Calling all Knitters!

looking for knitters

It’s time to start preparing for a publicity campaign.

Something that Bronwyn’s cancer journey has given us, that is positive, is the chance to met several celebrities. Most of these meetings can be credited to Gilda’s Club, a charity started in the name of Gilda Radner to give support to those going through cancer treatment and their families. It has shown me that celebs are no different than any of us. They have huge hearts and have no problem using their status to support legitimate, good causes.

The Plan: To knit hats in gold yarn and send them to celebrities with info on the project and ask they take a picture of themselves in the hat and tweet it or vine it or FB it, whatever form of social media they use.

The Need: Knitters! We need knitters to knit ether the September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month Hat or Speaking of Cancer out of nice yarn {nothing fuzzy}.

What to do with the hats: Hats could be sent to me. I have some direct connections and Gilda’s Club will help as well. It would be great if we could find others who are willing to find addresses and send hats too in the USA, Europe, Australia and other countries. We will work on literature to send with the hats. Something like a card, not to wordy.

When: Knitting could commence at anytime but we will aim to send out hats in August/September.

Spread the word!

Here is a picture from April, 2013, when we met Maggie Q, star of Nikkia and the up coming movie Divergent. Long story short: She pays our rent {found and furnished our Toronto apartment} as Bronwyn waits for a heart transplant. I will be personally knitting her hat! Bronwyn is the tall one. The other two munchkins are heart transplant recipients.

meeting Maggie-2

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Contracts Go Out to 18 Designers!

My heart is so full right now. I am so touched by the generosity of my fellow designers, willing to donate hours of work to raise funds and awareness for childhood cancer.

It has been a rollercoaster of emotions these last few days. One child, who’s FB page I have been following, past away from the same form of cancer my daughter had. Another child of only 7 y/o received a VAD, just like Bronwyn’s, for the same reason she did, chemo induced cardiomyopathy.

It’s all so close to home. So much reason to wallow in sadness.

Then I turn to my work on the Gold Ribbon Craft Project and I find purpose and hope in my designs. I see love and caring from all the beautiful designs submitted by others. All but one of the designers who have contributed are strangers to me. They are not participating because we are friends or because I asked them. The patterns they are working on are an expression of their desire and need to make a difference for children fighting cancer today and those not yet diagnosed.

The positive responses I continue to receive from these giving souls spreads a warmth through my weary heart.

smashingwalnuts sneekpeek-1

Here is a sneak peek of the Smashing Walnuts skirt in honour of Gabriella Miller

Metallic GOLD for 2014!

In case you haven’t noticed metallic gold is haute! Fashion lines are full of shiny gold for spring and fall this year. I just spent the last hour blowin’ up my pinterest with all the gold. January is a great time of year to get discounted gold pieces in preparation for going GOLD in September and it’s never too soon to start thinking about what crazy GOLD outfit you’re going to wear to childhood cancer awareness events.

Yes, you read that right: “crazy GOLD outfit”! When we did the GOLD Walk last September in Toronto [first annual walk from Sick Kids to the waterfront where we watched the CN Tower go GOLD] many of us did our best to gold-up ourselves! It was so much fun! We got people’s attention as we walked. People stopped asked us, “Why is everyone wearing gold?” Even people in cars!

I am challenging you all to go crazy and get attention this fall! Wear gold! Wear it crazy! Go to the dollar store. Buy everything you can find that is gold. Go to the Sally Anne and find that gold dress from the 50’s for $15. [My daughter did this!] Go through your christmas decorations. Pull everything that is gold and then make a crazy GOLD outfit and go to an event. Is there no event where you are? MAKE ONE! A walk is an easy event to create. Challenge your friends and family to get decked out in gold, make some signs and go for a walk!

So…..what are you wearing this September? Need inspiration? Check out my GOLD pinterest board.

Here’s a taste:
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Make a crazy headdress:
Grace+Jones
The fabulous Grace Jones.

