Stitches of Love, sponsored by Winnebago County Extension Home and Community Education, was created in January 2002 by Janet Hansen. After conducting research and collecting data from both the American Cancer Society and local hospitals, Janet found there was a significant unmet need in the Fox Valley for headwear for cancer patients. Many cancer centers receive quilts for patients to provide comfort during treatment, but no one was donating hats to help patients, especially women, stay warm and comfortable after the loss of their hair.
Five regional cancer centers are currently supported:
- The ThedaCare Regional Cancer Center in Appleton
- The Vince Lombardi Cancer Center at Aurora Medical Center in Oshkosh
- Fox Valley Hematology & Oncology in Oshkosh
- Fox Valley Hematology & Oncology in Appleton
- The St. Agnes Cancer Center in Fond du Lac
In 2015, Stitches of Love made and donated 2,955 hats, thanks to the time and talents of 38 volunteers. These dedicated women devoted nearly 8,000 hours of their time to support the mission of Stitches of Love.
Six workshops are held each year: four at the J.P. Coughlin Center in Oshkosh and two at the Calumet County Courthouse in Chilton. During the workshops, fabric hats are cut out and then taken home by volunteers to sew. A number of volunteers also sew, knit, or crochet hats at home.
The Winnebago County UW-Extension staff at the J.P. Coughlin Center provide clerical support along with a great facility for the workshops. Revenue comes primarily from the Appleton Medical Center Foundation, donations, and the sale of walker caddies through ThedaCare at Home.
Lynn Mozingo, Coordinator