The Times West Virginian

April 17, 2013

Hats with Hugs members to make blankets

To give to cancer, end-of-life patients as the successful program continues

By Mary Wade Burnside
Times West Virginian

FAIRMONT — Elaine Pollock is a longtime cancer survivor, but her treatment never prompted her to lose her hair.

Her daughter, Nancy Wolff, had a different experience after she was diagnosed with breast cancer.

That’s why Pollock enjoys Hats with Hugs events in which participants gather together and knit or crochet hats that will be given to cancer patients dealing with hair loss.

“I wanted to do my part here,” Pollock said.

The Hats with Hugs program at Fairmont General Hospital has been so successful that when the group gathers from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday at St. Peter’s Catholic Church, members will make soft fleece blankets to give to cancer and end-of-life patients, said Tricia Julian, oncology coordinator at Fairmont General.

Hats for Hugs began about five years ago when Liz McLellan, the wife of Dr. David McLellan, brought the idea to Julian.

“She saw a need for a program like this after seeing a similar program in Bridgeport,” Julian said. “She came to me with the suggestion, and we had our first event. It went well, so we decided to make it an annual event.”

Since then, Hats with Hugs has gone so well that for the Saturday event, participants will pay $15 to buy kits featuring pieces of soft fleece to tie together so patients can use them as blankets.

“We have such a huge stockpile of hats that we decided this year to have a different focus,” Julian said.

The items are called fleece prayer blankets, she added.


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