A local group of retirees, many of them Florida snowbirds, are putting their knack for knitting to good use.
They've created a club, stitching together caps and blankets for cancer patients. The cause is quite personal, and helps patients in unexpected ways.
Georgianna Kunisch loves to crochet. About a year ago, she and a neighbor started knitting together, but decided their talents should be shared to help others.
"Joann, my friend said, well if you like to crochet, and don't have a place to put it, just about every cancer [treatment facility] in the country is looking for hats and shawls," Kunisch said.
For Kunisch, a cancer survivor, that purpose was quite personal.
"I've got to contribute something back because I'm not dead!" she said.
Before she knew it, the group Caps for Moffitt Cancer Center was born. Through the summer, just two ladies spent time crocheting these beautiful caps and blankets. As snowbirds flocked to Florida, more women joined in.
The group has now crafted more than 300 caps.
"It just makes me feel that my life is worth something," Kunisch said.
Cancer patient Ruthe Blanton said these crocheted caps are a lifeline. Chemo makes her body get cold easily, so these hats provide physical warmth while also warming her outlook on the fight ahead.
"Being positive is the most important thing you can do, you know, and anything that helps you be positive and these help, without a doubt," Blanton said.
Blanton has beaten the odds on her own diagnosis already and her tumors continue to shrink.
The knitters are thrilled that every stitch they make is helping improve attitudes and outcomes for patients in the fight of their lives.
"If doing that and me spending the time and effort makes somebody happy and feel better and deal with this horrible, horrible nasty disease, and make it almost fun, it's well worth it. I'll be doing this until my hands fall off!" Kunisch said.