Making Wreaths Proves Therapeutic for Dedicated Donor
Mary Womack is Cancer Navigators’ longest active wreath decorator, and this year her volunteerism proved to be mental and physical therapy for her.
When Sarah Husser, Fundraising and Outreach Coordinator for Cancer Navigators, called Womack on Aug. 19 to let her know the wreath forms had arrived, Mary had just been released from the hospital after contracting COVID-19. Her husband, Ricky, also fell ill from the virus and passed away.
“Before COVID, Mary would push-mow 3 yards, manually trim shrubbery, and get on the roof of her house to blow leaves,” Husser said. “When she was released from the hospital, she was on oxygen and needed physical therapy to re-gain her strength.”
The day after her husband’s funeral, Mary started decorating wreaths. She would work sitting on the floor, requiring her to get up and down on her own, lift the wreaths and reach – tasks that were once simple that now required thought and effort.
Each wreath she makes is in honor or in memory of someone affected by cancer and is decorated to fit their personalities.
“When I spoke to Mary she said I probably wouldn’t get to see her this year due to her condition and being so weak; she would have family pick-up and deliver the wreaths,” Husser said. “What a treat it was to have her visit the Cancer Navigators office on November 1 to view the wreaths and have her photo taken with several of the wreaths she decorated!”
Some of her wreaths can be purchased Saturday during an in-person sale at the Harbin Clinic Cancer Center parking lot from 10 a.m. to noon.