Jill’s Blankets began unofficially in 2010 when Jill Ward saw a need firsthand. While undergoing chemotherapy treatment for pancreatic cancer Jill was given a double-fleece blanket to keep her warm. Chemotherapy treatment often leaves patients cold and shivering, and Jill quickly realized how few blankets were available to patients. To remedy this problem, she decided to make blankets and deliver them to patients at local hospitals. She did this even as her own cancer weakened her and she began using a walker. That was Jill; she was a friend to all regardless of her own personal trials. Two friends worked with Jill to help fulfill her mission and even promised that they would carry on her work after she died.
Following Jill’s death in July 2013, these friends reached out to a few others who knew her, asking for their support in making blankets. In the course of making a dozen blankets at their first gathering, they felt a great sense of purpose: they had honored Jill by showing care and compassion for those in need. The second event was inspiring. It drew a much larger group of volunteers, and blanket numbers soared. Due to the success of these events, five volunteers met to discuss the possibility of turning Jill’s mission into an official 501(c)(3). Soon after, Jill’s Blanket’s was born on April 21, 2014, with those five volunteers serving as the board.