Friday, April 4, 2008

Who Needs a Tree Hugger When You Can Have a Head Hugger?

You may recall way back in December, I mentioned reading a blog post by Susan Neibuhr (aka: WhyMommy) at Toddler Planet and posting a comment on her blog that inspired me to action. I posted a revised version of my comment on my blog and issued a challenge called the Holiday Party Meme Charity Event. For every blogger who participated in the meme, I said I would donate $5 to the charity of Susan's choice.

At around the same time, I became involved with a site for photographers called 2 Things Challenge. The site is maintained by a lovely woman in Texas named Debi Cates, who is also a fabulous photographer! (Debi is currently on hiatus, but her archives are totally worth visiting.) One of my meme options was to participate in that week's 2 Things Challenge. Debi was so taken with the idea, she stepped up and agreed to throw in $5 for anyone who participated in the challenge that week. In the end, Debi and I raised $200 for charity.

We asked Susan where she'd like us to direct the money we raised and she listed a couple of charities and one-person operations she has supported in her battle with inflammatory breast cancer. One of the organizations she included was a one-woman shop called Head Huggers. Yesterday, I finally made it out to Stevensville, Maryland, near Annapolis to present a check for $200 to Head Huggers' owner, operator, and huge-hearted-heroine extraordinaire, Sue Thompson, M.D.

Right after the terrorist attacks in 2001, Sue wanted to give back to the community in some way. She'd recently retired from her medical practice as a general practitioner and had time on her hands. Sue is a prolific knitter and crocheter and she had a friend who introduced her to a woman who was battling cancer. The friend's friend complained that one of the side effects of chemotherapy--hair loss--resulted in her head always being cold. That gave Sue the idea she was looking for and a channel for her knitting and crocheting passion and she was off!

Since 2001, Sue has enlisted the aid of retirees in assisted living communities and retirement homes, as well as women inmates at the women's prison in Towson, Maryland. The result: Sue and her army of knitters and crocheters have made more than 50,000 hats over the last six years and have mailed just as many to cancer patients and treatment centers all over the United States!

Sue Thompson, Founder and Organizer of Head Huggers--
a network of knitters and crocheters who make chemo caps for cancer patients.
Behind her, just a fraction of the yarn people have donated to her.

Over the years, people have donated boxes and boxes of skeins of yarn. Sue distributes the yarn to her network of knitters and crocheters, who turn the yarn into hats for a variety of climates: warm hats for cool climates, cool hats for warm climates, inbetween hats for inbetween climates. You name it and she has a hat for where you are if you're fighting cancer.

Sue continues to ply her good works, but she's slowing down a little because postage has become expensive and she and her husband live on a fixed income. That said, I'm making a plug for Sue and her wonderful Head Huggers organization. If you have yarn you want to get rid of, Sue will be happy to help you put it to good use. You can send it to her and she and her team of volunteers will continue to knit and crochet hats. If you knit or crochet and you'd like a creative outlet and you're looking for a way to give back to the community, contact Sue and become a part of her Head Huggers network. Most importantly, if you can spare a few dollars, send her a check and designate the donation for postage to help her defray the cost of shipping these wonderful hats to those in need. You can contact Sue via her website.

Sue Thompson doing what she loves and giving back to the community!

In a world full of war and discord, sickness and pain, Sue Thompson and the men and women who knit and crochet for Head Huggers are making a difference. I want to thank all of you who participated in the Holiday Party Meme Charity Event. Your willingness to play along is making a difference in the lives of cancer patients nationwide.

Thank you!

Photo copyright: D.C. Confidential


Anonymous said...

Inspiring! Thanks for posting that, Tewkes.

= Phoebe

Anonymous said...

That's so cool. I like to knit, too so I'm enamoured of her idea. If I recall correctly, didn't I pledge to match the final donation? I will check the site to see if I can donate from here, but if not, Tewkes, I will email you re: how to do it.

Thanks for this!

- Di

Lucy said...

How cute are those little hats! My sister died from cancer and they gave her those stupid scarves for caps that screamed CANCER. These are actually cute and anybody could wear them. Muchos Gracias!

Jess said...

This is a great post and a great concept. What a worthy cause to donate that money to.

J.M. Tewkesbury said...

Phoebe: You'd like this woman! She's a real firecracker.

Di: I totally forgot about that. I think you did say you'd match it. Let me know what you want to contribute and we'll figure out how to get it to Sue.

Lucy: Sue has some caps that are made out of that yarn that looks like really short hair (similar to what's woven into the cap in the picture) and she says people love those because they come in all different colors and from a distance they look like hair! I think, if I had cancer (God forbid!) I'd want caps like that.

Jess: It was a lot of fun and worth the time and effort!

Phoenix Touch said...

I totally got chivels on ths one, Jay. Thank you!

j.m. tewkesbury said...

Abgue: Pretty cool, huh?