Ladies from Holy Neck Christian Church show off some of the many community service projects they do, including bracelets, pillows and caps for cancer patients and dolls for Operation Smile. Seated from left are Emma Gardner, Joan Huddle and Pam Harris. Standing from left are Helen Carson, Linda Carr, Kim Katula and Patsy Lewis.
Ladies from Holy Neck Christian Church show off some of the many community service projects they do, including bracelets, pillows and caps for cancer patients and dolls for Operation Smile. Seated from left are Emma Gardner, Joan Huddle and Pam Harris. Standing from left are Helen Carson, Linda Carr, Kim Katula and Patsy Lewis.

Archived Story

Stringing together a cure

Published 7:28pm Saturday, March 16, 2013

Editor’s note: This is another in a series of stories leading up to the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life on May 17.

A group of women at Holy Neck Christian Church looked around one day not too long ago and realized something — about eight people in the church’s congregation of 150 or so were fighting cancer at the same time.

“There were just so many,” said Linda Carr. “Not only from our church, but so many different areas.”

The group already made dolls and hospital gowns for Operation Smile patients, as well as dresses and tote bags for girls in impoverished countries. They decided their efforts were easily expanded to the fight against cancer.

Soon they were making “chemo caps,” sewn from decorative patterns for women to wear on their head after chemotherapy treatment makes their hair fall out. They created pillows for breast cancer patients that have had surgery. They also started making bracelets of beautifully colored beads to sell for $10 or $15, donating the money to hospitals and community projects fighting cancer.

“All of the money is going back into the hospital and community,” Carr said. “We’re all excited.”

The bracelets come with a card encouraging cancer patients, reminding them that God is the great healer and asking all recipients to pray.

“Women that buy them can help us pray for those who are diagnosed, those who are survivors and those who are affected by cancer in any way,” Carr said.

The church pays for supplies for the bracelets. Members string various colors onto the stretchable bracelets, alternating the colored beads with rhinestones and ribbon-shaped beads. Folks can get a multi-colored bracelet to represent all the cancers or a bracelet that is all one color to represent a particular type of cancer.

For the women in the group, it’s not just bracelets. Each of them has either fought cancer herself or seen a close family member fight it.

Pam Harris ticks them off on her fingertips — her mother, grandmother, grandmother’s two sisters and four uncles all have battled the disease.

“You don’t really know what people do go through until you go through it yourself,” Joan Huddle said.

The response to the bracelets has been brisk, the women said. More than 500 have been sold.

“Norfolk General is one of our biggest customers,” Harris said. Orders have come in from as far away as Texas and Florida after a bracelet-wearer traveled and spread the word.

Carr said part of the money will go to Sentara Obici Hospital to help offset the cost of treatments for patients who are in need.

To order bracelets, call 986-4731.

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