• Wrapped in love: Local family spreading kindness after loss

    By: Kerry Kavanaugh

    Updated:

    Wrapping themselves in love. Three Abington sisters began making blankets to heal after losing their mother to suicide. 

    Their mission now reminds others they're not alone. 

    "We sometimes just need a reminder that there's still kindness out there," said Christina Varney. 

    Seventeen-year-old Christina Varney, 19-year-old Angela and 8-year-old Mia believe it's a reminder their mom desperately needed. Anne Marie Varney took her own life on March 30, 2015.

    "When she walked into a room, she just lit it up," said Christina. 

    "This laugh... this laugh that just stood out. You knew Anne was in the room when she laughed," said Aunt Barbara Buckley.

    Buckley says Anne was struggling with darkness that few knew about.

    "If you can’t get out of this dark place, it tricks you into thinking you’re not this beautiful person that you are," said Buckley.

    After losing Anne, the family searched for comfort.

    "We started with just us and we felt the best way to encapture one of her hugs was a blanket," said Angela. "Then we started it was helping others heal, too."


    The healing was contagious and 'Annie's Kindness Blankets' was born.

    "We never thought in our dreams that it would get this big," said Angela.

    The girls - along with Aunt Barbara - have shared more than 2,000 blankets across the country and all over the world.

    "When somebody gets a blanket, and they hear about the organization and they spread it to somebody else and they spread it to somebody else," said Christina. 

    A chain reaction of kindness.

    It was evident in the group that gathered in Abington on the three-year anniversary of Anne's death.
    Their mission is on the patch on every blanket:

    "Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening eat, honest accomplishment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.

    Anne Marie Varney passed away on March 30, 2015. She was an amazing person who had some much love in her heart. She would want you to know that everyone deserves kindness and love. This act of kindness is to honor Annie's life and to show how quickly kindness can put a smile on anyone's face. We hope this blanket forever keeps you wrapped in love and surrounded by kindness."

    The family's message is fighting the stigma surrounding depression.

    "Depression for us is truly a sickness and obviously can be fatal just like anything else, but people won't talk about it," said Buckley.

    So they are talking about it, about their loss, honoring their mother's life through a simple act of kindness.

    "We want her back, but we know she's around us," said Buckley.

    'Annie's Kindness Blankets' takes requests through email and social media.

    They are also continually adding to the Army that helps make these blankets.

    For more information on their movement, click here

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