Downtown Arlington business Magic Shears is holding their annual blanket and item drive for local cancer patients this month.
Debbie Howell, co-owner of the longtime Arlington business with her husband, collects donations at her business in remembrance of her son who passed away from cancer.
“I’ve been doing it for 13 years and it is in memory of our son Cameron and several friends that we’ve lost,” she said.
She said visits to the hospital with her son inspired her to do the drive.
“I found that there was nothing to do for those six or eight hours and he was always cold even though he was a big six foot, 200 pound football player. So I started out with just trying to get some lap blankets and something to keep patients occupied,” she said.
Her drive has collected things like lap blankets, small games, books, puzzles, coloring books, crayons, stationery, envelopes and stuffed animals to give to local cancer patients.
“I got and buy journals, glitter pens and stuff for the teens because they kind of get left out,” said Howell.
“Anything that you could think of if you were in the hospital and needed something to do,” Howell said.
The donated items can provide some support for patients going through what is likely one of the toughest parts of their lives.
“The biggest thing is making them comfortable with what they’re going through, because it’s a very emotional thing,” said Howell.
“It’s a very cold and sterile type thing to go in for chemo,” she said.
The donated items are being given to the Everett Cancer Center this year. Previously they had been going to Cascade Valley Hospital, however they changed their policy recently to not allow any handmade donations.
“I have several elderly ladies who make homemade quilts and scarves and hats every year,” said Howell, and she wanted to continue with those donations this year.
Howell said she fills her truck with donated items each year and thanked the community for their help with the drive.
“I’ve just had a great response from Arlington all these years, they have been very supportive,” she said.
“Everybody has been touched with cancer one way or the other,” she said.
Howell said that keeping the driving going each year is important to her.
“It makes me feel like I’m helping something in the name of Cameron. I know how much he and several of my friends would appreciate us continuing this,” she said.
Donations will be collected at Magic Shears at 306 N. Olympic Ave., Arlington until Dec. 22. The hair salon is open seven days a week.