Craft for a Cause: Crochet for Cancer

“Caring for others one stitch at a time”

Image courtesy of Crochet for Cancer, Inc.


Hi and welcome to my second post in the Craft for a Cause Series! Today I want to highlight the organization Crochet for Cancer, Inc.

It was a long train of thought that led me to this cause. You see, over the past year cancer has touched several of my family members. As I was thinking about my loved ones who have fought or are currently fighting this horrible disease, it hit me… cancer will probably touch the lives of everyone in the world at some point. This is because anyone can get it. You, me, our acquaintances, our friends, our family. Cancer does not discriminate.

This made me think about all the people I have met who bear battle scars from fighting this despicable illness. It made me think of all the people I have met who have lost the battle.

The first one I can remember was only about 5 or 6 years old. I was only a year or two older. He was a little boy in my mom’s Sunday school class. I remember bringing flowers to his tombstone. It was the first time I can recall seeing my mother cry.

This was my first exposure to cancer and the tragic pain it can cause, but it would not be my last. Not by a long shot.

With all this on my mind, it’s no wonder I somehow found my way to Crochet for Cancer, Inc. when researching this month’s Craft for a Cause.

Co-founded by Tracy & Carl Wells and Pam Harshman, “Crochet for Cancer is a Christian volunteer based non-profit that donates handmade chemo caps to cancer centers for patients coping with hair loss”.

In October 2011, Pam was diagnosed with stage 3 uterine cancer. After beginning chemotherapy treatment she received several donated crocheted caps and decided to make a few of her own. She and her daughter, Tracy, felt a calling to give to others, hoping to help them the way Pam had been helped when she received her crochet caps. Pam and Tracy began crocheting caps, attached an uplifting scripture to each, and donated them to Pam’s treatment center. Thus, Crochet for Cancer, Inc. was born.

Pam passed away on March 5, 2014, but her legacy lives on through Crochet for Cancer and each handmade item donated to a cancer fighter. Crochet for Cancer, Inc. is growing rapidly, inspiring others worldwide to give caps to their local hospitals and/or oncology offices. The organization has partnered with multiple cancer centers and has founded several chapters throughout the US & Canada.

Pam’s daughter, Tracy, is Crochet for Cancer’s Executive Director and handles the organization’s marketing, research and day to day operations. She also runs the South Georgia Chapter.

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If you would like to donate to Crochet for Cancer you can send your handmade donations to the local chapter nearest you. A list of chapter locations is available on Crochet for Cancer’s website.

Please make sure that your donations are clean, never worn, free of perfume, detergent, pet hair and smoke. Hats should have a solid pattern without gaps or hole as this is preferred by most people who have lost their hair to chemo. Please do NOT wash the hat or material used to make the hats unless the detergent is labeled “allergen free”, “unscented”, or “clear”. Detergents that contain perfumes and dyes can aggravate a chemo patient’s very sensitive skin.

In the warmer months, please use 100% cotton, silk or a blended yarn to make the hats. In the cooler months a soft acrylic, fleece or blend works well. DO NOT USE WOOL or animal hair like alpaca. These yarns can be itchy and many chemo patients are allergic to fur and wool.

Some chapters of Crochet for Cancer have partnered with children’s hospitals so chemo hats for children aged 0-20 years are also accepted. You can find crochet hat patterns available for free on Crochet for Cancer’s website, but no specific pattern is required and knitted & sewn caps are also welcome!

Image courtesy of Crochet for Cancer, Inc.

Donations do not need to be limited to chemo hats, the organization’s chapters accept any type of crochet/knit/sewn item that will “benefit and uplift the spirits” of those undergoing cancer treatment.  Other ideas include, sewn cloth turbans, crochet teddy bears, crochet prosthetic breasts, scarves, prayer shawls, lap blankets, gloves, socks, etc. If you are unsure that your specific item will be accepted, please contact the chapter leader where you plan to send your items.

For further details on how to donate an item to Crochet for Cancer, please see the Donation Guidelines available on the website.

If you are interested in opening a chapter in your area there is an application available on the website, as well as a list of chapter leader expectations.

I hope this month’s Craft for a Cause has inspired you donate a chemo cap(s) or other handmade item(s) to those who need a bit of joy in their lives as they fight this deplorable disease called cancer.  I know I will be working on a few in my spare time.

Until next time…  Happy Crafting!

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