The Yankees visit Autumn Blinn and her family to acknowledge and praise their dedication to others
The Yankees surprised a girl who has comforted so many others on Day 2 of HOPE Week when they paid a visit to Autumn Blinn and her family at the Ronald McDonald House in the Upper East Side.
In its fifth year, the Yankees honor the charitable efforts of five people and organizations during their week-long July HOPE Week initiative, donating money and thanking volunteers for dedicating their time to helping others. Last Tuesday, the Yankees thanked 10 year-old and Rome, NY native Autumn Blinn for her project, Pillows of Love, where she sews pillows and gives them to people in need in various hospitals. The team also donated $5,000 to the Ronald McDonald House and Faxon St. Luke's Healthcare center in Utica, New York.
The day began at the Ronald McDonald House, where five Yankees, Robinson Cano, David Robertson, Eduardo Nunez, Vernon Wells, and manager Joe Girardi, all waited for Autumn in the lobby. She and her family were invited to the house thinking they were going to pass out pillows to pediatric cancer patients, unaware that the Yankees were there to pass out pillows with her. When Autumn walked in, she was stunned silent, and her grandfather, John Santiago, roared, "Oh my God" at all the Yankees and media standing in front of him.
After pictures, Autumn, her family, and the Yankees brought pillows downstairs to hand out to patients and their families, bringing midday smiles to both kids' and adults' faces. After they handed out pillows, the Blinns and the Yankees spoke to the media and they all had a pizza party upstairs afterwards.
Autumn told us the story of how Pillows of Love began. It started when Santiago was receiving treatment for dialysis eighteen months ago and needed something to comfort his arm after the pillow they gave him at the hospital was too big. Autumn was just taught how to sew by her grandmother and wanted to help her grandfather, so she sewed him a pillow and sent it to him.
It quickly became a hit at the hospital, and from there, she started making pillows for more people, eventually expanding her efforts into a charity. Autumn has made over 300 pillows since then, and the Yankees have given her and her family the support, motivation, and hope to continue making pillows and support others on this day of HOPE Week.