CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - To anyone passing by the numerous booths at the Southeastern Wildlife Exposition this weekend, the Covered in Cotton booth looks like any other. But the business has a mission to give families hope one blanket at a time.
Tracy and Ty Woodard sell blankets and towels from their cotton farm in Darlington County. The business started back in 2017 after their son, Tobin, fought for his life against a rare form of bacterial meningitis two years earlier.
"He was in the hospital for 35 days at three months old," Ty Woodard said. "He had emergency brain surgery on his first Christmas Eve."
While at the hospital, a nurse gave them a blanket. The Woodards say it's a small gift with a big impact.
“The gift was so practical and meaningful," Tracy Woodard said. "But really the thought behind it was so much more that someone saw us and wanted to encourage us during that time."
According to the CDC, about 330 cases of bacterial meningitis were reported in the United States in 2018. For survivors of meningococcal disease, one in five people will have long-term disabilities.
However, Tobin completely recovered. Now, his parents say because of unexpected hope that one blanket brought, his parents say they want to keep that gift going.
“When the idea for Covered in Cotton came, it just seemed like a natural fit to share some of that hope that we got during the worst time of our life," Tracy Woodard said. For every 10 blankets they sell, the couple gives one to a children's hospital in South Carolina.
“To date we have done 165 and that's to children's hospitals in Charleston, Columbia, Greenville and Florence," Tracy Woodard said.
With the blankets they’ve sold just at SEWE, they’ll be donating eight to hospitals across the state.“It’s an incredible honor to be able to donate back to the hospitals where children are facing things that are even tougher than what we went through," Ty Woodard said.