Jeanie Shaffer "is a mom to 7 but has played a role in thousands of births", thanks to her knitted hats.
Editor's note: This article was originally published on July 2, 2021. It has since been updated.
Knitting is an art that takes a lot of time and patience and if one stitch goes wrong, it's safe to say the whole project will be messed up, and one will have to start from scratch. So, when someone gives you a gift they knit themselves, it's understood that they have nothing but love for you. 90-year-old Jeanie Shaffer is the epitome of love as the grandmother has spent a huge chunk of her life knitting, not one, not two, but over 11,000 hats.
Yes, that's right. Shaffer has been knitting hats for newborn babies born at UPMC Western Maryland in Cumberland, Maryland for over 15 years, reports Southern Living. Shaffer is a serial knitter who volunteers hours of her time almost every night to make the hats that are of utmost importance to these newborn babies. There are others who knit hats, too, but Shaffer's clearly in the lead!
You see, these are not just an accessory to add to their wardrobe of tiny clothes; the hats stabilize the babies' body temperature when placed on their heads.
Staff at UPMC Western Maryland recently decided to celebrate their most loyal employee and asked parents to send in pictures of their children in Jeanie's beanies, and they received over a thousand images. The employees had to sift through the hoard of images because they could only choose 100 photos which were then compiled into an album and gifted to Shaffer.
The hospital shared a video they put together for Shaffer on Mother's day, to "celebrate Jeanie Shaffer, a volunteer at UPMC Western Maryland who is a mom to 7 but has played a role in thousands of births here in Cumberland. Jeanie has made over 11,000 white hats that are an essential part of keeping a baby warm as soon as they are born."
"The results were so overwhelming that we couldn't help but share with Jeanie to give her a glimpse of the impact her contribution has had over the years."
"I didn't realize making hats would go this far. I appreciate it a whole lot," Shaffer said to UPMC Western Maryland in an interview upon receiving her scrapbook. "It makes me feel proud and wonderful that I can do this to give the babies a warm head to start life," she added.
The grandma has no plans to slow down, either. "I want to live to be 100. I turned 90 in February. As long as I can make them, I want to keep making them," she said.
This kind gesture means a lot to the parents as much as it does to Shaffer, too. "Once they put the little hat on [our son], it calmed him down a little bit. I guess it was like a comfort snuggled up around him," parents Amyia Smith and Penni Lewis-Smith told the hospital. "We are going to make the hat part of a scrapbook, so we never lose it and always have it, and he can have it when he gets bigger."
Cover Image Source: YouTube/90-year-old knit 11,000 hats in 15 years for newborn babies to stay warm | GMA