Many of the pregnant women being treated at Whittier Clinic along Nicollet Ave. in Minneapolis don’t have much, and they really appreciate a hat for their baby.

On Monday, March 28, 2016 we dropped off 53 baby hats and a box full of children’s mittens to be distributed through the prenatal care program at Whittier. The program treats a high number of immigrants and refugees.

“People love hats,” Kristen Brown told us as she looked through the box of baby hats we brought. “These are beautiful.”

“They’re so pretty,” agreed Anne Denucci-Lushine.

The duo brought us back to the room where prenatal groups are held. Through the CenteringPregnancy Program, a group of 8-12 expectant mothers meet together once a month for 10 two-hour-long sessions. Groups are offered in English and Spanish. “After the first couple sessions, they’re exchanging phone numbers and information,” remarked Anne.

The group provides an avenue for these women to find a community in a city where it can be hard to make connections.

Members of each group span a big age range, but they all come together through their shared experience of being due at the same time.

Anne noted that as providers, they don’t need to do much except facilitate the conversation during monthly get-togethers. “We help guide them,” she remarked. But all they need to do is ask a question, and the women themselves find the answer together. The conversation with other moms “is really empowering,” said Kristen. “It’s validating.” She added, “It’s very humbling for us.”

Amy pointed out that we occasionally have baby hats that don’t fit in with the donations we make to cancer treatment centers as few babies have cancer and the Allina Children’s Hospital has told us they’re more in need of hats for teenagers. In the past, we’ve dropped the baby hats off at the Fairview U of M Masonic Children’s Hospital NICU. “I was very happy when I called here and found you could use them,” Amy stated.

The group has 20-30 participants each month. Anne and Kirsten weren’t sure yet whether they’d give away the hats during the prenatal group meetings or at the reunion held with each group 2 months after birth.

For more information, call 612-873-2229 or 612-873-BABY.

We dropped off 62 hats at Minnesota Oncology in Minneapolis (across from Abbott Northwestern) on Monday morning, March 28, 2016.

As Amy and I set hats on the mannequins and in the baskets in their resource area, the couple near us struck up a conversation. She was getting a treatment, and he had a book in hand.

They asked us who we were with, and Amy explained a bit about Team Yarn. “A lot of people like to make stuff and they don’t know what to do with it,” she remarked. Team Yarn happily collects the beautiful items made, and distributes them throughout the Twin Cities area at local hospitals, clinics and resource centers.

“What you’re doing is a great thing,” said the woman being treated for cancer.

Learn more about MN Oncology by clicking here.

That’s what the Angel Foundation in Mendota Heights is for.

The 15-year-old organization recognizes that a cancer diagnosis affects the whole family, and their programs meet the needs of kids to adult caregivers.

The Angel Foundation offers two groups of programs. Team Yarn hats will be given away through the Facing Cancer Together programs. These free programs are provided to adults with cancer and their families during diagnosis, treatment and end-of-life. Year-round groups, programs, events and resources are provided at no cost.

Support groups for families: parents, caregivers, young adults with cancer (18-26), young adults with a parent with cancer (18-26), and children’s medical play groups. On March 31, participants will learn the M technique of gentle touch and relaxation for the whole at the Angel Foundation office. Family Art Studio is coming up Saturday, May 14 from 10 a.m. to noon at Adler Graduate School - Art Therapy Studio in Minneapolis. The next Children’s Group Medical Play Session will be Saturday, April 2; children will learn and explore real medical materials.

Families are invited to attend social gatherings throughout the year. This is a wonderful and fun opportunity to grow your support community.

A 4-week program for the entire family. Peer-based groups focus on therapeutic themes to promote communication and understanding of the cancer diagnosis and how it impacts a family. The next session will be Mondays April 4, 11, 18 and 25, 5-8 p.m., at Park Nicollet Fraunshuh Cancer Center in St. Louis Park.

A three-day camp for kindergarten to18-year-olds with a parent or caregiver who has had cancer. A unique and fun opportunity for intentional and meaningful activities and experiences. This year’s camps will be offered June 16-18 or Aug. 16-18, 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. in Eden Prairie.

Monthly events and programs where teens (13-18) can interact with their peers who also have a parent/caregiver with cancer. Teens will build strength and resiliency through a variety of therapeutic and expressive art activities. In March, teens explored the art of making a documentary with digital filmmaking as a format for self-expression through W2 Films. On Saturday, April 2, the group will hang out at Base Camp at Fort Snelling. Splatbat Paintball is planned for Friday, May 27 from 6-8 p.m. in Minneapolis.

To register for these programs, contact Jessica Lindsay at or 612-627-9000 ext. 503.


Melissa Turgeon sees art as a way to create meaning out of something that doesn’t make sense. As written in the Fall 2015/Winter 2016, Angel Foundation newsletter:

Art Therapy helps validate that feelings are real or understand outside of yourself. It inspires exploration of materials to inevitably discover self-truths and identify feelings when words aren’t enough.

