4 Chemo where volunteers would make blankets to donate to cancer patients going to chemotherapy. She came up with the idea when her cousin was undergoing chemotherapy treatments.
Little did she know how much her group would grow in a matter of two years.
Cozies 4 Chemo has grown into a community happening in Mt. Laurel. Numerous youth organizations participate in making blankets annually to donate to cancer centers around the country.
Vizzard’s mom, Jeanna, said the project has grown in leaps and bounds over the past year. Cozies 4 Chemo is held at multiple locations across the area during the Martin Luther King Day of Service and also holds a 5K each year. The organization also received a 501C nonprofit designation earlier in 2014. Jeanna serves as the organization’s president.
“Since March of 2012, we’ve delivered over 2,100 blankets,” she said. “Most of those have come really in the last year.”
Meghan, now 14 years old and a freshman at Lenape High School, participated in a Cozies 4 Chemo event with her classmates prior to Thanksgiving. For this community service project, the students made more than 30 blankets for patients at Providence Pediatric Medical Day Care in Camden.
“Their Atlantic City facility requested blankets, and then we found out their Camden facility needed them,” Jeanna said.
Because Cozies 4 Chemo sends blankets to patients in 28 different states and as far away as Alaska, the organizations typically ship them. With Providence being so close to home, however, Meghan and other volunteers got to deliver the blankets in-person. The experience reminded her of why she started the organization.
“Being able to give the blankets to other people is really great,” Meghan said. “This is kind of just what we’ve always wanted to do. Seeing everyone’s reactions is great.”
Cozies 4 Chemo has been able to grow thanks to a large amount of community volunteers.
“It’s been a lot of word of mouth and Facebook,” Jeanna said about promoting Cozies 4 Chemo. “We do have a Facebook page where we promote the groups that worked with us.”
Jeanna said many organizations now make blankets on a regular basis. Many of the kids have looked up to Meghan as an inspiration.
“We do a lot with these groups, and Meghan goes out and talks to these groups,” Jeanna said. “She’s been a role model for younger kids to get involved. There’s not a lot of opportunities for younger kids to get involved.”
“A lot of young people don’t know how important getting involved is,” Meghan said. “We can get so many more people involved.”
Meghan credits her mom for helping to make Cozies 4 Chemo as big as it is. She said Jeanna has dedicated a large amount of her time toward making the project a success.
“My mom helps out the most,” Meghan said. “She puts a lot of the time into it. She does a lot of the work, and then the groups make a lot of the blankets.”
Cozies 4 Chemo is always looking for more volunteers to do multiple jobs. The organization accepts monetary donations as well donations of materials to make the blankets. Volunteers are also needed to help pack, ship and distribute the blankets.
For more information on Cozies 4 Chemo, visit www.cozies4chemo.org or check out their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/cozies4chemo.