At work, they collect and analyze samples in the lab at West Lincoln Memorial Hospital (WLMH). At home, they ravel and loop yarn into charming garments for kids in cancer treatment. The West Lincoln Memorial Hospital Crochet for Cancer group has woven an incredible bond through their love of crochet and helping kids.
Inspired by an American organization, The Magic Yarn Project, Kim Mischuk, a registered laboratory technologist at WLMH, asked her colleagues if they’d be interested in starting a similar effort. She had six eager volunteers, with more than 100 years of crochet experience between them.
“We’re a very tightly knit group,” Jackie MacCuish, another member of the group, jokes. “Or tightly, crocheted, I should say.”
Using a basic crocheted hat as a base, the women craft everything from beanies to elaborate wigs. Favourites include Elsa from Frozen, Jack Sparrow from Pirates of the Caribbean, and Rapunzel. They try to appeal to both kids and teens, with a wide variety of hats and wigs to choose from. Depending on the complexity of the design, the pieces take anywhere from three to well over five hours to make. Jackie says colleague Svetlana Micovski is by far their most prolific crafter, crocheting the bulk of the complex wigs.
“It’s a wonderful feeling”
The time that goes into each wig is well worth it when they see the joy it brings to a child in cancer treatment. They’ve been lucky to receive a few photos from grateful parents, which they cherish. For children who have lost their hair during cancer treatment, the wigs can be both comforting and uplifting. They bring colour and whimsy during long, hard days.
The group has donated a batch of wigs to McMaster Children’s Hospital, and just sent 25 wigs to Childhood Cancer Canada, a charity that supports children with cancer, and their families. They have even sent wigs as far as Newfoundland. Jackie’s friend in St. John’s requested a wig for her granddaughter, and it was such a hit that they shipped a batch out east for her peers at Janeway Children’s Health and Rehabilitation Centre.
“It’s a wonderful feeling to know we are adding a little bit of joy to these kids’ lives during a difficult time,” says Jackie.
Learn more about WLMH Crochet for Cancer on their Facebook page.