Woman crochets blankets for cancer patients

John P. Cleary | The Herald BulletinRenee Creason, systems specialist at St. Vincent Anderson Regional Hospital Cancer Center, gives this hand-made afghan to patient Beverly Fox after her last cancer treatment Monday. Creason's aunt, Kay Smelser, crochets the blankets and donates them for the cancer patients.

ANDERSON – Kay Smelser has been crocheting for a long time – about 50 years.

The Anderson woman decided her stockpile of full-size afghans needed to go to good use.

“I thought somebody out there could probably use these,” Smelser said. “They were just filling up my closets.”

That’s when she called her niece, Renee Creason, who works as a system specialist at the St. Vincent Anderson Regional Hospital Cancer Center. Creason knew exactly who could use the crocheted blankets.

St. Vincent Anderson already provides some type of goodies from the hospital that celebrates the patient’s last cancer treatment. The patients also receive a certificate to celebrate the end of treatment.

Sometimes, the hospital has quilted lap blankets from a local church group to give to the patients.

Creason said the hospital likes to do some sort of send-off since the patients are there so frequently for a while. Some patients receive near-daily treatments for up to eight weeks.

Now, Smelser’s full-size afghans will be part of the celebration and send-off to the patients.

“I don’t want any appreciation for this,” she said. “It’s just a gesture I wanted to do. There’s a lot of people out there that appreciate things like that.”

Beverly Fox received a blue-and-white afghan as she departed from her last treatment at the cancer center. She said she thought the gesture was very nice.

“I had no idea this would happen during my last time,” she said.

Creason said she was proud of her aunt when she heard she wanted to give back in this way. Creason said she felt comfort from the blankets crocheted by her aunt as she grew up.

“She just wants to give back,” she said. “She has all this time, and she feels like she could help other people.”

While Smelser doesn’t have any more blankets stockpiled, she will keep crocheting.

She said she has always enjoyed crocheting. She’s even sold smaller blankets for babies in pink and white and blue and white yarn.

For Smelser, crocheting is her escape. She said she isn’t a big TV watcher, so especially during winter, she crochets.

“When I crochet, it keeps my hands busy and my mind clear,” she said. “I’m just in my own little world.”

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