June 18, 2021
Thoughtful is one way to describe Gail Theile of Maineville, Ohio. Retired from her 27-year career in real estate, she makes a quiet life with her partner, Hugh, and her dog, Itzy Bitzy. After joining a sewing group where she learned to make quilts, Gail was inspired to make fleece throw blankets. “Quilting wasn’t for me,” said Gail. “I started buying fleece, making throws, and finding places to donate them.”
Having a personal connection, Gail recalled that patients receiving chemotherapy can feel chilled while receiving treatment. “My grandson, Grant, received chemo for testicular cancer,” said Gail. Grant, now well and living in New Jersey, was a patient of OHC’s David M. Waterhouse, MD, MPH, a medical oncologist and hematologist. He received his treatments at OHC’s Blue Ash location. Gail recently donated 18 of her lovingly made blankets to the Blue Ash treatment suite patients.
Gail is particular about the fabric patterns she selects. “My blankets are double-sided, so people can use them during two different seasons,” noted Gail. “I’ve used pink ribbons for cancer survivors and wine glasses for a wine sommelier who was in a car accident.” One esophageal cancer patient who was the beneficiary of Gail’s kindness sent her a thank you note for the blanket and referred to her as the Blanket Lady.
Last winter, Gail estimates she made about 150-200 throws. She donated 73 of them to a shelter for struggling youth. She customized one, making it narrower, for a gentleman who became wheelchair bound after a car accident. “I wanted to make sure it wouldn’t get stuck in the wheels,” said Gail.
Some recipients are overwhelmed by Gail’s generosity. She often tries to make more throws for her children. “They tell me, ‘Mom, it’s OK, we have enough!’,” said Gail.
Many people tell Gail she should sell her blankets, but she never has. “I really enjoy giving them to people who I know will use them,” said Gail. Thank you, Gail, for spreading warmth and a bit of comfort, one blanket at a time.
Top picture: Blanket Lady Gail Theile and her grandson, Grant Braeuer, a testicular cancer survivor and former OHC patient of David M. Waterhouse, MD, MPHComments (0)