Hand-woven healing from Happy Valley

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Sequim Gazette

Handcrafting hats, booties and shawls means honoring a fallen friend to one local group.

Members of the Relief Society of the Happy Valley Ward of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints banded together to make more than 100 items for cancer patients treated at Olympic Medical Cancer Center.

Church member Nina Jones said the group wanted to recognize their friend Clara Duce who worked in radiology for Olympic Medical Center for more than 20 years. Duce was diagnosed with lung cancer in July 2010 and it took her life in October.

“She loved the people here so much that it made us think how we could help them, too,” Jones said.
“We wanted to do something so they’d feel love and supported.”

A group of 25 women made 68 hats, 25 port shawls to cover chemotherapy access points, nine pairs of booties and five pairs of gloves.

“Everyone who worked on these items has a personal experience or tie to someone with cancer,” Jones said.

Susan Clements, a social worker for the center, said patients often feel cold and handmade clothes are popular. Baskets are placed near doors so patients can take the items for free. Clements said it’s not uncommon for patients to alternate among two to six hats.

Each item will be sterilized and bagged before distribution and all are extra soft because patients’ skin can become extra sensitive.

“They found a beautiful way to give back and honor cancer patients,” Clements said.

Duce’s daughter Kim Duce was at the center when her mom’s friends gave the items away. She said the donations were a good thing.

“These (patients) could be in the same predicament as my mom,” Kim Duce said.

Kim, an only child and a senior at Sequim High School, plans to go into radiology like her mom. She lives with her dad, Paul Duce.

“It’s kind of sad seeing these people again,” Kim Duce said about employees at the center whom she saw during her mom’s treatment.

“I think your mom would be touched,” said Lynn Fosket, a nurse for the cancer center.

Olympic Medical Cancer Center receives hats from church groups and Sequim Senior Activity Center volunteers.

Clements said they always accept new and handmade clothing, but sometimes do run out.

To donate hats and items to Olympic Medical Cancer Center, contact Clements at 582-2845 or, or go to the front desk at 844 N. Fifth Ave., Sequim.

Reach Matthew Nash at



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