How Handmade Scarves Give Cancer Patients New Hope [Q&A]
Spreading warmth one strand at a time
Craft'd With Love creates and donates hand-knit scarves to cancer patients undergoing treatment during the cold winter months. The project is based on the belief that a simple, kind gesture can do wonders for the human spirit and help keep hope alive in even the most dire of situations.
Their beautiful scarves are meant to give patients a warm and familiar object, which they can take with them as they undergo treatment in cold hospital rooms. Since being founded in 2013, the charity gave away over 400 handmade scarves to spread some warmth and cheer to people in their most trying time.
Craft'd With Love Co-founder Silvia Fuentes spoke with Goodnet for this week’s 10 Good Questions to give an insight on what motivates and drives her team.
1. WHAT IS YOUR ORGANIZATION’S MISSION?
At the most basic level we would say it’s love. On the surface our mission is simple, we hand-knit scarves and donate them to cancer patients to help them stay warm, but on an emotional level it’s much more complex. We witnessed first-hand how a kind gesture can do wonders for the human spirit and help keep hope alive in the direst of situations.
Each scarf we deliver is meant to provide a sense of encouragement and comfort that are associated with knowing that someone is thinking of you and is wishing you well. As we continue to grow we want to find intersections to support causes like homelessness & foster care children. Although cancer is our primary cause we don’t want to limit the opportunities to touch the lives of others who can benefit from receiving our scarves.
2. WHAT MAKES YOU GUYS DIFFERENT FROM THE REST?
All our scarves are handmade in a variety of colors and styles that individuals can choose from. At our “Make-Your-Scarf” Pop-Up events recipients can customize their scarf to match their style by working with one of our volunteers. The online process is similar by giving people choices to pick from. Introducing the online scarf request program allows us to move beyond distance to reach patients living in the east coast. These patients are most in need of our scarves since they are forced to commute to and from treatment in freezing temperatures during the winter. We are firm believers that love is in the details, so each scarf is hand crafted and send-off wrapped in bright tissue paper with a hand written note to let the recipient know they are loved and supported.
3. WHAT THREE WORDS DESCRIBE YOUR ORGANIZATION?
Love, kindness, and dedication.
4. WHAT INSPIRES YOU?
We are inspired by our community and our partners. We read about all the amazing work that is being done across the country by individuals who are committed to make this world a better place. It’s projects like Khloe Kares and the Little Lambs of Utah that fuel or fire to grow and form new partnerships outside the cancer cause. My sister and I come from an art & design background so needless to say we often visit those avenues for inspiration as well.
5. WHO'S YOUR FAVORITE GOOD DOER FIGURE?
This project was born as a way for my sister and I to honor my mother. She instilled in us from an early age the importance of giving and loving unconditionally. She was our role model and our moral compass. Kindness doesn’t require great gestures. It can be as simple as rescuing a stray animal or buying lunch for the homeless person you walk by every day. Although there’s countless people doing amazing work in the world our favorite good doer will always be our mom.
6. WHAT IS THE BEST PART ABOUT YOUR JOB?
We have the privilege to bring a little joy to people undergoing heartbreaking situations and for that we are very grateful. During our Valentine’s Day “Make-Your-Scarf” Pop-Up event at the Los Angeles Ronald McDonald House last month a little girl came running up to us, wearing a huge smile, to share a thank you note she had made for our volunteers who helped her sew ladybug buttons onto her bright pink scarf. At that same event a mother told us, with tears in her eyes, that our mommy & me scarf set was going to be the first matching outfit her preemie son, who was currently in the NICU, and her would share.
7. HOW DO YOU MEASURE SUCCESS WITHIN YOUR ORGANIZATION?
Each year we challenge ourselves and our donors to surpass the number of scarves given during the previous year. We also like to set goals for ourselves and work hard to accomplish them. For example, this year we executed our first event which took place at Los Angeles Ronald McDonald House and we launched our online scarf request program. The Valentine’s Day “Make-Your-Scarf” Pop-Up event reinforced the fact there’s a dire need to create spaces like that for patients and their families to bond. Whether you are the patient or a family member, being stuck in the hospital for weeks is emotionally grueling. Distraction through artistic expression can be very therapeutic for these families. Our challenge for 2017-2018 season is to put together two events to double our impact.
8. FACEBOOK OR TWITTER?
9. WHAT DO YOU WANT GOODNET USERS TO KNOW ABOUT YOUR ORGANIZATION?
Our hope is that our story will inspire others to use their talents and life experiences to do good. Our first year we donated 25 scarves and partnered with one local organization. Since then over 600 scarves have been donated to organizations across the United States. Spreading kindness doesn’t take a lot of money and it isn’t about fancy gestures. It’s about empathy and humanity. Doing good begins with doing what you can where you are at. We all have something special to share with the world. We are grateful to all our family and friends who have supported us through personal donations and volunteer hours.
10. HOW CAN PEOPLE GET INVOLVED?
You can get involved by Making a donation at bit.ly/SharingWarmth or becoming a part of our Knitters Crew (e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org).