Knitted Hats When the pandemic started almost a year ago, Monique Gauthier needed something to occupy her time.
Luckily, her aunt gave her a plastic loom and yarn as a present, so after her mom, Paula, figured out how to use it and showed her, Monique set about making hats.
Over the year, she knitted 106 baby-sized caps, which she donated to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in December.
Now, she is 30 hats deep into a collection of adult-sized hats she hopes to donate to the hospital for cancer patients, she said.
“It was another thing for me to do and keep me busy.”
Normally, she would be occupied with part-time work a few days a week and playing a variety of sports through Special Olympics, particularly curling, but everything has remained on hold.
Making the hats was a life saver while being stuck at home, said Paula.
“It really saved our sanity, both of us.”
The Guardian reporter’s son, Augustus Robar, models one of Monique Gauthier’s knitted caps. – Michael Robar
Each hat ends up unique, as Monique uses different colours of wool and makes them in different styles. For the Christmas donation, she even made special Santa-style ones, red with a white brim. They take her about a day to make, while the larger ones take three or four days, depending on how much time she spends each day.
Switching to the larger hats came about when someone made the suggestion after Monique made her first donation, said Paula.
Knitted Hats “After making 100 baby hats, she needed a change, and somebody mentioned it would be a good idea.”
Even having made so many, it’s still an activity she loves doing, Monique said.
“I do it almost every day while I’m watching TV. That was mom’s idea to do something while I’m watching TV.”
Pictured is the box of about 30 adult-sized hats Monique has been working on and hopes to donate to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital for cancer patients. – Michael Robar
Being able to donate them was a huge plus knitted hats, she said.
“I like giving to the babies, making mothers happy and making nurses happy giving them to them.”
Paula’s part is small in the endeavour, finishing each hat by stitching them shut. She’s thankful her daughter has something to keep her busy at home.
“It’s great to get her involved in something. It’s something she’s able to do and she takes pleasure in it, and every single one she looks at she loves.”
Once Monique finishes her current batch of adult hats for donation, she’s not sure if she’ll go back to making baby caps, but she knows she’ll keep making them, regardless, she said.
10-year-old Stark County brain cancer patient sets out to help other sick kids
“What we were thinking was acid reflux was kind of, like, flaring up, and we took him to the doctor a couple of times,” Melissa Hendershot said of her son. “He was started on some acid reflux medications and would go really, really good. And then all of a sudden, he would start getting sick again in the mornings, and we were like, ‘Well, this is really odd.'”
It was out of nowhere, and getting worse. Headaches and dizziness forced a trip to Akron Children’s Hospital
“They did a CT scan and the doctor was like, ‘Something’s not right,” Melissa remembered.
On Carson’s 10th birthday, the worst was confirmed: A brain tumor.
“They’re like, ‘Yeah, we’re pretty sure that this is medulloblastoma,'” Melissa said.
Stage 4 cancer. A gut punch no mother should ever endure.
“I remember when they told me, I’m pretty sure I just dropped to my knees in the ER room,” Melissa remembered. “I can remember repeatedly saying, ‘What’s wrong with my baby?'”
Then, something remarkable. While going through chemo and radiation, Carson had an idea: Helping other kids just like him.
“He was like, ‘You know, all these people send me things, and I want to do something for somebody else,’ Melissa said. “And at 10 years old, for you to think of something like that, it just blows me away.”
“We’re probably nearing 2,000 hats,” Melissa said.
Carson gets local donations and also an Amazon wishlist. Then, his family drops them off at Akron Children’s.
“He’s so excited when there’s a new package that comes to the house or we get a new email from a company that says, ‘Hey, I heard about your story,'” Melissa said.
His story went somewhere else, too. We told the Indians about Carson’s love for the team. Pitcher Nick Wittgren stepped up immediately and sent Carson a video.
We surprised on a Zoom call. Here’s what Nick said:
Knitted Hats“Hey Carson, Nick Wittgren, here, a pitcher for the Tribe. Man, I just want to say, I heard about your story and everything that you’re doing down at the Akron Children’s Hospital with your Hats of Hope. You’re an inspiration to us all, man. Seriously, we are all there with you. We’re supporting you. I would love it, if we’re allowed any fans at the games this year, that my family and I can host you and your family for a game. We’d love it. If you guys could come on over and, you know, see the game, hang out beforehand and stuff. Dude, just, you’re an inspiration. Just know that all of us, all of the Tribe, are with you. All right, have a good one, man. Go Tribe!”
Carson’s reaction? Priceless, because his mom says the whole family loves the Tribe.
Melissa hopes by next year, Carson will being playball himself. Also, good news: Carson shows no signs of a reoccurring tumor on his scans. He has more treatment, but his family is optimistic about his future, plus so very grateful for all the love they’ve received.
“It’s unbelievable the outpouring of support that we’ve had, and we just can’t thank everybody enough,” Melissa said.