A Gift of Warmth that Will Warm Your Heartbeth garris

As the weather gets colder and the holidays draw nearer, many people are in need of additional garments to keep warm during the winter season. This is especially true for the cancer patients receiving treatment at the Danny Talbott Cancer Center on the campus of Nash UNC Health Care. Community members often take it upon themselves this time of year to make hats and scarves for these patients and donate them to the Cancer Center to be handed out to patients who need them. 

One community member and Nash UNC employee, Beth Garris, decided to make hats for the patients and donated 100 hats to the Cancer Center that she crocheted herself. Sterling Grimes, executive director of the Cancer Center, said that Beth asked her about making hats months ago.

“She wanted to know the details and what was needed specifically to donate the hats. She wanted to know about how many men and women would need hats, what kind of yarn to use, etc.” said Grimes.

Beth Garris works as a financial analyst for Nash UNC and has worked there for four years. “Cancer is so ugly and people are dealing with everything that the illness and sickness brings, that I thought having something pretty would help offset that some. I was just looking to lift the spirits of our patients a little bit because everyone needs that from time to time,” said Garris. Garris explained that she learned to crochet from her grandmother and it brings her joy to make these hats.

“My aunt had cancer and I remember when she lost all of her hair that it was important for her to wear a toboggan and she always wanted it to look nice. So my grandmother crocheted hats for her to wear, and I thought it would be nice if I could do the same for others,” said Garris.

A patient at the Cancer Center, Millard Mitchell, expressed his appreciation for the hats.hats

“I think it’s nice to have these for patients here at the Cancer Center. It was very nice of her to make all of these hats and I really appreciate her taking the time to do something so special for us,” said Mitchell.
Grimes explained how important and significant the hats are for the patients.

“Hats are simple, special, personal, and symbolic. Each hat is handmade by someone or an organization in our community, and each one is made specifically for a community member with cancer. The people and organizations using their personal time and resources to make these hats will never be personally thanked by the person receiving the gift, and yet, they continue to make them. Patients are grateful and appreciative to have a beautiful and thoughtful, practical gift,” said Grimes.

“Beth showed up with two tremendous bags of hats with personal labels and already washed yarn. She said that she enjoyed doing it, and that this was her way of giving back,” Grimes added.

Grimes explained that the need for hats is always the greatest this time of year and the Cancer Center is usually in need of community members and organizations to help provide the much needed items.

“When the weather turns cold and stays cold, the hats are given out much faster. We encourage patients to take more than one. We want them to have some to wash and some to wear, and to pick some that match their outfits if they want to! A big goal for us is to make care fun whenever possible for our patients.”

Beth Garris said that she plans on making more crocheted hats for the Cancer Center in the future.

“I have already started on the next batch of hats and hope to donate more soon,” said Garris. Community members can donate hats, scarves, or other items to the Cancer Center by contacting Sterling Grimes at sterling.grimes@unchealth. unc.edu.

If you wish to donate to the Cancer Center, visit nashunchealthcarefoundation. org/donate, or contact Kathleen Fleming at Kathleen.fleming@ unchealth.unc.edu.