Woman tries to warm homeless one hat at a time - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina

Woman tries to warm homeless one hat at a time


"There's something very relaxing about it."

Wendy Graham knits just like her grandmother, Betty King.

"Ever since I can remember, she has always done some kind of craft," said Graham.

King grew up during the Great Depression.  Skilled with her hands, her granddaughter calls King a fierce fighter who knows what it takes to be a survivor.

"We found out around Columbus Day weekend that she had been diagnosed with esophageal gastric junction cancer, which is a very fast growing cancer where the esophagus meets the stomach," said Graham.

While she was in the hospital King told Graham about her goal: to knit 100 hats for the homeless by the end of the year.

"I knew there wasn't much I could do to ease the physical discomfort and so I podcasted and asked my friends for help," she said.

So Wendy took to the Internet and pleaded to her international knitting community.

"I'm hoping that you guys would be willing to help me out and help me honor her and help me make some hats for grammy," said Graham.

"I really just thought 'grandma's made 40 hats, if I can make 60, then we'll be good to go,'" she said.  "And then the hats started coming in and then they just kept coming and then they just kept coming."

King's goal of 100 hats has been met, times three.  300 hats in just a matter of weeks.

"I would call her and say, 'I've got three hats in for you today,'" said Graham.  "I got a hat from Lancaster, California. 'Grandma, you're not gonna believe it, I got six hats that came in from Scotland.'"

And while her grandmother is sometimes too sick to knit or talk, Graham says she is overwhelmed by the strangers who have taken the time to care.

"I can't fix the pain she's in and I can't fix this diagnosis she has but I can find a way to honor the impact she's had on me."

Sunday the hats will be blessed at King's church, Grace United Methodist on Harbison Blvd. Then they'll be given out through their homeless ministry.

And Graham wants to continue the tradition of knitting and collecting hats for the homeless every year.

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