A group of Cigna volunteers known as “A Common Thread” made and donated 1,105 crocheted caps for patients at the Ironwood Cancer & Research Center in Glendale.
The group has made and donated nearly 13,000 caps to cancer patients and babies in neonatal intensive care units (NICU) throughout the state in just the last five years.
“As a global health service company with a mission of helping to improve the health, well-being and sense of security of the people we serve, Cigna encourages employees to positively impact the health of their local communities,” said Theresa Richards, Cigna employee and A Common Thread volunteer. “Making the caps together with other employees is one way that we can give back locally to those in need and connect with each other over a common passion.”
A total of 26 ladies volunteer to make the caps. Twenty-four of them are Cigna employees who work at the North Phoenix Cigna office at 25500 N. Norterra Dr. and the other two volunteers are friends and family members. The employees get together once a week on their lunch break to crochet, knit and loom the caps, and they work on them at home as well. Each of the adult size caps takes approximately 60 to 90 minutes to make. The baby caps take about 30 to 60 minutes to make. All of the caps have their own unique design and color. Some have a scarf attached, others are colors of popular sports teams and universities and some are holiday themed.
“This was the second year Cigna donated knitted caps for our patients receiving chemotherapy. This year we received 1,105 lovely, unique hats. We are so grateful to partner with Cigna and for their donation to our patients,” said Kelly B. Huey, director of Integrative Services & Social Work for Ironwood Cancer & Research Centers. “The hats were disseminated among our 12 offices throughout the Phoenix area for all of our patients to enjoy. Our Chandler office made a ‘hat tree’ in our lobby for the patients to take the hats for the holidays.”
A Common Thread started the community service project as a result of Cigna’s national partnership with the March of Dimes. The caps provide warmth for babies facing serious health challenges. Since the group started, more than 18,000 baby hats have been donated to NICUs throughout the country and more than 9,500 have been donated in Arizona. Most recently in May 2018, 1,000 caps were donated to Maricopa Integrated Health System’s Level III NICU at Maricopa Medical Center.
Shortly after starting to crochet the caps for babies in NICU’s the group decided to make caps for patients going through cancer treatment and have donated more than 4,000 so far.
“It is so awesome for Cigna to have such wonderful caring employees who donate their time and materials to make the hats for those in need,” said Huey.