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Knitting scarves to fight cancer – QNS.com

Knitting scarves to fight cancer

When Dinah Kramer’s daughter Rachel was diagnosed with thyroid cancer, she became involved with the Light of Life Foundation and soon began recruiting people to knit scarves that could be sold to raise money for the organization.
Rachel’s diagnosis came in the summer of 2006 when she was 14-years-old. Thyroid cancer is one of the fastest rising forms of cancer in the United States, according to the Light of Life Foundation.
Kramer, a resident of Port Washington, found out about the foundation through a friend and began speaking with its president and founder, Joan Shey. The organization is “dedicated to improving the quality of life of the thyroid cancer patient, through continuing education of the public and medical community, and promoting research and development to improve thyroid cancer care.” The foundation’s work includes fundraising events, patient support, providing gifts for patients undergoing treatment, support groups, and educational symposiums, among other things.
Seeing that the foundation uses a purple ribbon made to look like a scarf, Kramer got the idea to knit scarves and sell them as a fundraising tool. Light of Life also uses the slogan “check your neck.”
“I figured if we can make scarves and sell them more money would go to the foundation,” Kramer said. “Initially I thought we’d raise a few thousand dollars. We’re up to almost $9,000.”
Shey, who herself is a thyroid cancer survivor, said that the amount raised has definitely exceeded expectations.
“I thought it was wonderful because it brought a lot of support to thyroid cancer and the Light of Life,” Shey said. “Also, I think it was wonderful for their family because it gave their friends and family a way to help them. I think it really has been a wonderful experience for the whole family and particularly Rachel.”
Beginning in the fall of 2006, Kramer started getting other people to help her knit; including her daughter, her daughter’s friends and her mother, Sara Gole, who lives in Rego Park. Kramer estimated that about 50 people have knitted as part of their efforts.
In order to knit the scarves, they also received yarn donations from individual people and from yarn companies.
Gole said that she liked the idea when it was first presented to her and now knits almost every day. Although the first scarf took her three weeks to make, Gole now finishes about one a week.
“Rachel says to me ‘Grandma, keep the needle busy,’” Gole said.
Kramer said that the support she has gotten from everyone has been amazing. She said that she has even had relatives and coworkers travel outside of the country and come back with scarves knitted by other relatives.
“In addition to raising money, we’ve been helping to raise awareness because we’ve been telling people about thyroid cancer,” said Kramer, whose family also includes husband Marc and 19-year-old daughter Morgan.
For Kramer, the most rewarding part of her fundraising efforts has been see how many people have gotten involved, and particularly seeing the younger people participating in it. Gole said that she finds it rewarding to hear Rachel tell her that the scarves look good.
“It’s been amazing,” Kramer said. “I didn’t realize it was going to go on this long, but we’ll keep on going.”
To find out more about the Light of Life Foundation, visit www.checkyourneck.com. They can also be reached by calling 1-877-LOL-NECK (565-6325) or e-mailing info@checkyourneck.com.

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