Elizabeth Holbrook

Advocate | 2015

“When doctors discovered malignant tumors in the brain of Elizabeth Holbrook’s 2 1/2-year-old nephew, Betsy turned to her knitting needles to make something to comfort him.

The cap she created to cover Patrick James Raymond’s soon-to-be-bald head turned out to be too small for him. So, his aunt donated it to the neonatal intensive care unit at Yale-New Haven Hospital where Patrick was receiving treatment. Betsy knit another beanie for her nephew, of course, but that first donation inspired her to reach out to her friends and knitting community to make more hats for pediatric patients at the hospital.

Dubbed PatPat’s Hats in honor of her nephew, the volunteer knitters donated nearly 1,000 hand-knit hats to the Smilow Cancer Hospital at Yale-New Haven in 2012. In the past three years, PatPat’s Hats has gone on to ship more than 4,000 hats to hospitals in ten states and as far as New Zealand. Not only knitters, but also crocheters and seamstresses, the group swaps patterns via the organization’s website and Facebook page. They fashion colorful and stylish creations in sizes ranging from infants to teenagers.

Today, Patrick has recovered from desmoplastic medulloblastoma and is an active first-grader.

“Knitting that first hat for Patrick ignited a spark in Betsy and now hats pour in every day,” says Jennifer Holbrook, Betsy’s sister, “My parents had always taught us to ‘pay it forward’ and Betsy has done just that.”

Betsy Holbrook pays it forward by donating handmade hats to cancer patients. Story told by Jordan Rich of The Jordan Rich Show on WBZ NewsRadio 1030. Visit www.theonehundred.org to learn more and meet the rest of our honorees.

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