TAMPA — November is Lung Cancer Awareness Month. Lung Cancer is the most deadly form of cancer, yet it’s also one of the least funded when it comes to money raised for research. There is a non-profit organization in Tampa that’s trying to change that, one stitch at a time.
In the knitting world, a gathering of needles and thread is usually called a “knit along,” but at Stash yarn shop, they’ve changed it to “knit a lung.”
“Gatherings where we can knit items that we can actually take to cancer patients and give them comfort while they are going through this horrible thing, they can get something that’s warm and loving and made with care,” said Debbie Ploor, with Prelude to a Cure.
Whether it’s a hat, socks or sweater, the non-profit just wants to make sure every item includes a small lung charm. They cost $10, with all proceeds going back to seed grants for lung cancer research.
“Our grants go to researchers who, we call them mavericks, they are out there with the next big idea out of the box,” said Ploor. “The ultimate goal is a cure.”
One of those researchers working alongside this tight-knit group, is Dr. Theresa Boyle, with Moffitt Cancer Center.
“I didn’t have a reputation where I would be handed funding left to right to support to my ideas so it was so important to have this grassroots level support so I can pursue this research idea for patients with lung cancer,” said Boyle.
Sherry Haines is one of those patients. She was diagnosed in 2018.
“And it was shocking because I’m a never smoker,” said Haines. She said one of the biggest misconceptions about lung cancer is that you have to smoke to get it.
“It’s not true and it really hurts our research dollars,” said Haines.
She said whether you’re a long-time seamstress or picking out fabric for the first time, there are thousands of patients just like her clinging to every stitch of hope.
“I think it really is impactful, it just shows that there are people out there that care, complete strangers, it makes you feel like you’re not alone,” said Haines.
If you’re feeling creative and want to knit for a cause you can drop off your creation at any Stash location.
For more information on the Knit A Lung program go to https://www.p2ac.org.