12/12/12 marked a milestone for Peg and Nick Brown. That was the day the couple delivered Peg’s 1,000th granny-square Afghan blanket -- all which she personally crocheted -- to the NICU at INOVA Fairfax Children’s Hospital.
|The Browns and INOVA Fairfax Children's Hospital staff|
Peg’s dedication began in 2004 when she learned that some babies went home from the hospital wrapped in a towel because mothers could not afford anything. Something told her that babies needed a hug.
She began knitting booties and made over 300 pairs for the hospital. However, because they would quickly be outgrown, she switched to Afghans, which can be used and kept for years. Sometimes, the Afghans are also used as a bereavement remembrance.
Making Afghans for the NICU is a personal calling for Peg. It gives her great satisfaction to know that some needy families have babies going home wrapped in a brightly-colored, snuggly Afghan.
Peg continued to work and crochet while recovering from surgeries in both lungs and chemotherapy. Since her retirement, Peg made 200 Afghans each year -- equivalent to a full-time job. It takes 10 hours to make one Afghan (over 10,000 hours of work).
Peg felt total sadness in July 2012, when shoulder and back pain prevented her from crocheting. Last September, she was diagnosed with Stage IV bone cancer. With radiation therapy for pain, she was able to complete the final 20 of her 1,000 Afghans in December.
On the delivery day, they received numerous thank yous, roses and the prestigious March of Dimes “Starfish Award.” This award is usually given to staff that families feel have gone beyond the call of duty. Peg and Nick are the first non-March of Dimes staff members to receive the starfish pin for truly making a difference.
Peg’s 1,000th Afghan will be framed and hung in the NICU -- a keepsake for many!