Samantha’s Hope Crochet Beanie Pattern–Cancer Challenge

Samantha’s Hope Crochet Beanie Pattern–Cancer Challenge
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samantha's hope beanie crochet pattern

October is Cancer Awareness month and We Stepped Up to The Cancer Challenge!

We are both thrilled and humbled to be part of the #CrochetCancerChallenge this year. We all know someone who has gone through, or watched a love one go through, a cancer diagnosis and treatment. Survival rates are the best that they have ever been, but the disease takes no prisoners. This year we have designed our hat with the colon cancer ribbon colours.

You can find the crochet beanie hat pattern in our shop here, where it is free until 14th November, or free on our Ravelry Shop using code CC2019  here. Please remember that if you download a copy of the beanie pattern while its free, you are pledging to make at least one hat from it to donate to a cancer patient.

Pattern Information

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This hat pattern has therefore been a labour of love and I wanted to do Sara and her family proud with this design. We have named it Samantha’s Hope, after Elizabeth Montgomery (Samantha in the original series of BeWitched) who died just 8 weeks after a diagnosis of colon cancer.

The beanie pattern itself calls for #5 weight yarn (chunky weight in the UK) but to make it that bit more cosy and warm I went down a hook size or so and use a 5.5mm. Originally I had in mind a pattern that is worked side to side rather than top down or bottom up, but Sara had expressed her preference of a bottom up pattern (I’ll save my original idea for another day!). So off to my stitch dictionary I went for some inspiration ….

And I found it in the silt stitch.

I have amended it slightly in that instead of using the traditional double crochet row I used a hdc, again to keep the cozy and warm feel of the hat.

But by itself the silt stitch just didn’t have the ‘umph’ that I was looking for. Sara is a big fan of the camel stitch (working into the third loop of the previous row) so I frogged and re-designed the hat to combine both the silt and the camel stitches. And doesn’t it look darling? The fact its unisex is also a big plus!

Samatha’s Hope Beanie is made to be a hug for your head – it’s warm, comfortable and is designed to be a little longer so that it covers and protects the ears too. It is written in three sizes – adult small, medium and large. If you want to adjust it to fit a child simply use #4 worsted weight yarn (aran) and go down to a 5mm hook! Sara and her family have given it a seal of approval – I hope you guys do too!

Our Motivations

I watched both of my grandparents go through cancer struggles (my grandmother succumbed to it, my grandfather managed to combat his esophageal cancer, but died of emphysema) and have seen the toll it can take on people. Sara has had an even more up close and personal relationship with it over many years. Here is her story:

Sara’s Story On Cancer

‘’Colon cancer holds a special place in my heart.  When I was very little, my father went to the hospital due to kidney cancer – he was 40.  Without asking, they removed the kidney and I just remember how scared I was when I saw him in the hospital bed.  I cried thinking that he was going to die.  I really had no idea at the time why he was there.

Fast forward 20-some years:

My dad’s job with the railroad moved us to Kansas when I had just started high school.  After I got married at 20 (just turned 20!), my parents waited a few years then moved to Bella Vista, Arkansas, where my dad’s cancer had returned but this time, in his bladder.  He underwent a couple of surgeries to remove it.  The doctors worked hard to reconnect things so he wouldn’t need any special bags or other treatments.  They were successful.  Not long after, my father experienced colon cancer.  This time, they did some radiation and chemotherapy.

The chemo was too strong for my dad, so he stopped it, but continued with the radiation. This shrank the tumor so that they were able to reconnect the colon (it was right on the line where his rectum connected) without the need for a coloscopy bag.  My dad did NOT want that bag!  They were successful.

I became pregnant in 2015 and my parents moved back to Kansas.

This was not too long after his surgeries, but right after an incident he had that nearly took his life:  he experienced a severe blockage in his colon.  He was rushed to the hospital where they were able to remove the blockage and save his life.  This wouldn’t be the last of those incidents.

While I was pregnant, I developed a polyp in my rectum.  I had no idea what it was, or why it was there.  Just that it bled like a war wound every time I went to the bathroom.  I couldn’t be checked out because I was pregnant—no x-rays, no colonoscopies, nothing. In the meantime, my dad’s issues seemed to have subsided.

One month (to the day) that Paige was due to be born, I was having contractions.  I was already scheduled for an ultrasound at my OBGYN’s office that morning because they wanted to know why my uterus was measuring so large when it shouldn’t be.  They could see the contractions on the ultrasound and they could see something else—they just wouldn’t tell me.  What they DID tell me was to go to the hospital for observation.

So we went.

