Former Oakland University student-athlete founds non-profit organization

Non-profit organization Fleece and Thank You is dedicated to have a colorful fleece blanket and an encouraging video/card waiting for pediatric patients for when they have to check in to hospital rooms. The organization has over 500 blankets pledged by volunteers and donors.  

Each year, more than 3 million children are hospitalized in the United States. A non-profit organization called Fleece and Thank You is dedicated to have a colorful fleece blanket and an encouraging video waiting for as many pediatric patients possible when they check in, so they can have some brightness in their lives during their dark times.

Battling with blankets

Oakland University men’s soccer alum Nicholas Kristock founded the organization Fleece and Thank You. 

In 2013, Kristock became the first student-athlete to receive the Human Relations Award in recognition of his academics in classroom and service in the community.  In December of 2013, Kristock signed a contract with Logan Lightning FC and by February 2014, he had moved to Brisbane, Australia to play professional soccer overseas. After playing for two seasons, his contract ended and he moved back to the States in October 2015.

“Originally, the plan was to stay for one [season], but I decided to stay for a second one. I was glad I did, because that’s where I got my passion for non-profits, in that second season,” Kristock said.

During his stay there, he volunteered at children’s hospitals and met Sophie, a four-year-old girl battling neuroblastoma.

“Even though she was four, and battling [neuroblastoma], she was still super happy and energetic and so inspiring. I felt a call to do something to honor her and kids that are similar to her,” Kristock said.

Inspired by Sophie, Kristock reached out to his twin sister Tara Kristock, who worked at C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

“I told him about how I thought it would be great if he could find a way to coordinate making some fleece blankets for the holidays this year. I knew from experience as a nurse on this unit [pediatric hematology/oncology] that the patients loved getting blankets, but we didn’t always have enough to give every patient at any given time,” Tara Kristock said.


Delivering with delight

With the help of Oakland University Alumni Association and other volunteers, the Fleece and Thank You team made their first delivery of 57 blankets to Mott Children’s hospital.

 “I watched a little girl’s face light up with a huge smile when I walked into her room and handed her a Frozen-themed blanket. She was so excited, she started singing ‘Let It Go’ right on the spot! I know that all of the patients who receive blankets love the comfort of a soft fleece blanket to keep them warm and make their room a little brighter,” Tara Kristock said.

Oakland University women’s soccer alumna and current soccer coach at Alliance Academy East Jenna Taylor helped spread the word about the organization to her team, coaches and friends.

“I was wrapping up my fall season for my teams and I saw something about Fleece & Thank You on Facebook. I immediately had an idea to get my entire team to participate as a team bonding and community service project,” Taylor said. 

“I believe that being a part of a team is more than the sport itself. It is building a bond with each other and supporting other causes.”

Future full of fleece

Fleece and Thank You currently has 202 blankets donated, 500 pledged and hopes to reach a total of 1,000 fleece blankets by Christmas.

Kristock and Dan Brown from Fleece and Thank you delivered 30 fleece blankets to Beaumont Children’s Hospital in Royal Oak on Wednesday, Nov. 25. Tyler Whitfielde, 6, and Kay Jordan, 8, met Kristock and Brown at the Children’s Miracle Network Garden and received the first blankets at the hospital.

With the holidays coming up, Fleece and Thank You has teams coordinated to deliver to 10 different children’s hospital locations all across Michigan for Christmas.

“There’s enough people and there’s enough fleece out there, we just have to coordinate the effort,” Kristock said.

For more information, visit or find them on social media.

Facebook: Fleece and Thank You

Twitter: fleecethankyou

Instagram: fleeceandthankyou