Last month, I wrote about my colleague and friend, Dr. Katherine Gantz Pannel, whose love and concern for her patients led her to start Crocheting for a Cause. The movement began with a simple idea to bless her patients with dementia who struggle with anxiety. This makes them fidgety, and she noticed they appear to enjoy touching objects with different textures and twisting blankets, which distracts and calms them.
Dr. Gantz Pannel, a psychiatrist, had a creative idea. She wanted to give her patients something that would entertain and relax them while on the psychiatry unit. Even better, she wanted them to be able to take this home upon discharge. After some research, she decided the most practical approach would be to craft some “fiddle sleeves” to meet their needs! Not knowing how to crochet or knit, she asked her colleagues for help … and the rest is history!
After she created the facebook group Crocheting for a Cause, friends and colleagues near and far began to crochet, donate supplies, and send sleeves in the mail for her patients! Isn’t that heartwarming? I love it so much. These sleeves occupy the hands of anxious patients with dementia with something soft, calming, and entertaining that stimulates the brain while preventing skin breakdown from scratching. It’s brilliant!
People all over the country are now crocheting for this cause, and doctors are learning to crochet just to join the special project (I’m next, just got my kit in the mail!). “Mothers and daughters, church groups, people wanting to learn so they can donate … you name it, they want to help.”
As a coach who rejoices in supporting my colleagues as human beings and as leaders, I love to picture all of us less stressed and more joyful, and finding more meaning by making these thoughtful, practical gifts for our patients. It’s “God’s economy of mutual blessing.” Or as the verse I chose to anchor my work as a physician coach declares, “Whoever refreshes others will be refreshed” (Proverbs 11:25).
So I wrote this update to continue to support this beautiful cause and include photos of some of the sleeves that have been made, in case others want to see what they look like and join in the fun!
Join the Cause!
If you’d like to crochet some fiddle sleeves for patients or donate supplies, Dr. Gantz Pannel will appreciate any donations mailed to 1123 East Wellsgate Drive Oxford, MS 38655. If you’d like to donate yarn scraps, tassels or add-ons to attach to the sleeves, please send them to the address above. If you crochet a sleeve, please avoid using small buttons or other small attachments, as they could represent a choking hazard if they detach. Thank you so much! And feel free to share this story of physicians and their friends and families coming together to do “small” things with great love!