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Kind Orillia woman makes blankets to bring comfort to babies at OSMH

'I just do it because they need it. I’ve always liked to help wherever I can. These are my small ways of being able to do it,' says Colleen Marsden
These are some of the blankets Colleen Marsden made for babies at Orillia Soldiers' Memorial Hospital.

Editor's Note: This is the ninth in a series of 10 weekly articles that will appear each Thursday as part of the Be Kind campaign, an initiative spearheaded by Orillia's Emergency Management Committee.

Many people, often behind the scenes, are quietly, with no fanfare, trying to make a difference in the world. We don’t always hear of the work they do unless someone else notices and brings them to our attention. Colleen Marsden is one of those people.

Recently laid off from an admin position, Marsden spends her time making blankets and delivers them to the Orillia Soldiers' Memorial Hospital Foundation.

“I crochet or knit little afghans—more for the size of babies than anything—and whatever I make I donate to the hospital," she explained.

While living in Mexico many years ago, Marsden heard that fundraising had begun to build a new phase of the Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre, in Barrie. She decided to help out by knitting and crocheting afghans to support their fundraising efforts and has carried on that tradition for over 30 years.

In addition to supporting local hospitals, Marsden also enjoys knitting and crocheting for the craft itself.

“It’s a recreational thing for me,” she said. “It’s something I can do with my hands while I’m sitting there thinking about whatever it is. It just soothes me.”

Marsden says it's a way for her to lend a hand.

“I just do it because they need it. I’ve always liked to help wherever I can. These are my small ways of being able to do it.”

In addition to giving back through her blankets, Marsden also donates to the food bank and gives her extra craft supplies to a thrift store.

“It’s like I need to give back," she explained.

Marsden initially moved back to Canada to support her parents. When her father passed away, Marsden took over caring for her 90-year-old mother.

Like many people who serve their families and communities, behind the scenes, Marsden isn’t interested in doing it for recognition.

“The way I feel about it is that I would rather do good and hope somebody benefits from it ... I just do it. I just hope that it helps somebody. There’s always somebody out there looking for a hand.”

Do you know of an act of kindness or generosity that should be shared with the community? If so, please email your idea and contact information to