Who says that when you get old you can’t learn new things? 86-year-old Ed Moseley had never knitted anything in his long life and he probably never thought he would. However, when the Dogwood Forest assisted living facility office offered the challenge for residents to knit caps for premature babies, he decided to give it a try. He asked his granddaughter to get him a knitting kit and he started practicing.
“Bless her heart, she went … and got a [starter loom] kit, yarn and instruction kit for me. So I started slowly and learned it just takes patience,” he told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
What are premature baby caps?
The caps Ed Mosely was asked to knit weren’t necessarily special in any way other than that they needed to be small. They are necessary because preterm babies are unable to regulate their body temperature properly and need extra protection. And since they are so tiny, there aren’t enough clothes and caps made especially for them. Hence – the need for caps.
This can sound like a silly problem at first glance – can’t they just wrap a scarf around them or something? Well, it turns out that over 1 million preterm babies across the world die each year due to hypothermia and other body temperature-related deaths. If you want to learn how you can help, initiatives such as the “Tiny Hats for Tiny Babies” one of the University of California San Francisco is one you can check,
How did Ed do?
The elderly man shared that it took him a while to get the hang of it but he was undeterred. The first cap took him three hours, but he soon got better and was able to knit one cap per hour.
“I just followed the instructions. It was easy. Somehow I had never knitted, and I always associated knitting with a bunch of needles but this looked pretty doable for me. I went through two or three before I came out with a good finished product,” he said.
It wasn’t long until not only Ed was knitting one cap after another but other residents of Dogwood Forest also joined in. Some staff members and students of the school where his granddaughter teaches also came on board. Ed even organized a workshop to help those who, like him, didn’t have any previous experience with knitting.
Together they knitted over 300 caps for preterm babies. Ed, himself a retired engineer battling cancer, knitted 55 caps all on his own. The volunteers donated all their caps to the Northside Hospital’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.
The staff at the hospital was very grateful for the life-saving donations.
“To have a gift left at the bedside, or a nurse put the hat on the little baby’s head, makes it all seem less like a hospital. It’s important for families to see their baby as a baby and not as a patient. This will help to get the families to that spot,” said Linda Kelly, clinical manager of the special care nursery at Northside Hospital.
Many of the parents visiting the hospital were also grateful when they heard about the donation.
“It means a lot to us because this is our second stint in the NICU. We have a 5-year-old who spent 54 days up there. To know there are other people who are thinking about the well-being of these babies, our babies, it’s really nice to know. The fact this man is taking time out of his day to help the kids really means a lot to us,” said Doug Bunt.
Even that impressive quantity isn’t enough for all the preterm newborns out there, however. Northside’s NICU delivers ~2,000 premature infants per year and in dire need of more assistance.
Ed isn’t stopping, however. He shared that he intends to continue knitting for as long as the hospital needs caps. He plans to keep knitting ~30 caps for the hospital per month – one per day, a perfectly achievable goal for any one of us and hopefully, more people will commit to.