Hats for hopePublished 3:26am Saturday, June 22, 2013
Lee Vann wishes she didn’t have to make hats anymore. The hats are made for cancer patients, an ongoing project of her women’s circle, the Circle of Hope at First United Methodist Church.
“There’s always a need for them,” said Vann. “We don’t like that there’s a need, but like filling the need.”
The women will put any pair of hands to work and have developed the reputation at their church of one that will keep its members busy. Vann and circle leader Connie Howard do not know how to sew, but they work on the assembly line as much as the rest of the 41-member circle.
“I know nothing about sewing, but I do the best I can,” Howard said.
“Connie’s learned to put the elastic in,” Vann added.
The women started out making summer hats. Today, they make summer and winter hats, dresses, personalized journals and, upon request, bosom pillows.
“We did 100 of them four years ago for the VA hospital for women with breast cancer who need kits to drain their incisions,” Howard said.
Summer hats are their specialty. The women put a lot of thought into each aspect of the hat. They only use100-percent cotton because it is the softest on the sensitive skin of cancer patients. The hats are padded along the front to ensure they are comfortable and made long enough to cover the side temples and areas that are not always covered by wigs.
The women choose bright, happy colors and include some masculine choices for male patients. This week, the women were hard at work making red, white and blue hats in time for Independence Day.
“Most of the summer hats are for the women because they lose their hair and the wigs are really hot,” said circle member Pat Vore. “It fits any head because it’s got elastic, so it gives.”
She wore one of the hats on her mission trip to Haiti and said it came in handy when painting.
The women of Circle of Hope have supplied the hats for more than a decade. They have also taught other groups to how to make them.
The hats hang on pegs in the Marion L. Shepard Cancer Center outside the chemotherapy bay. They are also shipped across the country to anyone who asks for one.
The Circle of Hope puts just as much care into the journals its members decorate. The center offers a journaling class to the people it serves. The journals are given to anyone who takes the class or needs an outlet. Spread randomly throughout each one, are words of encouragement and biblical quotes.
The women do little to raise funds for the mission. Most of it comes from pledges and donations of the members.
To help the circle continue its mission, send donations to First United Methodist Church, at 304 W. Second St., Washington, NC 27889. Checks should be made out to Circle of Hope.