Neighbor stories

Cancer Survivor Knits Hats for Oncology Unit with the Help of Neighbors

Written by ndmulti

For Maribeth R. in Austin, TX, a breast cancer diagnosis could have sent her into despair – but she refused to let that happen. Instead, she took it as a sign to fight, and help others like her along the way.

The devastating news was delivered on her mother’s birthday. It was especially hard, since Maribeth’s mother had passed away from cancer several years prior.

“It was pretty bad,” Maribeth admits. “It was very clear that something was wrong.”

“The donations just poured in.”
Her treatment began immediately, with two different surgeries and radiation. Throughout it all, Maribeth developed friendships with the other women who were battling cancer at the same oncology center. Many of them were losing their hair throughout the treatments – but not Maribeth.

“I felt a little guilty that I didn’t lose my hair with them,” she says. Inspired to do something to ease the loss for the other women, Maribeth learned to crochet and began to make warm, soft hats for them to wear. The hats were all different colors, and some were stitched with flowers and other embellishments.

However, a surprise surgery in the middle of Maribeth’s treatments threatened to halt her progress in its tracks. Maribeth had back issues completely unrelated to her cancer diagnosis that required surgery, and the recovery laid her flat on her back for months. Unable to work and with no extra money for yarn, Maribeth’s passion project came to a halt.

Until her sister stepped in. Maribeth’s sister posted online, including to her neighborhood’s Nextdoor website, explaining Maribeth’s situation and asking for donations for yarn.

“It was overwhelming,” she says. “The donations just poured in.”

Though crocheting while laying down was difficult, the outpouring from the community inspired Maribeth to keep going. In total, she made over 45 hats, delivering them to her fellow patients at the oncology center.

“I’m just glad they’re enjoying the hats,” she says. “That makes me happy.”

And she isn’t stopping there. Maribeth says her daughter just began working as a nurse in a neonatal intensive care unit. When she isn’t crocheting hats for the oncology center, she plans to start crocheting blankets for premature infants.

Originally reported by CBS Austin.

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