A warm gesture

Hat donation

For the last five years, Vicky Richards has been using her talents to brighten the lives of patients and families at Parkview Health.

“A lot of times, when you know how to crochet or knit or quilt, you end up with stacks and stacks of this stuff,” Vicky said. “You can only go to so many craft shows! By making a donation, someone gets use out of and can appreciate the things I’m making.”

Among other items, Vicky has gifted Parkview with blankets and hats for stillborn babies and “lovies” (blankets with stuffed animals sewn into the middle) for patients in the Pediatric unit. “I’m just paying it forward,” she said. “My family has struggled in the past, and we have had to use services to get by. Once my husband and I were established, I wanted to give back. I get all of my yarn from second-hand stores and garage sales, which makes it something I can afford to do.”

Hat donation

While historically, Vicky’s projects have gone to a younger population, recent events led her to turn her talents to the Parkview Cancer Institute. “I’ve had a couple of people in my life recently touched by cancer. My friend, Lisa, is currently being treated for breast cancer down in Florida, and on the 16th of this month, we found out that my brother has lung cancer.” To honor these loved ones, Vicky recently donated 30 hats, featuring various characters and designs, to the PCI.

“I’ve heard that the treatments can make people cold, so I wanted to do something to keep them warm. I did a variety of colors and wanted to be sure and include options that men would like, too. I wanted to be sure that whoever needs one can take one.”

Hat donation

Some of the styles are crocheted, while others, including a few adorable owl hats, are loom knitted. Each offering took the crafter about one day to complete.

For her next donation, Vicky has already completed 31 hats – one for each of the 31 days in January – to go to little ones in Labor & Delivery at the Women’s & Children’s Hospital. She’s also busy teaching those around her the art of crocheting, so that they, too, can warm others. “I give them a kit with everything they need to get started. I figure that I’m not just passing on the gift of a finished item, but the knowledge they need so they can pay it forward, too.”

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