Parkersburg woman uses skills to help sew struggling hearts together
PARKERSBURG — Families need all the support they can get when they have a premature baby.
Enid James of Parkersburg is showing her support by crocheting items that are sent to neonatal intensive care units across the U.S. through the nonprofit Charli’s Love.
Charli’s Love officially began in 2000 after the founding members wanted to keep alive the memory of their child, whom they lost in 1995 in the NICU.
“Charli’s Love began as a personal project, supplying 46 NICUs with handmade items,” said Maria Cavnor, the founder.
As of June 2018, it is now a non-profit, currently supplying 287 hospitals with handmade items made from hundreds of volunteers.
Charli’s Love says its mission is to supply NICUs with handmade items for preemies and their families, supporting them during this scary time in their life.
James is getting ready to mail her first box of almost 100 items that she crocheted to go to the NICUs in memory of her great-great nephew, Aaron Spencer, who was born premature, and did not survive.
“All we had was donated blankets and clothes to dress him in for photos,” his mother and James’s great niece, Stacy Spencer, said.
Spencer said they lost him at 15 weeks, and although he was not in the NICU, she still received those donated items.
“When I delivered, the cord was wrapped tightly around his neck about five times,” she said.
“Sometimes the only thing a family has from their NICU stay is one of the items that they received from Charli’s Love while in the NICU,” Spencer said.
Spencer was then added to the group “Charli’s Love” where she learned about its mission and shared it with her family, sparking James’s interest in helping other babies and their families.
James said she had not crocheted in 24 years prior to learning about Charli’s Love.
“I got out the old crocheting utensils and decided to see if I could still crochet,” she said.
James said she was going to make 50, but she has just kept going and has now made close to 100 hats, blankets and other gifts for the babies.
“Anytime I am sitting I am crocheting,” she said.
James said it takes her only 35 minutes to make a hat, but the blankets tend to be a longer process.
Her great-great nephew was not the only child in her family born premature.
“My granddaughter was also born premature,” she said.
James said she was glad to have found such a wonderful hobby.
“I am glad to be able to help others,” she said.