Teachers Warm Heads and Hearts With Donated Beanies for Cancer Patients

The ladies of Castle Rock Elementary School have been knitting up a storm, donating dozens of beanies to cancer patients at UC Irvine

Every Monday afternoon inside a classroom at Castle Rock Elementary School in Diamond Bar, you'll find a group of teachers gathered for a very special kind of after-school program.

Together, they spend hours knitting soft, warm beanies to donate to cancer patients.

This goodwill mission was started by teacher Jill Wilson-Fairbanks, whose mother lost her hair during chemotherapy treatment for appendix cancer.

"My mom has always been my rock ... She is my world," Wilson-Fairbanks said.

When she couldn't find a comfortable hat for her mom, she decided to make her own.

"Hobby Lobby and $50 later, I YouTubed the video and figured out how to make them for myself. I made a couple beanies and I thought, this is super easy. Maybe I'll make extra and donate them to the hospital," Wilson-Fairbanks said.

When Rosemarie Alvarez saw her colleague hunched over a loom, knitting a gift for a stranger, she was deeply touched. Her own mother had also gone through cancer treatment and had worn a donated beanie.

"To someone else it might not seem like a big deal, but to know someone else took time to sit and make these beanies for these people going through a really difficult time was such a touching thing," Alvarez said.

She volunteered to help, and before long, ten other teachers joined. The ladies of Castle Rock have been knitting up a storm ever since, donating dozens of beanies to cancer patients at UC Irvine.

"It's kind of nice to come together and do something together that's for a good cause," Alvarez said.

Their efforts have special meaning to fellow teacher Cindy Luber, who recently survived her own cancer battle. She too had found comfort in a cozy beanie made by the hands of a generous stranger.

"I lost almost all my hair and I noticed I needed it for warmth and just to look better," Luber said.

She is now cancer free and so are Alvarez's and Wilson-Fairbank's mothers, inspiring such gratitude in their daughters.

These educators are now teaching us all the importance of giving back.

"To me, knowing I might be making this beanie for someone else going through something just as difficult, and maybe that will bring a little warmth and even a little happiness when they put it on," Alvarez said.

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