Tahlequah Daily Press

May 7, 2013

OHCE members make ‘Hugs for Heads’ hats

Staff Writer

TAHLEQUAH — Few things in life are more traumatic to a person’s body than undergoing chemotherapy for cancer.

A few of the side effects from the treatment include hair loss, fatigue, nausea and vomiting. Aprons and Lace Oklahoma Home and Community Education Club member Glenda McCollum is battling her fourth bout with cancer, and chemotherapy is part of her treatment regimen.

In previous instances, McCollum had to travel to Tulsa for chemo, but since the Tahlequah City Infusion Clinic opened, McCollum has received treatment locally.

“I went for my first treatment either the end of February or the first of March,” said McCollum. “[My friend] said every time she loses her hair to chemo, she ends up freezing to death because all the heat from her body escapes from the top of her head. I got an idea to make caps out of different materials and donate them to the infusion clinic. It’s so new here they don’t have many supplies, and this is a way we can help.”

Monday, members of all three county Oklahoma Home and Community Education clubs – Aprons and Lace, Woodall and Park Hill – met at the Cherokee County Community Building to participate in “Hugs for Heads,” by making caps and lap blankets for infusion clinic patients.

OHCE adviser Heather Winn believes it’s a great project for OHCE Week.

“Everybody brought yards of fabric and fleece to use,” said Winn. “We’re also making lap blankets, and we’ll donate snack crackers and juice boxes to the clinic, too. Glenda said these are items that are really important to chemotherapy patients.”

Fabric patterns ranged to fit a variety of tastes, including solid colors, sports themes, youth-inspired themes, sports, pets and animal prints. The design is fairly simple, requiring three pieces.

OHCE members are no strangers to sewing, and they had streamlined Monday’s operation. At one table, McCollum and another member were tasked with pinning the pattern to the fabric and cutting out the pieces; other members manned the four sewing machines to complete the hats.

“We don’t have a goal number for today,” said McCollum. “We’re just going to make a bunch of stuff. If we have too much, the infusion clinic can share it with the radiation clinic or others. It’s just so heart-breaking to go in there; I hope these will make the visits a little easier.”

McCollum said she’d already delivered 12 crocheted hats. Park Hill OHCE member Ann Lamons had made several hats at home, and delivered pieces for 18 more hats when she arrived Monday morning. The women planned to make a day of the project, and each pitched in ingredients for lunch: hobo stew and fixings.

Lamons, who had worked on a number of hats at home before Monday’s meeting, talked to McCollum about the most efficient and effective way to get the job done.

“I did it different at home, Glenda,” said Lamons. “My way is faster, but I want to do it right.”

After discussion, the group incorporated a couple of methods. Winn also pointed out she had a second pattern.

“If you’re wanting to make a child-size cap, I have this pattern from Creative Kindness,” said Winn. “It has small, medium and large patterns. It says if you’re making them for general use to use the medium, but I’d use the smaller pattern if you’re making them for little kids.”

May 5-11 has been declared OHCE Week across the state. Thousands of OHCE members serve in over 300 groups across Oklahoma, and each year, members donate over 500,000 hours to community service projects.

OHCE awards more than $110,000 in scholarships to Oklahoma students, and is responsible for pouring more than $166,000 into communities throughout the state in the past two years.

To learn more about OHCE clubs in Cherokee County, or to donate materials or supplies, contact Winn at (918) 456-6163.