This is a guest post by Marjorie Klassen who knits caps for chemo patients.
Why am I making chemo caps?
My Aunt Marjorie taught me to knit. As a child I would spend a week of summer vacation with her and my Grandfather. In the evening we would sit outside on the large front veranda. Grandpa in his chair reading the paper and Aunt Marjorie and I sitting side-by-side on the swing as she taught me to hold my knitting needles and thread. On one of these occasions I wondered out loud where Aunt Marjorie learned to knit. Her answer surprised me.
Aunt Marjorie learned to knit at school as part of the war effort. School children were taught to knit bandages for the Red Cross. While I no longer remember the number of stitches I can still see Aunt Marjorie casting on the requisite number of stitches while she explained how she knit her bandages.
“We knit the bandages whenever we had spare time, we were doing something important. We would talk about how our bandages would help to save the lives of the brothers, fathers and uncles who had left us to fight in the war.”
Like Aunt Marjorie I make chemo caps because it is what I can do to help in the war against cancer, it gives me a personal way to help. I imagine the women who will wear the cap in their personal war against cancer. With every stitch I pray for her recovery and that she be surrounded by love and support.
Though I will never see the face of the women who wear these caps, I do see other faces:
Aunt Audrey standing in the lobby of the funeral home crying as she attends the funeral of a family friend. I remember how I longed to wrap my arms around her but I knew I could not because she had just left the hospital where she had had a mastectomy.
Audrey T. a woman of immense spiritual courage, bald from the chemotherapy comforting a young woman who had been a foster child in Audrey’s home.
Aunt Adela a woman I knew as child. She would make us Barbie doll cakes for our birthdays. She died before I could tell her that I loved her.
Kristi my administrative assistant. She is a young mother who spends long hours at a computer terminal typing while wearing a full arm and hand compression bandage.
Eunice my sister-in-law who never speaks about her two battles with breast cancer and the personal cost.
This is What I Can Do
These are the faces that I see when I am doing my part in this war on cancer. I do it because I am grateful that I have never had breast cancer and to work through my survivors guilt. I create chemo caps because I have to do something and this is what I can do.