(left: Doris Kelley, aka Granny and right: Mary Rafferty)
We will deliver Easter baskets and prizes to the hospital tonight for the Project Believe Kids’ annual egg hunt tomorrow. The quiet donations received to make this happen this year are greatly appreciated as it has been a difficult time for many of us at Project Believe.
On Monday, we lost one of our biggest supporters: Doris Kelley, affectionately known as Granny to many and I was lucky enough to call her my Granny.
She has always been a very big part of my life, being raised next door to her, but she has played an even bigger role in my adult life. She believed in me, believed in Mary, believed in us and in Project Believe. She taught me so much and led by example through her unconditional love, honesty, strength, humor, determination, and nurturing.
I have watched her give of herself my whole life. Whether it was a meal ‘just because’ she knew it was a favorite, a gift ‘just because’ she knew the recipient would love it, or a kind word or note ‘just because’ she was thinking of someone – she always gave with a smile of contentment. I believe she truly got more out of her giving than any one of us fortunate to be on the receiving end could ever experience.
She learned to crochet in her 60’s. Next week would be her 94th birthday and up until a few months ago, she was still crocheting. Of course every member of our family and most of our friends have afghans and scarves to keep us warm and remind us of her for a lifetime. But did you know she has crocheted just for the joy of giving back for years? She has made baby afghans for mothers and babies in shelters. She has made lap robes for people afflicted with ALS. She has made lap robes for people in Hospice, confined to wheelchairs. She never kept track, but I know there are hundreds if not thousands of people surrounded by the warmth of a ‘stranger’ and can feel the love and warmth of a ‘granny’.
When Project Believe was nothing more than a few of us buying gifts for a few kids, Granny couldn’t wait to be a part of it by getting the kids some snacks and candy for their Christmas bags. As we grew, so did Granny’s generosity. Two years ago, she crocheted scarves for every kid on one of the hospital units. She was so proud, but that wasn’t good enough for her.
The day after Christmas 2010, she started crocheting scarves and didn’t stop until just before this past Christmas to be sure every kid at the hospital had their own scarf! We felt like she hadn’t just given them each a scarf, but gave them each a Granny. Every kid deserves a Granny!
In these final months, I was fortunate enough to spend all of the time I needed with Granny to be sure there was nothing left unsaid or undone. In that precious time, I made two promises to Granny: to grow Project Believe to its full potential and to make sure every kid gets a hand-made scarf. Project Believe is honored to add our newest program: Granny Scarves! We already have volunteers starting to sign-up to pick up where Granny left off. If you are interested in making scarves, email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org to be a part of the legacy.
In true Granny fashion, her final act of believing in me and in Project Believe was to give back by requesting donations be made to Project Believe in lieu of flowers. I was fortunate to be able to thank her while she was still here and now want to thank everyone on her behalf who has given to us in her honor.
You are loved and missed Granny. Watch with pride as we grow because you believed in us!
~~ Tammie Rafferty, Director