And the contractions got worse and worse.  I had to sign a bunch of paperwork and by this time, I was in a wheelchair because every step was a contraction.  It was hard to sign those papers.  I was wheeled up to the nurse’s station and they gave me instructions to pee in a cup and put on the hospital garb. When I sat on the toilet trying to pee, nothing would happen.  This had already been done at the OBGYN’s office.  As soon as I stood up to just go ahead and step out (I had already changed, thankfully), my water broke and a lot of blood came gushing out. I pulled the emergency cord and the nurse came rushing in at super sonic speed.  She saw what was going on and right next door was a gurney, all ready for me. They knew what was going to happen.

The blood and fluid just kept POURING out of me.

I had a placental abruption.  It was not good.  Everything was draining out of me, and fast.  In giant waves.  My mom was there with me, trying to help soothe me but I was so scared…  My husband was there (he had taken the day off for the ultrasound) and in a frenzy.  The staff was trying to get him into some clothing for the operating room—I was going to have an emergency C-Section.

My OBGYN just happened to be on call at the hospital that day, and she was there in a flash.  She kept everyone on task as we were all panicking.  They wheeled me in for the operation, put me out, and when I woke up, I was no longer pregnant and the breast feeding clinic gal was there helping to milk me for my baby.  My best friend Krystal was there, too, helping.

I was told Paige was fine but in the NICU and had a few little complications so she would have to stay.  Nick was with her.  I went back to sleep.  After a week and a half, we finally got to take Paige home.

This pregnancy story is directly related to the polyp that developed while I was pregnant.

It turned out to be colo-rectal cancer. It was removed after two surgeries. My doctor at the time wanted me to have a surgery to remove my rectum and have to use that awful bag.  I refused.  It was a preventive measure that is “standard” for this type of cancer.

I then sought out a different oncologist.  He gave me the same lecture but he also did something else: he took my blood sample for a DNA test.  I ultimately tested positive for Lynch Syndrome.  This syndrome is passed on by the parent.  It doesn’t skip generations.  It only takes one parent.  My father gave it to me, he got it from his mother, who got it from her entire family. We’ve just been passing it on thru the generations.  I hope and pray I did not pass it on to Paige, that it stopped with me.

Armed with this knowledge, I am seen regularly for check ups and procedures.

My father isn’t so lucky.  Never caught early or having had the DNA test done for himself early enough, he’s facing his last months here on earth.  He had another major blockage which turned out to be a softball sized tumor in his colon.  They removed most of it, but they just couldn’t get a microscopic amount of it. They found more in his liver.  A single spot.

He was to do chemo and radiation once more.  The chemo almost killed him—to the point that the oncologist stopped it.  He then tried the immunotherapy method. This doesn’t work if you have Lynch Syndrome.  It’s in your DNA rather than being a foreign object your body learns to combat.

Lynch Syndrome greatly increases your risk of cancer.

A normal person’s risk is around 4%.  A person with Lynch Syndrome’s risk is increased to 96%. Yeah.  My dad’s tumor was a stage 4.  He started having a lot of pain in his upper abdomen.  They finally scanned him only to find out that his liver now looks like a spotted dog.  The doctors said there’s nothing left to do but make him comfortable.  My dad was told he had an estimated 6 months.  That was in August 2019.  He now receives hospice care at home.  He’s actually doing ok for now.  We’re just hoping for more quality time.

My dad and I share the colon cancer.

We will end up sharing much more as I get older.  My cancer WILL come back, but somewhere else.  Lynch Syndrome affects the colon, bladder, kidney, uterus, stomach—everywhere that isn’t tobacco related or breast cancer related.  Last July, I had a hysterectomy.  That was my preventive measure.  I wanted more children, but the risks were so high that I and/or my child would die were nearly 100%.  To prevent that from happening, and any uterine cancer from starting, I had it removed.

If your family has a history of cancers in the areas mentioned—get tested for Lynch Syndrome.  Go do your colonoscopies.  I know the swill is horrible.  But early detection is KEY. ‘’

Beanie Pattern Reminder

You can find the pattern in our shop here, or our Ravelry Shop here. We also have a matching cowl coming soon, which will also be free for a few weeks should you wish to donate a set.

Please remember that if you download a copy of the pattern, you are pledging to make at least one hat from it to donate to a cancer patient. Every pledge that is made as part of the #CrochetCancerChallenge means a lot to the people who benefit ….

More links about the Cancer Challenge are below:

  1. Cancer Challenge Introduction, what is it, click HERE.
  2. What type of hat should I make, what sizes and where should I get the patterns, click HERE
  3. What type of yarn is recommended for the hats, click HERE
  4. Where should I donate my hats, click HERE
  5. A fun “start early” project you can add to your hats, click HERE
  6. Challenge others to join and more fun information, click HERE