Nova Scotia

Truro woman crochets for cancer patients

A Truro woman who lost two of her sisters to breast cancer last year has now found a way to comfort and warm other families who are dealing with the disease.

A Truro woman who lost two of her sisters to breast cancer last year has now found a way to comfort and warm other families who are dealing with the disease.

Serena Bell has been crocheting lap blankets that she's donated to the Colchester East Hants Community Hospice Society for those in palliative care, as well as the Colchester Regional Hospital for patients undergoing chemotherapy treatments.

She first took up crocheting 10 years ago as a way to help quit smoking.

"To keep my hands busy, I picked up my crochet hook and started crocheting some blankets for everybody in the family for Christmas that year," Bell said Friday.

Then her sisters — Nancy and Kathy — got sick with breast cancer. Again, Bell picked up her crochet hook.

"When Kathy started taking her chemo she was always complaining about her legs being cold all the time so that's what prompted me to do lap blankets for the hospital," she said.

"I thought I was going to bring the hospice society into it as well because they do such good work so that's basically how I got started with it."

Bell's sisters died a little more than a month apart, between February and March of 2011.

"I want to do something that would honor them," she told CBC News.

"It's a good way for me to get over the loss. I know I'll never get over it, but it's a good way to deal with it."

Cathrine Yuill, the executive director of the Colchester East Hants Community Hospice Society, said Bell's multi-coloured blankets are welcomed at the society.

"You really find that your room brightens, your mood might change and of course, they do offer warmth for somebody who's a little bit chilly," she said.

Wool isn't cheap, so Bell put out an advertisement on Kijiji asking for leftover yarn.

The Truro Daily News picked up her story and the donations started pouring in. Seven bags of wool were left at the hospice office in just half a day.

Yuill said people want to help.

"They might feel they don't know how they can help but reaching out in ways like this, it's a way to touch a life and make a difference," she said.

Bell said she's floored by people's generosity.

"It's just exploded. It's been wonderful. I can't get over how people are so generous," she said.

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