Sunday, April 6, 2014

Sadie Sunshine

The Internet can be a wonderful place. In posting the link to the heart and cross popcorn stitch prayer cloths I received a comment from the designer and from there I have had the pleasure of conducting the following interview with the coordinator of Sadie Sunshine. Sadie Sunshine is the Kentucky branch of a larger organization called Crochet for Cancer.

I am not personally familiar with this organization as I was with the other coordinators that I have interviewed, but Carolyn is doing a wonderful job ministering to those in need in memory of her sweet granddaughter.

Crochet for Cancer, the web site for the headquarters so to speak, has much valuable information. It specifies that they will "accept any type of crochet/knit/sewn items that will benefit and uplift the spirits of people taking treatments for cancer. For example, sewn cloth turbans, crochet teddy bears, scarves, prayer shawls, lap blankets, gloves, socks, etc. If you have a specific item that you would like to donate and are unsure, please contact the chapter leader where you plan to send your items."

Here is the interview.

The name of this organization is ... 
Sadie Sunshine Chapter of Crochet for Cancer 

You can find the web site at ...

Please introduce yourself and let us know your position or connection with the organization.
My name is Carolyn Dorsey and I started this chapter in memory of my grandaughter, Sadie Caroline Davis, who we lost to cancer in December 2012 at the age of 17 months. [Crochet Cabana: Sadie had acute myeloma leukemia]

How and when did the organization begin? What is the purpose of this organization?
I started the chapter in April 2013 after finding information about Crochet for Cancer in my internet research. I thought it would be a perfect thing to give chemo hats to those receiving cancer treatment to spread some sunshine into their lives.

Do you personally deliver the collected items to the intended recipients? If you do not, who does and how do you ensure that the items get where they need to be?
I mail hats etc to specific people when requested, and mail or deliver to hospitals and treatment centers - Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital in Nashville, TN; Kosair's Children's Hospital in Louisville, KY; locally to our infusion center at Methodist Hospital in Henderson, KY; and to Chemo Buddies who serve all the treatment facilities in the Evansville/Newburgh, IN area.

Scripture sent with each donation
How can fiber crafters help? What types of items do you accept?
Are there any special tips or requirements for the items needed? Yarn colors, finished size of items, yarn used (wool, acrylic, sport, worsted, bulky...)
Details on the hats, suggested patterns, and tips on donating items suitable may be found on the main web page at

A few tips from the Crochet for Cancer site:
They accept items for children or adults; knitted, crocheted or sewn; clean, never worn, free of perfume, detergent, pet hair and smoke. Solid patterns without gaps or holes for chemo caps. No wool. See the web site for other helpful information.

It is understandable that you need to have a person's contact information in case there is a problem and for recordkeeping. Do you allow participants to remain anonymous to those who receive the items?
I use only first names and the state they are from on the facebook page - no personal information is given. I do get the information for my records but just so I can write thank you notes.

hats, prayer cloths, ribbon scarves

Is there a particular item that you yourself enjoy making more than any other?
I make crocheted prayer shawls mostly and these are given locally and also, upon special request, I will mail one to a specific person.

prayer shawl

Does your family participate in your charity effort? If so, how? If not, are they supportive of your work?
My family and everyone is supportive of my work - I have several friends locally who come and help me tag and package the hats to deliver. I receive donations from all over the country, Puerto Rico, and Germany

What would you say to convince volunteers that your effort is legitimate and they can be assured the pieces they send will be used as they intend?
As far as convincing volunteers that I am doing what I say with their donated items, all they need to do is follow our facebook page and they can see everything there that is done. It has never been an issue.

Is there anything else you'd like people to know about your charity effort or you personally?
The main thing I would like people to know is that anyone who is told they have cancer, and especially if their child or grandchild has cancer, it is a very frightening and helpless experience. It threatens their life and their security. We were at the hospital for only six weeks - many are in and out for years in treatment. The experience was heart wrenching to see our precious child suffer, and all the while she never stopped smiling. I learned so much from her during that time about what really matters in life. While she was sick we had so many people supporting us and praying for her and bringing gifts, meals, and anything they could think of to comfort. This is why I wanted to start this chapter, first in her memory so that I could talk about her and share her story and her little life, and second to comfort those who are going through the same battle. We believe in paying it forward for all the love that was showered on her and on us. My heart was broken to lose her, but I find a certain amount of peace in doing for others who are going through the same time in their lives. It is healing for me and is also so rewarding for those who are involved in the making of the hats, prayer cloths, etc. I thank them - and they thank me for allowing them to help. I could go on for hours - but that is basically it. 

I want to thank Carolyn for sharing with us about her branch of this wonderful organization.

As noted above, Carolyn has shared free patterns that you can use for your own charity purposes and also for donating to Sadie Sunshine. I made one of her heart prayer cloths using puff stitches instead of popcorn stitches (just personal preference). I used a G hook and I think it is sport peach yarn. It took me about 45 minutes to make one. I think I got a bit faster after making a few of them.

heart prayer cloth
Crochet for Cancer also has patterns you can use for this purpose though you are not required to use those specific patterns. For chemo caps, patients request closed patterns with no holes.

If you would like to donate an item to Sadie Sunshine you can send it to Carolyn at:
Sadie Sunshine Chapter
c/o Memories Past and Present

324 N. Elm Street
Henderson, KY  42420

Thanks again to Carolyn for sharing her work with Sadie Sunshine.

Happy crocheting!

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