Strength delivered in stitches

Strength delivered in stitches

A unique nonprofit organization promotes crafting for a cause

Ashley Parks

Staff Writer

parks5@umbc.edu

People from across the United States have been crocheting in support of those battling cancer. Project Chemo Crochet, a nonprofit organization, accepts monetary and handmade donations in order to deliver afghans to cancer patients.

War has been declared and the warriors are wearing pink. They confront their enemy cloaked in yarn squares delivered from around the world. The battle is fierce but the troops are unyielding. Armed with crochet hooks, they march forth in support of those fighting cancer.

Nicole Dow-Macosky is at the head of this effort. It began as a wish to honor her mother, Marianne, who passed away after 11 months of battling breast cancer. Her mother’s love of crochet and her own love of blankets inspired an idea to create patchwork donations for cancer patients. This later evolved into Project Chemo Crochet.

Now, the nation has taken notice. Each week, nine-inch crochet squares crafted from all possible colors, textures and hook sizes, are arriving in Fort Washington, PA. and Cupertino, CA. Volunteers, from teenagers to seniors, gather the squares and stitch them together into colorful afghans. These blankets are being shipped throughout the U.S. and are now crossing over into Canada.

“If someone knows a person who is currently battling cancer, they can fill out this form with the name and address and the rest is left to us,” says Macosky. “I pick out a blanket, write each person a personal letter and ship the blanket to them, free of charge.” The form can be found at www.projectchemocrochet.com, along with the stories of many blanket recipients and directions for making and shipping crafted donations.

For those without hooks, donations can still be made. Macosky says, “If someone can’t crochet, they can make a tax deductible donation to us that can be used to send a blanket to someone else.” Currently, there have been about 600 blankets crocheted and 550 of them have made it to destinations in all 50 states.

A considerable stitching effort has been established since the birth of the organization in January of 2013. The cause has accrued 1170 likes on Facebook and 219 followers on Twitter. Pictures of people smiling and embracing their homemade gifts are seen in posts that end with #chemo and #crochet. Macosky says, “I love how the word spreads. I began this project as a way to keep connected to my mom and pass along her fighting spirit to everyone else in the fight.”

After receiving a touching response from a blanket recipient named Cathy, Macosky decided to leave her job as an educator and devote all her efforts to Project Chemo Crochet. The quote can be found in the organization’s brochure to fan the flame of fortitude in all Pink Warriors.

Cathy said, “Project Chemo Crochet did exactly as they intended: sending me ‘strength, support and love from so many near and far.’ I’ll never forget what you all did for me at a time when I need it most. Thank you, thank you and when I can’t say it anymore, thank you again.”