Cover a dress in sequins or garland:
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Cover your shoes in glitz:
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Go Crazy!! Go GOLD!!

I’m in militant mode!…..

Don’t tell me that it can’t be done!  I have been working on gathering patterns, knit/crocheted in gold to publish a collection for childhood cancer awareness with all proceeds going to childhood cancer research.

It has been slow going…..to say the least.

I know…….I’m a nobody in the fibre world, just another enthusiast among millions.

I know…….designing patterns is a lot of work and a big ask, especially when asking people to do it for free.

AND I know…….children are dying around me because they have run out of options due to lack of research!
…….children, I personally know, are being diagnosed with cancer for the first time. Two in the last month! Add those to the 1,500 children diagnosed this year in Canada.
…….children, I personally know, are relapsing because what is being done is NOT WORKING!
…….children, I personally know, like my daughter, are suffering from huge, chronic and life-threatening health problems because the toxic treatments damaged them so severely. [98% of ALL childhood cancer survivors suffer this fate.]

I am SICK of this crap!

Yes, I know that a collection of patterns is not going to change the world BUT
maybe, just maybe it could help more people become aware of the issues,
maybe, just maybe the funds raised will help find better treatments.

I can’t do the research. I can’t change the policies that allocate pennies to childhood cancer research when compared to the millions invested in adult cancers. I can’t make my daughter all better.

BUT this I can do! Don’t tell me I can’t! Don’t tell me there are not fibre designers out there who, like me, are willing to donate some time to try and make a difference. I know there are! I know the fibre community to be full of big, generous, fluffy hearts of love! I have found a few but not enough. I keep running into roadblocks and people telling me what a difficult thing I am trying to do.

So I am doing what I should have done months ago…..

HELP!

I am asking all my friends and followers to please help! Looking for something good to do this Christmas? This is it: Ask your friends and followers if they can help.

I need DESIGNERS to donate a knit/crochet pattern, in gold [Gold could be anything from delicate and creamy to bright and happy to dark and splendid and it is the color for childhood cancer awareness.] for free. Contact me for more details.

I need YARNIES to dedicate a colourway in September, 2014, to childhood cancer awareness. [Not looking for yarn donations.]

I need a LOGO DESIGNER to donate time and talents.

I need EDITORS to donate time and talents.

I need PROMOTERS to donate time and talents.

I need KNITTERS/CROCHETERS willing to donate time to make some things to help with promotion.

I need ……SMART PEOPLE, with big hearts, willing to help, to donate time and talents, to do whatever needs to be done.

Thank-you and Merry Christmas!

goldcraft-1

ps: still working on naming the project……really need a logo designer ASAP.

Gold Ribbon Craft: A Thesis

The purpose: To increases awareness of childhood cancers which will lead to more money for research to find better treatments and a cure.

The need: One in 330 children will be diagnosed with cancer before the age of 20. One in five will die within the first 5 years of diagnosis. Many more die later from relapse or side effects of treatments. Ninety-eight percent of all survivors will suffer from at least one chronic health issue and by age 45, 80% will have a critical or disabling health problem. Most of these health issues are side effects of the treatment. In terms of potential years lost childhood cancer comes second only to breast cancer. Four percent of the NCI’s research budget goes to all childhood cancers. In Canada three percent is given. Big pharma puts little research into childhood cancers as they are not profitable. The underfunding is a worldwide problem.

The method: Gold Ribbon Craft is a collection of gold themed knit or crochet patterns to help raise awareness. Gold could be anything from delicate and creamy too bright and happy too dark and splendid and it is the color for childhood cancer. I am looking for designers and yarn dyers who are willing to donate their talents for this cause. Patterns will be quality designed items that are a pleasure to knit and crochet and can be worn and thereby seen by others, designed primarily for adults with a few for children or sized for all. Although some items may be suitable to be a quick project for fundraising or charity this is not the primary goal.

Those passionate about knitting and crocheting beautiful items to spread awareness are looking for well-designed patterns they can be proud of wearing and giving.