This validation of feelings and the impetus to find others who can understand and relate to one’s situation is one of the reasons that families participate in the Facing Cancer Together program — to find that community that understands and can validate each other’s feelings — whether it is fear, hope, confusion, or anger. Art Therapy aids in building that connection to yourself and others, without having to try and find the right words.

Often times, painting drawing, or sculpting through pain or grief can help illuminate and resolve issues. Art Therapy isn’t necessarily about teaching a skill, but rather meeting individuals and families were there are at and discovering an inner world of images.

For people living with cancer, Art Therapy can be an avenue to explore feelings of mastery, control and body image. It can aid in learning what pain triggers one may have or can help process anxiety and thoughts. ... Imagine painting through pain, exploring clay to pound out your frustrations as a caregiver or writing a song to let it all out.


The other set of programs offered by the Angel Foundation aim to help with the tremendous financial pressures a cancer diagnosis can bring. Studies show that 40% of cancer patients will fall below the poverty level sometime during their treatment.

Angel Foundation provides emergency financial assistance to adults in active treatment for cancer, living in or treated in the seven-county metro area of the Twin Cities to meet critical non-medical needs such as:
- Housing payments
- Food
- Utilities
- Fuel costs

More at or call 612-627-9000.
“These are handmade. Oh, cool. They’re so neat,” said Heidi Johnson of the Angel Foundation when we dropped off 48 hats, 4 shawls and 1 blanket on Tuesday, March 22, 2016.

“Thank you for thinking of us. This is great stuff. Wonderful work,” Heidi gushed.

Heidi explained that the Angel Foundation helps about 400 families each year through a variety of support groups and events in the Facing Cancer Together program. These are provided to adults with cancer and their families when cancer strikes. “The diagnosis affects everyone,” pointed out Heidi. Amy agreed with her, noting that many of the blankets and shawls Team Yarn has donated have actually gone to caregivers and family members.

The organization of about 10 staff members, used to be in downtown Minneapolis but moved last August when their rent started to go up. Now that they’re located in Mendota Heights, parking is easier, said Heidi. “This space is much more accessible,” she remarked.

While some events are offered at their office in Mendota Heights, the Angel Foundation is out in the community quite a bit, holding support group meetings at Park Nicollet Frauenshuh Cancer Center in St. Louis Park, family open art studio at Adler Graduate School in Minneapolis, and Camp Angel at Camp Eden Wood in Eden Prairie. Heidi pointed out that families who participate move from program to program. The Angel Foundation works with families during new diagnosis, treatment and end-of-life.

This year, Camp Angel has expanded to offer a camp in both June and August at Camp Eden Wood in Eden Prairie. Part of the value of this location for the three-day camp is that you don’t have to drive up north to experience a relaxing time away.

A Winter Retreat is held each year at the Gloria Dei Lutheran Church in St. Paul. It combines holistic wellness options such as nutrition and acupuncture with art therapy. This year, kids painted while listening to classical music. “It’s always fun to watch the kids explore that kind of expression,” said Jessica. “It gives them something to do — and other things come out too.” The activity gives them a way to channel their grief and confusion, and through the art, they may be able to talk about things.

The non-profit’s largest fundraising event, the annual Angel Gala, is held each January at the Hilton. This year marks the Angel Foundation’s 15th anniversary, and they intend to celebrate at the Jan. 28, 2017 Gala.

Angel Foundation also offers emergency financial assistance to help with various bills. People often find out about those programs through their hospitals, as the paperwork is filled out by medical professionals. Most come to the Facing Cancer Together programs through word of mouth.

So, spread the word!

More about the Angel Foundation here.

289 hats in 12 short weeks

It was remarkable... Before we even arrived at our March 2016 meet-up, we had collected 268 hats for the year. That's more than half what we gathered for all of last year! You volunteers have been busy for these past three months. Give yourselves a giant pat on the back!

Another 21 items came in at our monthly meet-up, bringing our overall total to 2,441 over the past 3 years.

Yep. I'm speechless!

We have been fortunate to have been given a great deal of yarn recently, and so our volunteers traipsed out to Amy's car to go through it. There was simply too much to bring inside Silverwood's coffee shop! The ladies agreed it was so hard to pick which yarn to take home as there was so much good stuff. They left with full arms!

We were delighted to welcome three new members to our group -- and one happened to be Linda's neighbor, Janine! Two were pulled in by the article that appeared last week in the Fridley newspaper. (Click here for link.) The power of the press! Linda was surprised to see the newspaper clipping with her photo in it!

 Linda learned two new stitches -- and put them to good use! One works wonderfully to strengthen a hat brim, and the other is just a fun bobble!

And Tesha put ears - or dinosaur spikes - on everything!

It took several sets of hands to bring everything out to the car following our February 2016 meeting. We got inspired by each other's projects in the dead of winter. And Lisa (re)learned how to crochet!

This is what I get when I say "SMILE!"

Lisa re-learned how to crochet during our February meet-up. We can't wait to see where this takes her!

BE INSPIRED by these great color combinations and designs:

What a find! Amy stumbled upon this batch of cheap yarn at a local thrift store. Spring colors in time to inspire spring designs!