Over the last couple of months I’ve been calling in to the Cancer Society here in Wellington to deliver knockers, and have had a few conversations with Tracey and Janet who coordinate the many volunteers. It’s been interesting hearing about the people who volunteer – that visit people in hospital; drive people to and from their treatment appointments; work on the reception desk; and make other products that cancer patients need.
One thing that hit home to me is that people are more than happy to assist, but they might need a little direction. From what Tracey and Janet told me, they have a number of people who volunteer to sew some of the various items that are required, however the sewers will only sew what they were originally tasked to do. Now, because a few people that sew one particular item had fallen away (due to illness, and shifting away), the Cancer Society were getting very short of their supply of one of their products. Meanwhile, the people that sew one of the other products were still producing more and more of that item, and they now were getting to the stage of having too much in stock.
On top of that, there is always a demand for fabric or woollen “chemo caps”, in all sorts of colours, designs and sizes (for men, women and children), but there wasn’t any regular producers of this range of items. So I put the word out around my contacts to see who could help with the sewing of the product in short supply, as well as sewers and knitters/crocheters to make the chemo caps. Fortunately we managed to get a few people involved who have started contributing to the stocks, and I’m sure there will be numerous very grateful recipients.
Also during this time, I had a wonderful friend (Tricia, who lives out of the region) contact me as she wanted to donate some yarn to me. Her sister had passed away from breast cancer recently, and she wanted to support the knocker cause. I offered to email her the knocker pattern as I know she knits, to save her spending money couriering yarn to me. She told me she didn’t want to start knitting knockers as she is focused on knitting clothes for her local hospital’s premature babies – another truly amazing cause.
The observation I’ve made is that people will happily produce the thing that they are most passionate about (in my case it’s knockers) and they don’t deviate from that, regardless of how much stock is on hand. And because these people are volunteers, there is hesitation to ask them to produce something else. While I completely understand that, it got me thinking… which I’ll tell you a bit more about next time.
Yours – with love, compassion and hope