Baby Hats a Labour of Love for Madge McAdam
For Garrison Green resident Madge McAdam, volunteering has been a lifelong passion.
Daughter Susan Snowdon says she can’t recall a time when Madge wasn’t volunteering for something. “She helped out with the Holy Cross Hospital’s teddy bear program for kindergarten students, spent time at the Colonel Belcher Hospital’s palliative care program, and even organized no-charge figure skating lessons in the community.” Though Madge stopped much of her volunteer work when she chose to stop driving at 80, she continues to find ways to give back.
“My mom was assistant director of nursing at the old Holy Cross hospital in Calgary when she retired at 65 around 1982,” said Susan. “When the hospital closed, she turned her attention to volunteering at the Rockyview Hospital as a baby cuddler, which is a pretty coveted position.”
Keeping a baby’s head warm is, of course, very important in helping them maintain a healthy body temperature. And it was during her time as a baby cuddler that Madge came up with the idea of knitting hats for these tiny newborns. At that time nurses would use whatever convenient materials they could find to cover the babies’ heads and Madge, an avid knitter, knew that little hats would be a great fix. She’s kept it up for almost 40 years, producing hundreds of baby hats, which are delivered twice a year to the Rockyview Hospital. The parents take the hats home with them, which become valued keepsakes of the day their child was born.
“I like to knit and there was a need,” Madge, now 102, says in her quiet voice, when asked why she started. “These hands have to do something!” she laughs.
Madge’s volunteer work and her baby hat project have not gone unnoticed. She was given a Canada Volunteer Award in 1990.
Today, you can find Madge knitting in her favourite chair by the fireplace at Garrison Green, or in the weekly Fibre Arts Club meetings – “I like getting together with my friends.” – where she continues to knit hats, scarves and baby blankets, many of which are donated to charity.
Photos by Susan Snowdon, Sherana Productions. Videos by Sherana Productions
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