With looks of determination mixed with joy, members of the Grand Lake o' The Cherokees Quilt Guild cut strip after strip of fabric during a "cutting party."

The event, organized in part by Glo Reherman, was designed to match fabrics together to form kits - which will eventually become pillowcases for Ryan's Case for Smiles.

On Wednesday, the group of women cut more than 125 kits filled with a variety of patterns and colors.

When completed, each pillowcase is designed to provide a bit of comfort and cheer - and maybe a smile or two - to children being cared for at St. Francis Children's Hospital in Tulsa.

The group, an outreach project of the Grand Lake o' The Cherokees received $1,000 in monies on Wednesday, during the annual Grove Rotary Grant Distribution. 

The funds, according to Reherman, will be used to purchase additional fabric to create the kits. 

About the project

Reherman has been creating pillowcases for Ryan's Case for Smiles for almost 10 years.

She became involved with the organization as she was looking for a service project following her husband Carl's successful liver transplant. 

She read about Ryan's Case for Smiles, formerly known as Conkerr Cancer, as she read about Ryan's story.

As a teenager, the young man developed cancer. His mother, Cindy, would sit in his hospital room making pillowcases. She eventually gave cases to every child in the pediatric's ward.

Before he died, Ryan made his mother promise to continue the cause. Thus the project was born. Initially, it was named after Ryan using his last name. Within the last few years, the organization has re-branded itself to focus on what the group does best - provide pillowcases for smile.

Reherman said she felt drawn to the organization for two reasons - her son was also named Ryan, and the woman who donated her liver to Carl was named Cindy.

She helped "open up" the state, serving as first the state-wide coordinator for almost eight years.

She introduced the program to Delaware County quilters in 2009, when she and her husband moved to Grove.

She said groups across the state provide 350 pillowcases per month to The Children's Hospital at OU Medical Center in Oklahoma City and 250 pillowcases to The Children's Hospital at St. Francis in Tulsa. The designated hospital is picked based on the group's geographic location.

It takes approximately $5 to complete a single pillowcase. The base or body of the case uses three-fourths of a yard of a single fabric. The band uses an additional one-fourth yard of a complementary or accent fabric. 

The is the group's third year to receive a Grove Rotary Club grant. They often purchase the fabric when it is on sale, and host "cutting parties" to provide kits to members of the quilt guild. 

Other pillowcases collected in Delaware County are created by the Delaware County Oklahoma Home and Education Community members, and the Dennis Friendship Club in Zena.

In the last few years, Reherman estimates Delaware County residents have provided more than 20,000 pillowcases to children in need.

Reherman said the stories, which often come out as pillowcases are given out, are priceless. 

She tells one story, of how nurses used the colorful pillowcases to "hide" the IV bags and wires. 

Another tale talks about how nurses use the pillowcases to cover the cribs in the nurseries, in order to stimulate the children with colors.

She said one quilt guild member was at a garage sale, purchasing fabric for the project. As she told the homeowner what it wold be used for, a woman tapped her on the shoulder.

Reherman said the woman told the quilter she wanted to purchase the fabric, because her granddaughter had received a pillowcase during medical treatment.

"There's nothing sadder than a critically ill child," Reherman said. "This puts a smile on the child's face, even when they my hurt so bad. Because they do smile as they get to pick one out.

"This is something I can't walk away from. It's such an easy thing to do. Whether you make one per month, or 100 per month. Every single pillowcase counts."

More about the grants

Members of the Grove Rotary Club presented checks totaling $84,969 to community organizations for 41 projects within the Grand Lake area.

The grants ranged from $500 to $7,900, were funded following a formal application process.

Each year, the Grove Rotary Foundation’s Charitable Contributions Committee reviews grant requests to provide financial support to local organizations that promote education, charitable and scientific activities that serve the public and enhance the city and Grand Lake area.

Funds for the grants were raised by members of the club, primarily from proceeds from the 2017 LobsterFest, as well as other benefits such as the annual golf tournament.

Darren Cook served as the chairman of the Rotary Charitable Contributions Committee. Other members included Harlan Moore, Cindy Hefner, Pete Churchwell, Randy Hamill, Matt Carnes, Kay Lyn Beauchamp, Mark Morris, Kristi Wallace, and past- chair Bill Keefer

This year, the committee reviewed 48 grant applications from local organizations, requesting a total of more than $200,000.

Five of the awarded grants were challenge grants, in which the awardee must raise a matching amount to receive their funding.

Among the grant recipients was a program at Jay that provides weekend meals to children who would not otherwise have sufficient food. The Backpack Program received $4,500 to help purchase food items for these expanding efforts that are experiencing food shortages and increasing costs.

Programs at Grove Public Schools received several grants, including $3,500 for the high school biology department to build lab kits for use by 250 high school students each year.

The 2018 grants include:

Grove High School Biology - lab kits, $3500

Jay Backpack Program - food for backpacks, $4500

Christian Medical Clinic - pharmaceuticals / laptops, $5000

Citizens Police Academy, academy supplies, $2000

DCCSAN - front entrance repair, $3000

Lighthouse Pregnancy Center - car seats, $2445

Community Crisis Center -brochures, $2000

Grove Early Childhood Center - slide, $1000

Boy Scout Troop 78 - camp scholarships and equipment, $695*

Grand Lake Quilt Guild - fabric and materials, $1000

Grand Lake Shrine Club - transportation for children to hospital, $2000

Grove Lower Elementary - iPad Pros, $7900

Grove Upper Elementary Library - Chromebooks, license and equipment, $7556

Har-Ber Village Museum - outdoor movies, $1250

Jake's Event Grove – equipment, $2000

Kickin’ Asphalt – race registration fees, $1300

Lendonwood Gardens - handicap accessibility, $2000

Santa's Old Broads - clothing and gifts for children, $1000

Turkey Ford School - computers, $1095

Grove Early Childhood Center - classroom fixtures, $797

Grove Lower Elementary - C-pen readers, $549

Grove Middle School – calculators, $918

Grove Middle School Science - science fair expenses, $1000

Grove Upper Elementary Physical Education - rowing machines, $4600

GLARE - kit parts and entry fees, $5000

Grove Schools Cafeteria - service carts, $546

Grove High School Band - music camp scholarships, $2000*

Grove Middle School - teacher STEM training, $1400

Camp Bandage – children’s lake safety program, $1000

Cleora Public Schools - robotics program, $1479

Grove Lower Elementary – Osmo, $534

Grove High School Track/ Cross Country - timing software and laptop, $750*

House of Hope - recovery books, $500

Women's Auxillary (WAAMI) - fabric for baby blankets, $1000

CANO - advertising and materials, $1000

YMCA - youth summer camp assistance, $2000

Grand Lake Amateur Radio - repeater repairs, $1000

Grove Early Childhood Center - classroom tables, $747

High School Softball and Baseball - field grooming machine, $4000*

Playmakers - display units, $1408

Grove Takedown Club - awards and tournament equipment, $1500*