Tag Archives: Smilow Family Breast Health Center

Beer And Yoga On The Green

Beer, yoga and breast cancer awareness.

They don’t always go together. But the Westport Downtown Merchants Association has found a way to make a weekend out of all 3.

The beer flows at Westport's Biergarten on the Green.

The beer flows at Westport’s Biergarten on the Green.

The group is gearing up for tomorrow’s 2nd annual Biergarten on the Green (Saturday, October 19). Last year’s event was a great one, though it drew about 100 out-of- towners for every 1 beer-drinker (and sausage-eater) from Westport.

Abbey has donated an enormous tent, covering most of Veterans Green across from Town Hall. Cathy Colgan — the WDMA’s event-planning genius — realized it would sit empty on Sunday, before being dismantled and picked up on Monday.

A cancer survivor, Cathy was already figuring out how to honor Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Coincidentally, Norwalk Hospital’s Smilow Family Breast Health Center was searching for a way to raise awareness in Westport.

So — with help from Lululemon, coordinating local yoga studios — Yoga on the Green was born.

Yoga on the GreenFrom 9 a.m. to 3:45 p.m. on Sunday (October 20),  instructors from M3 Yoga, Saugatuck Studios, the Westport Weston Family Y, Oxygen Fitness, Yoga for Everybody, Venture Yoga and Yogapata will conduct yoga and meditation sessions.

They’re suitable for every age and level of experience. Just bring your own mats or towels.

The idea is to raise awareness that both yoga and traditional medical treatment can promote healing, relaxation and well-being.

Yoga on the Green is free, but a suggested $25 donation will help pay for holistic therapies that can ease pain and anxiety for Smilow Center patients.

Of course, the day before, Biergarten-goers can ease pain and anxiety their own way. In the same tent as yoga practitioners.

It’s a big one.

Knit One, Nibble One

Because chemo drugs are infused at a low temperature, cancer patients often feel chilly. Cotton blankets don’t help.

That’s something most people not affected by cancer would not know. But when Ellen Lane found out, she also realized she could help.

The 25-year Westport resident began knitting as a child in the 1950s. She stopped as an adult, but picked up the hobby again in 2007. That’s when her daughter knit “healing shawls” for her Hopkins School senior project.

Ellen joined her. Her daughter graduated, but Ellen kept knitting.

A friend took one of the soft, cozy shawls to the Norma F. Pfriem Breast Care Center at Bridgeport Hospital. It brought warmth — and solace — to a woman undergoing treatment.

Ellen and Westporter Mary Heery soon gave a shawl to a woman having chemo at Norwalk Hospital’s Smilow Family Breast Health Center.

A movement had begun.

Ellen Lane (left) and Mary Heery (right) present Mary Ann Strolin with the first Knit One, Nibble One shawl at Norwalk Hospital's Smilow Breast Health Center.

Ellen Lane (left) and Mary Heery (right) present Mary Ann Strolin with the first Knit One, Nibble One shawl at Norwalk Hospital’s Smilow Breast Health Center.

In the past few years, Ellen has been joined by hundreds of other knitters. Together, they’ve created over 600 shawls for cancer patients.

The women (and a few men) are joined together in a loose organization called Knit One, Nibble One.

The “nibble” refers to magic-bar cookies the multi-talented Ellen bakes. She puts one in a tote bag that also holds yarn, needles and knitting directions. Each kit costs $25, which covers not only the cost of materials but a donation to cancer research. Refills are $15 each.

With very little marketing — but plenty of word-of-mouth — Ellen’s Knit One, Nibble One network grew. The youngest knitter is 7; the oldest is 91. Over 125 are from Westport and Weston.

Some people knit alone. Others gather in groups, at places like the Senior Center. One son consistently drops off 7 to 10 “exquisite” shawls made by his mother, who lives in New York. (Ellen drops off tote bags, picks up shawls, even mails materials to people outside the area.)

Knit One logo

Some knitters have relatives with cancer. Some simply want to help. A few are women who received a shawl themselves, and want to give back.

Experience is not required. She has taught several people how to knit, from scratch.

“It’s a win-win,” Ellen says of Knit One, Nibble One. “It gives people a chance to knit, and it makes everyone feel good.”

She describes the reaction of one woman who had forgotten to bring a blanket on her 1st day of chemo. A nurse handed her a shawl. “That made her day,” Ellen says.

The shawls go to area hospitals, as well as a small infusion center in Fairfield.

“People grow attached to their shawls,” Ellen reports. “They take them everywhere.

“Even if a woman has a good support network, this lets her know that strangers care.”

(For more information — or to volunteer to knit — email knitonenibbleone@gmail.com, or call 203-454-2277.)