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Franklin students help patients at Riley

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A Franklin Community High School senior remembers watching a girl play on her street. They rode the same bus to school.

Then, Jessica Fisher stopped seeing the girl. She later found out the girl had leukemia, and Fisher wanted to help.

Students in Finish Strong, Franklin’s online alternative academy, have been making blankets for kids at Riley Hospital for Children at Indiana University Health in Indianapolis since the academy started about three years ago.

About half of the academy’s students make blankets for Project Linus. The effort is part of a national project in which volunteers make blankets for sick children across the country.

Franklin students make about 65 blankets each year, Finish Strong teacher Sheila Turner said.

“Kids have a big heart. They just want to help,” Turner said.

Any student enrolled in the academy can tie together strips of fleece to form a blanket, which will be given to a child staying at Riley.

Each student can make blankets for community service credit, though some choose to make blankets to help the children, Turner said.

The academy buys the supplies to make the blankets, and the money comes from selling snacks to students.

Educators then purchase materials from craft stores on sale to make the money go further.

Fisher earned her community service credits dozens of blankets ago. She uses about 20 hours of free time a month making blankets, especially after seeing her friend and neighbor deal with leukemia.

“I look at it if, I had my own kid who was sick, I would give them something to feel better,” Fisher said. “I want them to know that just because they have an illness, they aren’t forgotten.”

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