Lenox Hill Hospital Staffer Warms Patients' Hearts and Heads With Knitted Hats

NEW YORK, NY – Lenox Hill Hospital patients with cancer and other serious illnesses are a bit cozier this holiday season thanks to one employee’s heartwarming idea.

The Madresita Project, a knitting and crocheting group which produces and distributes handmade hats to patients, many of whom have lost their hair, was started by radiology receptionist, Susana Luna. Ms. Luna created the project in honor of her late mother who passed away from pancreatic cancer in 2012. The mission of Madresita – an affectionate term for mother in Spanish – is to lift the spirits of patients going through chemo or infusion therapy.  "This is a small token for our patients and their caregivers, which hopefully brings a smile to their face," Ms. Luna said.

             Many hospital staff members have been involved with the project since its inception in November, not only making the hats but also donating yarn and other materials. Ms. Luna’s daughter’s high school class also became involved producing about 35 hats which they, along with the radiology staff, presented to patients during Christmas week. Some staffers even sang Christmas songs to make the event more festive.

            Ms. Luna explained that she conceived the idea for the project while accompanying her mother to chemotherapy and radiation treatments at North Shore University Hospital. To distract her from the treatments she was enduring and to lift her mood, Ms. Luna would encourage her to participate in nurse-led patient programs, such as hat and wig donations, and makeup lessons. She credits the nurses’ special attention with giving her mother the confidence and strength to keep up with the treatments. Now, she hopes to do the same for Lenox Hill Hospital patients by distributing hats once a month.

            “I want people to know that they are not alone and that people still care” said Ms. Luna.

About Lenox Hill Hospital:

Lenox Hill Hospital, a member of the North Shore-LIJ Health System, is a 652-bed, fully accredited, acute care hospital located on Manhattan’s Upper East Side with a national reputation for outstanding patient care and innovative medical and surgical treatments. US News & World Report has ranked the hospital among the nation’s top 50 in Cardiology and Heart Surgery and among the top 10 hospitals in the state of New York with a total of 11 “high performing” designations for its clinical performance in Cancer, Diabetes & Endocrinology, Ear, Nose & Throat, Gastroenterology & GI Surgery, Geriatrics, Gynecology, Nephrology, Neurology & Neurosurgery, Orthopedics, Pulmonology and Urology. For more information, go to www.lenoxhillhospital.org.

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