1,600 days, 400 blankets and countless lives touched

donating crafts to hospital“Each blanket takes about four days to make,” said Marlies Terpning, a community advocate who has donated more than 400 hand-crocheted blankets for babies born at Tucson Medical Center.

The plush, super-soft blankets are a perfect welcome for the newborns and Terpning’s favorite way to support her community. “We first went to TMC in 1977 and they have been so wonderful every time my family needed care,” she said. “I’ve always had a passion for crochet and this is a way I can make something with my own hands to give back.”

The grandmother and long-time Tucson resident has been making blankets for TMC since 2008. When it comes to production, Terpning is a one-person show. She purchases all the materials and crochets each blanket herself.

Four days times 400 is the equivalent of 1,600 days – or more than four years of time – that Terpning has given to provide families with a memorable memento.

“I just love making them – my husband jokes that everyone in Tucson will eventually have one,” said Terpning. And it turns out her husband might be right. “I talked with a mom just the other day, who said her 9-year-old daughter still has the blanket on her bed, and she still loves it.” That sentiment was particularly rewarding for Terpning. “It meant so much to me to know how much the blanket meant to that family.”

If you visit TMC, you will see the Terpning name across the hospital – and on more than newborn blankets. Marlies’ husband, famed artist Howard Terpning, has donated many of his southwest-themed prints to the TMC Healing Art program. A TMC courtyard also bears his namesake, a dedication from Marleis. The couple have also been frequent and generous donors to the TMC Foundation.

“We are grateful for the tireless support of Marlies and Howard Terpning,” said Michael Duran, TMC vice president and chief development officer. “They care deeply for the Southern Arizona community and we’re honored to be a part of their philanthropic efforts.”

You might be wondering what’s next for Marlies Terpning? “More blankets! Oh yeah!”

For more information about how you can support the TMC Foundation and the TMC Healing Art Program, please call (520) 324-3116.


Leave a Reply

Tucson Medical Center | 5301 E. Grant Road | Tucson, Arizona 85712 | (520) 327-5461
%d bloggers like this: