In the end of 2012, I had the idea to start a volunteer group at my place of employment. At the time, I was working for a large corporation and, although I loved my work and my colleagues, I felt unfulfilled. Something was missing. I thought that if I could come up with the right “cause”, I would not only feel more satisfied at work, but could help better the lives of people in need. Because of the demanding nature of my day job, I wanted to ensure that whatever volunteer work I chose, it had to be something I enjoyed and felt passionate about. A recent connection of events pointed the way. We’d recently had several baby showers at work and as usual (and as expected), I knitted a baby sweater as a gift for the mom-to-be. Whenever my handmade gifts were opened, it always resulted in a series of “oohs and ahhs” followed by a chorus of “I wish I knew how to knit.” Lightbulb! I knew that if I could find people who needed knitted goods, I already had the interest of potential volunteers to make these knitted goods.
The internet is a wonderful place. I searched and searched for just the right organization with which to affiliate. Something struck a chord when I landed on the Knots of Love page (www.knotsoflove.org). I read that it was an organization that used volunteers to hand-knit and crochet caps for people with cancer who are experiencing traumatic hair loss. The caps are distributed free of charge to hospitals and treatment centers throughout the country. The more I read, the more I realized that Knots of Love was the perfect match for my volunteer group. Thus began my connection to Christine Fabiani, the founder of Knots of Love.
Knots of Love was started by Christine Fabiani in 2007 in a spare bedroom in her family home in Newport Beach, California. Christine learned to crochet at the age of six, taught by her grandmother. Years later, a friend of Christine’s who was herself a cancer survivor, shared how uncomfortable wigs were for her and that she wished she just had a cozy cap to wear. Christine did some research of her own and discovered that at that time there were no organizations in existence whose purpose was to provide chemo caps to those in need. Seizing on the opportunity, Christine started such an organization herself. It all started with a batch of 25 caps that were made, packaged and delivered to local cancer patients who had lost their hair. The response was so gratifying that Christine reached out to family members and friends who might be interested in also knitting or crocheting caps for the cause. The more caps that were made and distributed, the more people contacted Christine conveying their need. And the more the need grew, the more volunteers showed up asking to help. By the end of the first year, over 12,000 caps had been made and distributed. And now, after almost 12 years, Knots of Love has made and distributed more than 460,000 caps to 550 distribution locations in the United States. The organization also recently began making and distributing NICU blankets and caps to babies in need. Knots of Love’s current goal is to provide 1 million caps and blankets for free.
Reaching this goal requires a lot. When I first started interacting with the Knots of Love group, I was astounded to learn exactly what was being accomplished by Christine and her volunteers given their limited resources. They examine and tag every single cap and keep a database of the 550 cancer centers and their needs. Based on these needs, the caps are packaged and shipped. All of this is done by just a handful of loyal volunteers who help pack and ship the caps. Sometimes there are special requests by cancer patients or their families for specific cap styles or colors. All of these requests are granted as well. And then, as with any volunteer organization, there’s the money – or lack of it. Over the years, I’ve learned of the organization’s constant struggle to raise enough money for the shipping of the caps. In the recent past, there have been several occasions when it seemed Knots of Love could no longer function financially. But because of the loyalty of the network of over 1,000 volunteers across the country, funds were always somehow raised to get through another month or two. In fact, my company colleagues held several fundraisers to keep Knots of Love afloat.
People frequently ask why we don’t just buy caps and send them to the patients. The answer is simple. It just wouldn’t have the same effect. When patients know that someone cared enough to take the time to knit or crochet a cap for them, it means so much more than just being given a store-bought head covering. It means people whom they’ve never even met care about them and understand their plight and most importantly, want them to survive! Every stitch in every cap is an action of pure love. Who wouldn’t want to wear pure love on their heads at the scariest time of their lives? And this is borne out by the cards and letters that Christine receives at Knots of Love. Family members write about how the caps helped their loved ones feel less embarrassed and less secluded and that they have more self-esteem. They feel less alone and really loved. If you’ve ever known anyone with cancer (and who doesn’t), you know how important it is for them to know that people are pulling for them. I’ll never forget one of the notes that Christine shared with the Knots of Love volunteers. It was from a breast cancer patient who said that losing her hair was harder for her than losing her breast. She was beyond grateful for the chemo cap given to her. Veterans have written saying how much it means to them to know that they have not been forgotten. And these same sentiments have been echoed over and over again. Men, women, children and their families and friends have all written to Christine with their stories of tragedy and their stories of hope - all of them simply grateful for a cap.
As a side note, my work with the Knots of Love organization and Christine Fabiani had quite an unexpected additional personal benefit. Throughout my interactions with my colleagues, I was regularly asked how I learned to knit and crochet. I was fortunate enough to have learned to crochet from my 6th grade teacher, Miss Klaus. She taught my entire class how to crochet as an afterschool activity. This was over 44 years ago! We were her first class in her entire teaching career. I thought it important that she know just how far-reaching her act of kindness went. And through the magic of the internet, I found her. That was the first miracle. The second miracle was that she actually remembered me. I shared my Knots of Love story with Miss Klaus and, well, to say she was thrilled is an understatement. I explained how my colleagues had rallied in support of Christine Fabiani’s Knots of Love organization. Miss Klaus shared with me that she always felt her first class did not benefit enough from her teaching because we were her first. But I reassured her that it was one of her greatest achievements because she touched more lives than she will ever know. The stars aligned for me, Miss Klaus and Christine Fabiani.
I retired from my company two years ago, but I still return regularly to lead the volunteer group I started. Only a few of these volunteers knew initially how to knit or crochet, but those who knew how taught those who didn’t and those who learned became the teachers, and so on. None of this would ever have been possible without Christine Fabiani’s passion to help others.
This organization excels in every possible. I have been a knitter for the organization for several years. Christine, the founder and chief hard worker, is extremely dedicated to making sure that chemo patients, NICU babies, veterans, etc are supplied free a cap or blanket made with love. Every time I donate my knitted pieces I get a personal call from Christine telling me where my work is going. I can't heap enough praise on this organization. It truly is one of the finest.
Knots of Love is an incredible charity that does amazing work for people with cancer and babies in the NICU. It's an honor to support such a wonderful organization!
A few years ago I was looking for a charity that provided handmade caps for chemo patients. I had recently started to loom knit and wanted to give back to others. I found Knots of Love through a Google search and have been making hats for them since 2015. I live in Pennsylvania, yet feel that I am part of the organization through emails and Facebook. But mostly because Christine personally calls every person after receiving their donation. Her passion is truly contagious and inspiring. Although located in southern California, Knots of Love sends hats to hospital and treatment centers throughout the US for the benefit of many. I am proud to be a Knots of Love volunteer.
Knots of Love helps us support and keep our patients comfortable during treatments and at home. We appreciate the variety of styles and colors helps us give people choices and makes them feel in charge of their cancer.
KoL is a true charity in every sense of the word. I love that it is not a "machine" but a loving nonprofit that thrives because of the dedication of its volunteers and founder. I retired and was looking for a worthwhile charity to volunteer for. I stumbled upon KOL through the recommendation of a cancer-survivor friend. When I hear feedback from the patients that receive our work, I know I chose the right place to spend my time. The hand-made Beanies and Blankets given to cancer patients and NICU babies are 100% free to them. The volunteers give their time and yarn to make these items by hand and donate them. When I work the booth at the OC Fair and hear the stories from cancer survivors that have received our beanies, it makes me cry with joy. My heart is full. I am so grateful to be a part of this wonderful organization! Here's a shot of some of the beanies I recently donated.
Knots of Love is a wonderful non-profit org. All is provided for you: crochet and knitting patterns; submission forms you fill out to send with your donations; a preferred yarn list; etc. Items needed are chemo caps for those who have gone through chemo treatments and lost hair, and NICU Baby Blankets. All donors ship items to Knots of Love and then they are shipped out across the country. It's wonderful to use your talents to help others, and to let them know that even though you've never met each other, you care about them!
I have been crocheting beanies and NICU blankets for Knots of Love for a couple of years now, I always receive a gracious acknowledgement and informative response, where the beanies were sent across the country. It just warms my heart.
About a year ago I had made crocheted hat for all my family for Christmas about 30 hats total. I so enjoyed making them I continued making more hats all different sizes and patterns. I ended up with about 130 hats and wanted to donate to somewhere meaningful at least to me and couldn’t quite find the right place, so the hats sat in a bag for about a year. Then I came across Knots of Love and I felt they were just what I was looking for so I boxed all the hats up and sent them off. Within a few days I got a phone call thanking me for the hats and then Christine starting reading off all Children centers, Veteran centers and Adult care centers all across the country that she would be sending my hats, I was overwhelmed and filled with joy. This was exactly the type of place and people I was looking for!! I have even started crocheting hats for the Veterans Campaign they are having from 9/11-11/11.
Cancer Navigators appreciates Knots of Love. We work with primarily a low income population of cancer patients. They come into our office, sad, tearful and overwhelmed with the stress of their diagnosis. The hats we can offer them light up their eyes and give them hope. Just the understanding that women all over the country have sent these cute hats to help them get through this difficult time, causes a shift in their thinking and emotions. It is beautiful to see.
When my sister had cancer I looked online for caps to keep her head warm and fond Knots of Love. They sent her 2 beautiful caps for free! That was 4 years ago and I’ve been making caps and baby blankets for NICU ever since. I appreciate the personal thank you phone calls from the Founder, Christine Fabiano, when my donations are received. Proud to be able to help those in need. Knots of Love really makes a difference to those in need!
For over Knots of Love has been providing free handknit beanies, NICU blankets, PICC covers, and lap blankets for hospital and cancer center patients. For patients and families dealing with serious illnesses, these handmade gifts offer comfort and hope. As I knitter, I enjoy the creativity of making these caps and knowing that my creativity and work will benefit someone.
I have crocheted blankets for premature babies in neonatal units for the Knots of Love organization for several years now.
This organization is so caring and helps so many cancer patients with caps as well as the blankets for babies.
After I send my contributions they immediately send me a warm thank you and a note telling where my blankets were sent. This makes me feel so appreciated that I can’t wait to get started on more blankets!
This is a great charity that I am proud to be a member. Christine Fabiani calls us "family". this has been a great opportunity to give back. My granddaughter had leukemia at the age of four. Someone made her a cap after she lost her hair and now, I have the opportunity to knit caps for other people that have lost their hair. It is a great opportunity to hone my knitting skills while feeling so good about helping others. Christine always calls and lets you know where your cap went. We also knit NICU blankets; for Veterans, arm and leg sleeves for amputated limbs and picc line covers. Knitting a cap not only keeps the chemo patient warm and feeling beautiful; but it is like a big hug letting them know that someone cares about them. This is a great organization of which I am very proud to belong.
I have been crocheting caps for Knots of Love for 10 years. I have made over 2000 hats and NICU blankets. It's a wonderful way to give back to those in need. When I read thank-you notes ,I want to crochet faster. I love to volunteer at the Orange County Fair and Veterans events. It gives me such pleasure to hear how we have touched someone in their time of need.
This is a wonderful group of caring people who are helping to give comfort to cancer patient one hat at a time. Christine has an infectious personality and is so upbeat every time you talk to her. Joining as a volunteer has given me a purpose and a way to help cancer patients, especially for those who have influenced my life. Keep up the wonderful work Knotts of Love!
I remember walking into my oncologist’s office, feeling vulnerable as cancer patients do with all the unknowns of what was to come. Losing my hair, knowing I’d be completely bald. There in a basket on the table were handmade crocheted beanies made just for cancer patients made by the loving volunteers of Knots of Love. There were many vibrant colors to choose from. I felt touched by others taking their time for people like us who needed their spirits lifted during such a difficult time. At the treatment center there were beanies to choose from as well. I felt thankful to have a loving beanie to keep my head warm, knowing it was made with a thoughtful mind and a giving heart. They touch many lives, especially children too with knitted blankets for babies as well and beanies to keep childrens’ heads warm. Thank you Knots of Love, for all you do for us.
I've been knitting caps for this unique charity for about 10 years now. Knots of Love provides loving, comforting FREE caps for people going through a crisis medical situation - usually a cancer diagnosis, but often other traumatic health or surgical challenges as well. It is very difficult to cope with serious illness, but to lose one's hair and a dignified personal appearance can be devastating. Knots of Love's beautiful handmade caps let patients know that they are loved, respected and cherished as they work through their medical challenge. Often patients are deeply moved by these gifts of caps because many in their entire lives have never had anything that was made with love especially for them. Though knitting a cap might seem like a small thing to me, I've learned to never underestimate its effect on another person in a sad and desperate situation! Knots of Love truly deserves to be rated as an outstanding nonprofit.
I’ve been creating items for Knit of Love for about 4 years now. I know they are contributing chemo hats all over the U.S. although I create baby blankets for NICU patients as my contribution. They have never failed to call me and let me know what states my blankets have gone to. Christine and her helpers are tireless, dedicated and wonderful people! I hope to continue to contribute for a long time.
I crochet hats for Knots of Love, a charity that is beneficial to those that donate as well as the many cancer patients that receive the donations. Knots of Love helps those of us that love to knit and crochet by providing the means to donate our creations to the many cancer centers across the country. We not only get enjoyment from our hobby, we have the opportunity to use our talents to help others going through difficult times. Our hats give the cancer patients warmth and style to help them when they suffer from hair loss. I love this charity, as it has helped provide me with a purpose in my retirement years. Knowing many people undergoing cancer therapy that have lost their hair, I also know how helpful the hats are to them. A hat from Knots of Love can brighten their day.
I have crocheted hats for Knots of Love for several years. This organization does amazing things by utilizing volunteers to knit and crochet hats for cancer patients all over the country. Knots of Love helps warm the heads of those that have lost their hair through chemo treatments, and also helps the numerous volunteers that love to knit and crochet to give them a true purpose for their creations. Knots of Love is extremely well organized, keeping track of where each of their thousands of creations are sent each week. I am honored to help out with Knots of Love.
This is the most amazing organization which I can say from experience, as a contributor and caregiver.
I have donated several caps to KnotsofLove. But the most touching part for me was seeing firsthand what these caps mean to patients. My husband was going through cancer treatment in Rochester, NY at Wilmot Cancer Center. A basket of donated caps from KnotsofLove was on the counter for patients to choose from. To see people who were up against so much, express such joy and delight over something so simple...truly touched my heart. This organization and it's leader, Christine Fabiani, deserve so much credit and recognition for all it does for so many.