I, for one, am always pleased to find a story like this one that shows that there may just be hope for the human race yet! If this girl, and others like her, are an example of what's ahead, then I am indeed hopeful!
O'Fallon, Mo., girl, 9, turns hobby into benefit for kids with cancer
BY SUSAN WEICH
Katie Hilke, 9, of O'Fallon, Mo., knits a cap like those she donated to St. Louis Children's Hospital to give to a child battling cancer. Katie also raised $510 for the hospital.
Katie Hilke is a chatty third-grader except when it comes to her plan to help sick children.
Instead of talking about how she raised $510, she shrugged her shoulders and giggled nervously before going back to work on her knitting.
Katie, who recently turned 9, started knitting when she was doing what she does a lot — waiting at the YMCA near her home in O'Fallon, Mo., while her older sister, Hannah, practiced with her swim team. Earlier this year, at one of those practices, Katie saw one of the moms knitting on a circular loom and asked her about it.
The mom showed Katie how to loop the yarn around the pegs, and Katie learned to use a special tool to turn the loops into stitches and eventually into a warm winter cap.
At first, Katie used the smallest looms to make hats for her American Girl doll. Then she used bigger ones and gave the caps as gifts at baby showers.
Katie went up another loom size and knitted some kid-size caps. She made plain ones and striped ones and some with flowers on the side or pom-poms on top. She made matching purple caps for herself and her friends at Immaculate Conception Grade School in Dardenne Prairie.
Katie might have kept on making the caps for just family and friends if she hadn't seen the pamphlet her dad brought home for a golf tournament. Her dad, Don Hilke, used to be a golf pro and still plays in a lot of tournaments.
The event on the brochure was sponsored by a foundation set up by former pro football player Mark Rypien. On the cover was a picture of Rypien posing with a young cancer patient who was wearing a cap that looked a lot like the ones that Katie knitted.
"Kate looked at it for a while and you could see the light go on in her head," said her mom, Debbie Hilke. "She said 'Do you think I could make hats for kids with cancer?' And I said, 'Of course you can.' "
Hilke said she figured her daughter would make maybe 10 hats at the most, but Katie knitted right past that number and kept going.
Every day Katie would come home from school, turn on the TV and work on her hats. She'd stop to do her homework, but later she'd go back to making hats.
If Katie had the time, she probably could have knitted a cap every day, Hilke said, but Katie had other obligations. She plays soccer, softball, basketball and she swims on her own team in the summer. She's a Brownie.
"She's a busy little girl," Hilke said.
By August, Katie had finished 37 caps. When her dad told his friend, Chris Buehrle, about it, Buehrle suggested that Katie sell the caps at his annual golf tournament, which raises money locally for cancer research. Any money Katie raised could be earmarked for children.
Katie agreed and set up a table on the 10th green where she peddled her caps for $10 apiece. She sold every cap, and people donated all but one of them back so Katie could give them to children who had lost their hair. Others just donated money.
Katie's mom arranged for Katie to meet with Erin Taake, project coordinator of special events at St. Louis Children's Hospital. Katie got a tour of several common areas of the hospital but because of patient privacy and a rule that says visitors have to be at least 16, Katie didn't get to meet any of the children who got one of her hats.
Taake said the hospital gets donations a few times a year from groups of children, like a grade school, but usually not from just one child.
"For somebody, especially someone as young as Katie, to initiate this and make the items herself is unique," she said. "And the caps were so nice; it was very impressive that she was able to make these."
Katie's mom, of course, was beaming at the praise for her daughter, who plans to knit and sell the caps again next year.
"Her dad and I are so proud, and it was neat that she came up with the idea herself," she said.
As for Katie, she listened to her what he mom said, lowered her blue eyes to the loom and got back to work.
Read more: http://www.stltoday.com/news/local/columns/susan-weich/o-fallon-mo-girl-turns-hobby-into-benefit-for-kids/article_19430aaa-ad95-5cc6-8d4f-bab04a8684d8.html#ixzz1jZvoz5Hy
Sorry for the length of the post, but I thought it important enough to share this story with you. God bless this child, her heart and her family!
Coffee on the patio this morning! I feel it's warm enough, don't you?