For Annie Jones, the new pink hat and brightly colored blanket that she received on Thursday were about more than fashion and warmth.
Jones, a Halifax County resident, was at the N.C. Cancer Hospital after receiving a bone marrow transplant as a treatment for multiple myeloma. For her, the hat and blanket that she received were a sign of love and encouragement.
“I think it’s beautiful,” Jones said of the gesture. “I really do. It gets you focused on something else, and keeps the mind going.”
The hat and blanket were two of more than 2,600 items donated to patients in the hospital this year through Hats for Hope, the Annual Charli’ Ramsey Hat Drive.
The drive was started by Elizabeth Stewart of Pender County in memory of her daughter, Charli’ Ramsey, who was treated for leukemia at the N.C. Cancer Hospital. She died in 2001 at the age of 9.
Stewart started the drive in 2009 because she wanted to do something to honor her daughter’s memory, and to help other families experiencing what she went through.
Along with her family members and supporters, she drove from Pender County in eastern North Carolina on Thursday in order to drop off hats, scarves and blankets.
She personally delivered items to patients on the bone marrow transplant unit, in the pediatric hematology/oncology unit, and to an adult patient receiving outpatient chemotherapy.
“It’s very rewarding for me as a mom,” Stewart said. “It’s also a healing process for me. It helps me in knowing that I am giving a little something back to families who are in that situation that I was in. I leave the hospital feeling very rewarded that I was able to do something.”
Kelly Kivette, senior recreational therapist in the bone marrow transplant unit at the N.C. Cancer Hospital, helps Stewart to deliver the donated items to patients. She has known Stewart since her daughter was a patient at the hospital.
“I had the privilege of working with Charli' when she was a patient on the bone marrow transplant unit, so I’ve been connected to this family now for over 14 years,” Kivette said. “I think it’s wonderful that they have been able to honor Charli’s memory with the Hats for Hope project and I’m grateful to be a small part of this ever year. Our patients are able to benefit from the items that they bring all year long.”