Aurora woman's knitting garnering national attention
Heather Wright, CTV Barrie
Published Tuesday, February 18, 2014 7:23PM EST
If you made a list of things that make this country better, you might not include knitting.
But a woman from Aurora is getting an important national award tomorrow because of her knitting.
Nearly 28 years ago, Rita Gallant took up knitting. The reason was simple: her grandson, Anthony. He weighed just 1 pound 10 ounces when he was born, and he needed something warm.
“You should have seen him he was long but his arms were the size of my finger,” she says.
Anthony was in the hospital for six months – a lot of time for Gallant to sit with him and knit. That's when she started to knit for the hospital. She says initially she was happy to keep her hands busy. She wanted to avoid the arthritis her mother had.
“I thought, ‘Gee I don`t want to get like my mother.” Her fingers were all crippled so I said I’m going to do something to keep going so my fingers are good at 83,” Gallant says.
And at 83, she is still knitting: for hospitals in Ontario, PEI, Minnesota, and basically anywhere Gallant and her husband Cliff travel. Wherever they go, the knitting goes with them.
There are thank you notes for the more than 3,000 hats and booties Gallant has knitted over the years. And tomorrow, she will have another piece of paper to add to the collection. She will be honoured with the Governor General’s Caring Canadian award, given to people who help make Canada a more caring nation.
“It does mean a lot, it does really it does,” she says. “It’s like, well I feel I’m helping the community and … it feels that I’m doing something to help others.”
And Gallant continues to help – not just babies but seniors like Doreen who received one of Gallant’s lap blankets.
“I think it’s very thoughtful I really do,” says Doreen. “And my knees get so cold, now they will be warm…”
Gallant will be down at Queen’s Park tomorrow to receive her award from Lt. Gov. David Onley and her family will be with her as she is honoured as a Caring Canadian.
“It’s pretty good, I’ll tell you,” says Gallant’s husband Cliff. “She’s still pretty good. It’s a wonderful thing.”
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