The deadline for designs and finished objects is April 15th, 2014. Publishing date will be in September, 2014.

And that’s the plan so far…..

The idea for the gold project came to me last summer, when Bronwyn was recovering from VAD surgery. I felt the crushing need to do something to improve childhood cancer treatments so no other family has to endure what we have. You can read about Bronwyn’s story in the Knitting in a Hopeless Place posts. Here is the capsule version: Bronwyn was diagnosed with AML, a difficult to treat leukemia, on January 15th, 2012. She endured four months of intense in-hospital treatment and was cancer free but on May 16th, while still recovering in the Children’s Hospital in London, Ontario she suffered chemo induced cardiomyopathy and was airlifted to Sick Kids Hospital in Toronto where we were told she would die as her heart was too weak and her blood counts were too low to be put on life support. For two weeks the doctors and Bronwyn did everything possible to stay alive on the chance her counts would rise and they did. On June 3rd she underwent open heart surgery to have an LVAD put in. It is a small heart assist device that will keep her alive until she qualifies to be put on the transplant list on January 15th, 2014 and through the wait for a new heart.

This project is very personal to me. I signed my daughter up for torchure because it was the only option available. If you know anything about chemo you know I do not exaggerate. She didn’t go to the hospital once a week for a dose. She had 2-3 different chemos running through her central line over 2 1/2 – 3 hours every 12 hours for 10 days during the first chemo round. This is not unusual for childhood cancer treatment. She was given three weeks for her blood to recover, most spent in hospital as she had no immune system, before being put through another round of chemo lasting days. This went on for four months, four chemo rounds. Blood counts took longer to recover each time. We met a girl whose blood counts didn’t recover for months after the same treatment. This is why the doctors didn’t believe Bronwyn would live long enough to get the invasive treatment she needed to survive heart failure. I hope you never have to tell your child she may die and help her make end-of-life decisions. It’s hell. The recovery from VAD surgery, after being sick for so long was brutal but we were grateful she had something to recover from. Her first steps on July 6th, 2012 were a celebration. She was discharged on August 9th and tomorrow she will start grade 9 making her the first child in Ontario to attend public school with a VAD.

Before cancer Bronwyn was a healthy athlete. She had no heart issues. She was fit and ate a wholesome diet. She was a Highland Dancer competition
[
Highland Dance Competition, Nov. 5th, 2011]

and competitive curler. curling team
[Team Keetch, 2011]

She was handpicked by her coach for a team with Olympics as the goal. It has been hard to watch the team go on without her but they still wear an orange ribbon [the colour for leukemia] on their team jackets.

She is a leader camp gitch
[
Junior Camp Counselor at Camp Gitchigomee, summer, 2011]

and a good friend.
bedroom
[
Bronwyn and Haylie in Bronwyn’s bedroom]

Her friends, dance troupe, curling team and kids and staff at Camp Gitchigomee love her and miss her and Bronwyn misses them. All she wants is to go back home.sleeping giant-1
[The Sleeping Giant in the Thunder Bay harbour. Home.]

It’s what we all want…..but we have a different road to travel. So here we wait in Toronto for a new heart and make the best of it. Bronwyn will go to school, Sinead and Barry will work and I will do what I can to raise awareness. I am committed to getting this collection of patterns published. I must make some good come out of our tragedy. People will say that things happen for a reason. I disagree. My daughter got cancer because we live in a world of sickness. If there is any reason to be found it is because we will create it.

I know the fibre community to be full of passion, generosity and creativity. The Knitting for Gold project is the perfect expression for it. knitter's frolic-1
[
The Yarns of Rhichard Devrieze table at The Knitter’s Frolic in Toronto. Rhichard has been a great support of this project, printing and handing out these Knitting for Gold fliers and talking to fellow dyers and designers about it. It so touched my heart to see he had the picture of us, taken at the Creativ Festival, fall, 2012 where we met, framed and on his table as well.]