Handmade with love: Community knitters bring comfort to cancer patients

February 14, 2024 BY

Almost 200 beanies have been donated to the Andrew Love Cancer Centre. Photo: FACEBOOK/COMMUNITY BANK BELLARINE

THE almost 200 handmade beanies that formed last year’s Christmas Beanie Tree display have been donated to patients undergoing cancer treatment at the Andrew Love Cancer Centre (ALCC).

Upwards of 50 fibre artists contributed to the initiative which was housed at the Portarlington Bendigo Bank on Newcombe Street through December.

The Beanie Tree was a collaboration between the Portarlington Community Association (PCA), the Bellarine Women’s Network and Andrea Clements who owns the fine textile studio, Yarn Me Calm.

It was PCA vice-president Diane Kolomeitz who suggested the donation be made to the Andrew Love Cancer Centre.

“As many ladies of the Bellarine have benefited from treatment at the Andrew Love Cancer Centre in Geelong, we felt that would be a worthy cause,” Ms Kolomeitz said.

Andrea Clements of Yarn Me Calm (right) delivering the almost 200 handmade beanies to Shelley Nielson from the Andrew Love Cancer Centre Wellness Lounge. Photo: FACEBOOK/PORTARLINGTON COMMUNITY ASSOCIATION


Shelley Nielson from the ALCC Wellness Lounge said the centre’s patients were “very grateful”.

“The beanies help them feel cared for, nurtured and supported by people they have not even met, while going through the tough times,” she said.

Inspired by the success of the Beanie Tree, the community giving initiative will continue this year and crafters will now have the opportunity to donate to three additional causes.

“There’s some amazingly talented fibre artists right across the Bellarine and a lot of them want to make and don’t necessarily have anyone to make for,” Ms Clements said.

“This gives them a way to utilise their fairly mad talents and pays it forward across the region.”

Donations will be made to Cottage by the Sea, Portarlington Food Assist and the Bellarine Women’s Network’s Pink Ribbon Breakfast in April, July and October respectively.

The Beanie Tree will also return in December with the benefiting charity still to be decided.

Andrea Clements, Alison Marchant and Diane Kolomeitz at the launch of the Beanie Tree in December last year. Photo: FACEBOOK/COMMUNITY BANK BELLARINE


Ms Clements said the benefits of the initiative were two-fold.

“We know from a therapeutic and research perspective [knitting and crocheting is] really good for your mental health.

“It supports women in building community and supporting each other and paying that forward.”

Ms Kolomeitz said the PCA will continue to support Ms Clements efforts this year.

“We feel as a community organisation it is a practical initiative that benefits others and that is what communities should be about – caring for and helping others where we live.”

For more information, visit yarnmecalm.com.au