Healing Stitch by Stitch

A few weeks ago, The Arizona Republic covered a story about how cancer survivors have found a connection between stress relief and knitting. The story follows Katherine DeSantis, a Phoenix resident, who underwent surgery for breast cancer just two weeks earlier.

Since her surgery, DeSantis has joined a knitting group at the Phoenix Wellness Community that provides activities with fellow cancer survivors, their families and friends. Joining this knitting group has already had a positive impact on her life, giving her something to focus on besides her upcoming treatments.

“I didn’t want to sit at home,” said DeSantis, 50, of Mesa, the tip of a slender tube from her surgery peeking from her left sleeve, ready for use in upcoming intravenous treatments. “I was getting depressed, and I thought, ‘I’ve got to do something.”

At the first meeting, nearly 20 people gathered for what was originally designed to be a monthly get together. After the big turn out, organizers decided to offer the free knitting sessions every two weeks.

“Knitting is a beautiful, “old world” way we connect with ourselves and each other,” said Paula Hardison, executive director of the Phoenix Wellness Community. “Things move so fast these days. I love taking the time to make one stitch, then another… cannot move fast, cannot drop a stitch, no shortcuts, just being with what is.”

DeSantis first learned to knit when she was a young girl and still has the knitting needles that her late grandmother used to use. Despite not having picked up a knitting needle in a number of years, DeSantis’ hands quickly took over for her and the stitches came naturally to her again.

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