Proper to left: Oncology social employee Jilynne Hafen, clinic coordinator at radiation oncology Jen Stafford and Valerie Johnson pose with Johnson’s 250th donated hat on the Intermountain Most cancers Middle in St. George, Utah, March 19, 2021 | Picture by Megan Webber, St. George Information
ST. GEORGE — What started as St. George resident Valerie Johnson’s small, solo mission, led to her comradery with 9 others – and the joint manufacturing of 250 hats.
In 2019, Johnson started knitting hats for her husband, who was receiving therapy at Intermountain Most cancers Middle. Throughout that point, Johnson donated no matter further hats she needed to the most cancers heart. After her husband handed away that September, Johnson gathered a bunch of mates who lived close by to maintain her firm whereas she continued her mission.
“Valerie and I and Joyce, Heather and Jenny, we’re all widows,” Linda Wall, one of many authentic group members, advised St. George Information. “It helped us to get collectively … so we had someone that understood us.”
The group, not too long ago nicknamed “Val’s Gals,” has grown to incorporate mates of mates who reside exterior Johnson’s improvement. The group members agreed that the most effective a part of doing what they do is attending to spend some social time collectively and do one thing of service on the similar time. Leslie Lubeck, the group’s latest addition, mentioned she appears ahead to coming to the group each week as a result of it doesn’t really feel like simply hanging out. The group often meets at Johnson’s home, and so they speak about all the things from politics to humorous tales, all whereas doing one thing good.
“Being the brand new individual, the factor that I discovered is how completely different all of us are and but we’ve this in frequent,” Lubeck advised St. George Information. “And all our variations will be put apart and we are able to simply giggle, and I look ahead to Wednesdays.”
To rejoice the 250th hat being dropped off, a good friend of Johnson’s invited the group to her house final week for a particular luncheon. After all of the salmon and shrimp cocktails they might eat, the group gathered in the lounge to get again to work. A lot of the girls within the group knit, however two crochet and one makes use of a loom. In addition they train one another how one can knit or crochet if somebody needs to strive one thing new.
Not one of the group members are initially from St. George, and there isn’t a lot that connects them apart from their craft. Regardless of their variations, Lubeck added that that’s not the way it feels.
“It looks like we’re all the identical,” she mentioned.
As soon as the group has completed about 10 or 20 hats, Johnson places them in a plastic bag and drives to the most cancers heart to drop them off. Earlier than the COVID-19 pandemic, most cancers sufferers might choose up a hat from a basket in one of many ready areas. When the pandemic hit, hats needed to be picked up on the entrance desk. Now, some are neglected in baskets once more for sufferers to seize.
Jen Stafford, clinic coordinator for radiation oncology and entrance desk attendant at Intermountain Most cancers Middle, mentioned any affected person who needs a hat is welcome to have one.
Communications specialist Bonnie Hennefer added that the hospital and most cancers sufferers are grateful for the donations they’ve acquired from Johnson’s group, and they’re at all times keen to just accept extra.
After 250 hats, Val’s Gals aren’t able to decelerate. They joked that it will be laborious to high the luncheon that marked this milestone, but when they make it to 500 hats, a visit to Las Vegas could also be referred to as for.
Johnson’s group makes use of yarn from round the home to make their hats, however in addition they settle for donations. Anybody who want to donate yarn can email Valerie Johnson.
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