First Posted: 1/6/2013
Cole Cherkas remembers his grandmother well.
Cole's grandmother, Georgianna Ginger Gelsleichter, was ill with pancreatic cancer.
When my grandmother was sick, she always had a blanket, he said. Even in the summers she would get a chill and have that blanket.
She passed away on Dec. 4, 2010, at the age of 71, but Cole wanted to keep her memory alive.
Blankets, he figured, was the way to go.
To date, Cole, 11, a Pittston resident and a fifth-grade student at St. Nick's/St. Mary's in Wilkes-Barre, has collected almost 200 blankets and $350 for two hospices, including the one that cared for his grandmother in her final days.
The blanket drive started as part of Baseball State Academy in Scranton, run by Phil Rossi, who is also a scout for the Miami Marlins Major League Baseball team.
The first two years, Cole donated the blankets to the Hospice of the Sacred Heart in Scranton. But this year, that facility didn't run a blanket drive
This didn't deter Cole.
He found another facility to collect blankets for, the facility that took care of his grandmother, Celtic Health Care in Kingston.
Cole's parents, Kevin and Maria Cherkas, couldn't be prouder.
He's the love of my life, his mom, Maria said. I'm so proud of him, how considerate he is, how loving he is.
Cole had a great relationship with his grandmother, Kevin said. She was always around. She'd help us out when we didn't have a babysitter. He really wanted to honor her.
Celtic Health Care was happy to receive the donations.
Cole's generous act of love and remembrance will keep many more terminally ill patients warm and comfortable this winter, said Jodi McKinney, Celtic Healthcare's Director of Corporate Communications.
Cole said his favorite subject is math and his favorite teacher is Sister Marion. He enjoys baseball year round and plays for Minooka in the Cal Ripken baseball league. The Minooka 10-year-old all-star team won the 2012 Forest City Old Home Week baseball tournament this past season and Cole was named MVP of the tournament.
Cole's grandfather, William, also passed away from pancreatic cancer in 2001.
Cole has set up a blanket bin in the lobby of the Sunday Dispatch at 109 New Street in Pittston, PA, 18640. Drop off or send any new blankets in care of this newspaper and we'll make sure Cole gets them for his 2013 blanket drive.