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Wednesday, November 09, 2011
92Y Seniors Can’t Stop Knitting – For Cancer Patients At Memorial Sloan-Kettering


Phyllis Greenwald had an idea. She knew that some members of 92Y’s Himan Brown Senior Program loved to knit. She also knew that cancer patients at Memorial Sloan-Kettering needed scarves and hats as they faced the heart-wrenching side effect of hair loss during treatments.

So, Greenwald, President of 92Y’s Seniors program, swung into action. She put a call out to her members, asking for all knitting hands on deck. The result? An outpouring of care and support in the form of 249 much-needed wool hats and over 50 scarves for child and adult patients at MSKCC; and a newly formed knitting circle at 92Y – one that has no end in sight.


“We’re doing something for people who really need it,” said Sally Werbe, the 92Y group’s de facto knitting teacher. Some of Werbe’s students include Renee Babenzien, who had never knitted before. Babenzien decided to join the circle because two of her children were afflicted with cancer. Beverly Camhi last knitted for her son some fifty years ago (and had to re-learn how to knit). Said Camhi: “For my son, if what I made him didn’t fit, I could always go out and buy something. But this is more satisfying, to do it for kids who need it now.”

Ruth Schoenwald is another 92Y senior who responded to the call. “I hadn’t knitted anything in a very long time, but this gave me the impetus to do some knitting for a good cause.”

The materials used to create the hats and scarves were donated by former 92Y Board President Joseph Leff.  And based on 92Y knitting circle’s output, and a letter from MKSCC to 92Y’s Seniors, Mr. Leff might be getting a call soon – for more materials.  Wrote Jill Ackerman of MSKCC’s Dept. of Pediatrics: “It was so thoughtful and considerate of you to take the time to make these beautiful hats. They are sure to keep many heads warm during the winter months!”

Learn more about Himan Brown Senior Programs at 92Y.

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