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Nurses need your help crocheting Whoville-themed baby sets for Christmas

"The human touch is what makes a difference."

Big-hearted nurses are sending out a call for crocheters to create Christmas baby outfits for the Misericordia Hospital's neonatal intensive care unit.

"We always try to give back, but we don't have a lot of time. We need some help," said organizer Sharon MacKenzie, one of a handful of RNs aiming to boost spirits in the COVID-19 era.

Since launching the Facebook page NICU Crocheters on Nov. 21, they already have 35 members using hook and yarn to create the four-piece outfits: two elf booties, a toque and a small blanket – patterned after Whoville from How The Grinch Stole Christmas.

"The human touch is what makes a difference," said MacKenzie, whose son Gavin was born six weeks premature at the Grey Nuns in 2014.

"These little sets are so important. The outfits are placed on the babies at Christmas and their parents will be able to touch and hold them,” she said.

Referring to Gavin’s birth, MacKenzie said, "The seed was planted in me then to do something like this."

She said her youngest son has blossomed into a healthy six-year-old who goes by the nicknames G-Man and The Gavinator.

MacKenzie, who has worked in the NICU at the Misericordia for three years, took up her Christmas crocheting cause after getting the idea from a fellow nurse.

"She had been doing crochet outfits for Halloween for several years, so I decided to create baby sets for Christmas. I made 21 sets in 2018 and 21 last year."

For 2020, MacKenzie and her fellow nurses are looking for help.

"This year has been more difficult than expected," said MacKenzie, adding they have all felt a "little burned out."

One nursing partner in the project, Kathy Lilly, has stepped up to buy yarn – though MacKenzie said most of their volunteers used their own.

The deadline to receive the crocheted sets is Thursday, Dec. 10, to allow for the mandatory 14-day quarantine.

She said pick-up and drop-off spots are at set locations in the west end, south side and Sherwood Park.

On Christmas Eve, the outfits will be placed on all of the babies in the 18-bed unit in time for a visit by their parents.

MacKenzie said any yarn left over will be put aside for next Christmas.

"We will look for another hospital in Alberta and let them pick their own project for Christmas and then we will make it for them," said MacKenzie.

The delivery of the yarn and the finished sets has been spontaneously arranged through the group's Facebook page. Everyone participating is following COVID-19 protocols.

Gary Poignant is a freelance writer and regular contributor to Great West Newspapers. This story was funded by the Google News Initiative.  

Gary Poignant

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