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WSU Student Club Makes Children’s Surgical Caps for National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month

PULLMAN, Wash.—While 8-year-old Sylvie Eskridge’s mother battled cancer in 2000, doctors, friends and family at the hospital rallied around the child to take care of her when her mother couldn’t. That memory of comfort amid tragedy stayed with Eskridge, now a merchandising major at Washington State University. She and other members of WSU’s chapter of the American Association of Textile Chemists and Colorists similarly reached out to children at Spokane’s Sacred Heart Medical Center during September’s National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. They sewed surgical caps to help the children cope with their anxiety of surgery by giving them a colorful keepsake.

WSU ASquared club members hold up cloth for children's surgical caps. Click image for a high-resolution version.

“These caps are made to show the children that there are people out there whom they’ve never met who want them to be alright, who want them to keep living each day with the full happiness they can,” said Eskridge, the club’s parliamentarian. “We want the kids to see some brightness in their long days.

“It’s a wonderful cause and gives people the chance to really help someone,” she added. “People don’t realize how much little things can make an experience so much better. When someone showed me that they cared about me, whether they knew me or not, it really made a difference.”

On a recommendation from adviser Karen Leonas, the WSU AATCC, or ASquared, chose the “Circle of Love” project as the club’s 2011-12 philanthropy effort, said President Casey Burnette. A fabric drive for cotton blends and kid-friendly designs kicked off the school year. Donations came from professors and students of WSU’s Department of Apparel, Merchandising, Design and Textiles. A Pullman fabric store, Quilted Heart, gave two bolts of fabric, and PEO Chapter DW members also provided three bags of cloth. ASquared members met Sept. 13 to begin the caps, ironing the prewashed fabrics, tracing and cutting the cloth into circles, and measuring elastic for the cap bands. They finished sewing the caps this week. Once club members sign tags for the caps, students hope to deliver them to Sacred Heart by mid-October.

“Cancer hits close to home for a lot of people,” said Burnette, who also lost her 39-year-old mother to leukemia two years ago. “It was combining a cause we could be passionate about with our skills in fashion. Our group is doing this for anyone who is going through cancer to show they’re not alone.”

WSU ASquared members Maddi Moberg, Sylvie Eskridge and Kelly Garten cut out surgical cap patterns. Click image for a high-resolution version.

Those participating in the project include Eskridge of Enumclaw, Wash.; Burnette of Corvallis, Mont.; Janett Auh of Bellevue, Wash.; Marsha Baerlocher of Moses Lake, Wash.; Carlie Bailes of Vancouver, Wash.; Jaimie Barber of Spokane, Wash.; Liz Caldwell of Medical Lake, Wash.; Kyle Fox of Puyallup, Wash.; Kelly Garten of Port Hadlock, Wash.; Emily Irwin of Vancouver; Sage James of Seattle; Anna Jenne of Medical Lake; Sze Nga Lau of Hong Kong; Haley Lewis of Spokane; Maddi Moberg of Seattle; Janel Navran of Mill Creek, Wash.; Tsz-Yan Ng of Hong Kong; Kaitlin Ronngren of Spokane; Ariel Smith of Seattle; Gordon Stumpo of Denver; Amanda Tomich of Camas, Wash.; Taylor White of Palouse, Wash.; Chelsea Yaley of Bothell, Wash.; and Kara Yamaguchi of Covington, Wash.

ASquared offers WSU students an opportunity to gain industry connections and to learn more about the apparel and textile industry through educational trips while also giving back to the community. For more information about the national association, visit the website at http://www.aatcc.org.

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