Thursday, February 23, 2012

Crocheting for a Cause

This past fall, I tried hard to find out information on what is needed to donate hats to a certain local chemo center.  It was right at the time of my mom's 10 year anniversary of her breast cancer diagnosis, so it was really important to me, and I chose the center where she received treatments.

Well, long story short, they never would answer my questions and accept a donation.  In fact, they just sort of ignored me.  I was really upset about it and griped to a lady I met recently that works for the American Cancer Society.  

I thought the subject was dropped, and figured I'd try again at another place.  Then, two weeks ago she asked me if I was still interested in donating hats.  I just....didn't know what she had in mind...

When I said yes, she proceeded to tell me the story of her friend's daughter, who is 4 years old.  FOUR YEARS OLD!! The family was new here so when they little girl had an ear infection they brought her to a new doctor, who did a full work up as a routine new patient procedure.  Yep...they found cancer.  I didn't ask details on what kind of cancer.  I was too distraught.

This little girl was scheduled to start her treatments this past week and my friend asked me to please donate a hat, because she was so upset about losing her hair.  Poor girl...her best case scenario is supposed to be stage 4 cancer.

Needless to say, I cried while making these hats.  This little girl is just a little bit older than my little girl, and I couldn't imagine facing this battle.

People get diagnosed with cancer all the time, and these crochet and knit hats are expensive.  I know, because I make them! When you need a hat for every day, that expense can add up.  These are no longer just accessories.  If you know how to crochet or knit, please consider donating a few hats when you have time.  It can make a huge difference to someone going through a really hard time.

If you're interested in getting started, you can try contacting local chemo centers, or getting in touch with a local cancer society team like I did.  If nothing else, they should be able to direct you to the right people!

Some things to consider when making hats for cancer patients:
-Get the softest yarn you can find. Even yarn that doesn't bother you might bother someone that is losing or has lost their hair.  I've found that Caron Simply Soft is an excellent yarn to use for these hats.  It's easily accessible, and fairly affordable.  While it's $4-5 a skein, you can make a lot of hats out of that one skein!
-Consider kids as well as adults. Adults are, unfortunately, not the only ones suffering.  If you can make hats in different sizes, please consider it, because fewer people donate hats in kid's sizes, making them harder to find. In fact, even if you've never made a child's size hat, if you are willing to try, I've got a free pattern you can downloadhere for a basic beanie for most sizes.
-Make it long. Things you might not think about if you've never been through it: there will be no hair at the base of the neck or in front of the ears.  Make your hats long enough to cover this if the person wants these areas covered.

It was such a rewarding experience knowing that the hat I was making was going to bring comfort to a suffering little girl.  I've told the lady from the cancer society to let me know any time she knows of someone in need of a hat for this purpose.  It broke my heart, but also made me so thankful that I have a gift I can give!

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