Cancer survivor nominates hat knitter - NBC12 - WWBT - Richmond, VA News On Your Side

Cancer survivor nominates hat knitter

A lot of people might not think of a knit hat as being part of their springtime wardrobe, but to a cancer patient whose lost her hair, it can be a year round accessory.

In fact, a knit hat warmed a local woman's "heart" so much, she tracked down the person who knitted it and nominated her for today's Acts of Kindness.

Debbie Gandy is a petite Palm Beach County transplant who now drives a big red truck around her home in King William County. We met at an abandoned bank parking lot where the marketing pro and cancer survivor couldn't stop gushing about her new-found friend Vera.

"She truly is an angel walking on the earth. Her and her husband both have cancer but yet she makes these caps, takes the time and effort and fills baskets and distributes them all across the Richmond area," said Debbie.

Vera took up knitting after she was diagnosed with cancer in 2009.

"It took my mind off being sick," said Vera.

Knitting became her daily ritual, a distraction from chemo and radiation.

"The knitting just takes me somewhere else."

Away from worries over mounting medical bills.

"Last year I paid $16,000 out of pocket. It's devastating, it's a rude awakening."

Vera channels all that emotion into creating something useful. She said she can knit a hat in about two hours, each one with her own button insignia.

"That let's me know when I see somebody out, that's my cap."

She's knitted nearly a cap a day over the past three years.

"Probably a thousand easy."

Debbie picked up one in her doctor's office.

"When you do take one it not only warms your head, but it warms your soul and I think that's something we need to pass back to her."

Sabrina: "Alright, Debbie. Here is one hundred, two hundred, $300."

Debbie: "She thinks I'm bringing more yarn, and I am — I'm bringing $300 for her to buy more yarn."

"I brought some friends with me today, come on look look beautiful," said Debbie to Vera.

Vera wasn't thrilled to be caught on camera in her yard work uniform... we told her we brought more green to go with her green thumb.

Sabrina: "Would you please tell her why you were so moved to nominate her?"

Debbie: "Cause on a cold day, I forgot my hat, and when you got cancer and you're bald, a hat is exactly what you need, and with as hard as cancer is and the struggles you've been through with you and your husband, it's a thoughtful thing that you do, and I want to thank you and here's $300 to help you out. Put your hand out like they do on the TV: one-hundred, two-hundred, three-hundred, and thank you for all you do, not just for me, but for cancer patients across the Richmond area who've just taken a hat."

Vera: "I'm so glad, it was therapy for me and it was a way of giving back."

If there's an organization or individual you believe deserves an act of kindness, e-mail me. Remember, it cannot be a relative.

Send your nomination to

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