Greenwood woman crochets for cancer patients

Greenwood resident Martha Kramer makes the final stitches in what is her 2,000th head hugger beanie. All of her head huggers go to hospitals and shoebox efforts for patients experiencing hair loss. Ms. Kramer started this giveback project in 2010 when her husband was undergoing cancer treatment. ( Delaware State News/Glenn Rolfe )

GREENWOOD — June 14, 2019 was Flag Day.

It’s also the date Greenwood resident Martha Kramer hit a knitting milestone in support of people who experience hair loss while undergoing medical treatment, most notably cancer.

That afternoon, seated in the living room of the home where she and husband Daniel Kramer reside on Scott Store Road, she finished crocheting her 2,000th “head hugger.”

The brightly colored beanies are earmarked for the Helen F. Graham Cancer Center on the Christiana Hospital campus in the Newark and other organizations.

The head hugger beanies are one size fits all.

Ms. Kramer, 72, is self-taught and has been crocheting for years. Initially, it was mainly doilies and scarves, she said.

Her head hugger project began in April 2010 when her husband was undergoing radiation treatment at the Helen Graham.

“I have crocheted for years,” Ms. Kramer said. “But I was sitting in the waiting room when he had cancer, and then I got bored. I got it in my head to crochet.”

She isn’t fussy about brands, just bargain prices for skeins of brightly colored yarn.

“Anywhere it’s cheap. I do like Red Heart yarn,” said Ms. Kramer, who describes her crocheting as “simple, nothing fancy.”

Another big bag of beanies may be headed to the Helen Graham Cancer Center on Monday.

“We used to go up every six months for a checkup. And I’d take a bag, usually 50,” Ms. Kramer said.

In addition to the cancer center, her head huggers go to “shoebox” efforts through Samaritan’s Purse and others, including her church in Frederica.

“My neighbor collects for shoebox … Samaritan’s Purse,” she said.

She uses the old-fashion “hashmarks” tallying system to log her head hugger count.

About five years ago, on June 2, 2014, she finished the 1,000th head hugger.

Is 3,000 the next milestone? Ms. Kramer, who has an elder care job, isn’t sure. But she plans to continue crocheting.

“I’m going to keep on,” she said. “I have been taking it to work with me. I crochet while I’m taking care of my lady.”

One thing is constant with her beanies. All have been donated for the benefit of others.

“Not for sale!” said Mr. Kramer.

“I have given away every one of those 2,000,” said Ms. Kramer. “I didn’t sell any.”

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