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No more money for Christmas presents

Nicole Frey
NWS Crochet for Cancer SM 4-27
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EDWARDS Four on the floor ask any elementary school kid what it means. They know. They likely hear it every day, urging them to keep all four legs of their chairs on the ground, instead of leaning back and balancing on two.But at the Shaw Regional Cancer Center in Edwards, staff members threw “four on the floor” out the window for a bunch of Red Hill Elementary School children. “Ready, set, go,” yelled Cathy Mast, a nurse practitioner at the center, and eight kids frantically rocked themselves backwards to see who could topple over first.

But there weren’t any bonked heads or bruised wrists in this game. The children were in cushy recliners, used for chemotherapy patients who may have to stay in the chairs for hours during treatments. The winner was the kid who could recline the chair the fastest. Nobody remembers who won. It didn’t matter. The game was just a bit of fun in the children’s larger mission. Since February, the third, fourth and fifth graders had been crocheting lap blankets, and they delivered their finished projects to the cancer center where they will be distributed to cancer patients. A former cancer patient, MaryAnn Lebo, a substitute teacher at Gypsum Creek Middle School, got the idea for Crochet for Cancer from a student. “She remembered that I had had some form of cancer, and she wanted to do something to help,” Lebo said. “The rest of the kids jumped on the band wagon, so I said I’d come up with something.”It turned out the group that suggested Crochet for Cancer didn’t do any crocheting, but the new kids were just as interested in giving a little something back to the community.

Twelve children signed up, including four boys. Some were frustrated with the finger work and quit early, leaving eight to finish the blankets. With clearance from the Red Hill Elementary School parent teacher organization and some funding from R.A. Nelson Construction Company, the group met every week, and worked even harder as their deadlines approached. Laura Claydon, 10, said learning to crochet was hard. She’d never crocheted before, but her patriotic red, white and blue blanket came out perfectly in the end, and she’s picked up a skill she’ll use in the future, she said. “You can make stuff for your friends and your family, and you don’t have to buy Christmas presents,” Claydon said. Shawn Messerich, 11, was the only boy who stuck it out. He said he was compelled to join by his mother, teacher Lebo and sister, Natalie, who crocheted with him.

“They said, ‘You have to do it, you have no choice,'” he said, but laughed anyway. “It was so frustrating in the beginning, but now I think it’s pretty fun.”Staff Writer Nicole Frey can be reached at 748-2927, or nfrey@vaildaily.com. Vail, Colorado


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