Not only has knitting been a fun hobby for our students and faculty for more than a decade, but it has also enabled participants to create and sell hand-knitted items to raise money to support cancer research—a topic that hits close to home for the IHA community.
Darlayne Addabbo’07 and Rayna Addabbo’07 founded the IHA Knitting Club during their senior year. Since its inception and still to this day, the club moderator is Mrs. D. Deborah Suta, retired IHA faculty member. Mrs. Suta explained that the initial focus was to raise funds to research women’s cancers because of IHA’s beloved administrator, the late “Dean” Toni-Marie Verrone Hals’89. Toni-Marie passed away on November 17, 2012 after a valiant and courageous battle with ovarian cancer.
“We decided to use the funds generated to support cancer research, initially focusing on women’s cancers because of Toni-Marie,” Mrs. Suta said. “We then included children’s cancer research as well because, although approaching adulthood, our students are still children. We also learned that childhood cancers (all sixteen primary cancers and about one hundred subtypes) receive less than four percent of the National Cancer Institute budget.”
The idea to hold a Knit-a-Thon was brought up in the 2007-2008 academic year by Jillian Grimaldi’09 after she watched an episode of Gilmore Girls in which they attended a town-wide knitting event. IHA’s inaugural Knit-a-Thon was held in the spring of 2008, and it’s been a success ever since. Over the past ten years, the annual Knit-a-Thon and sales of knitted items including dishcloths, hats, scarves, washcloths, and shawls, have raised $18,500 for cancer research.