Karen Menary wanted a way to give back to the “work family” she’s proudly served alongside for the last two decades.

A registered nurse in Markham Stouffville Hospital’s (MSH) childbirth unit, Karen has been working from home supporting departments throughout the hospital with various administrative needs, due to a health condition that prevents her from being at work during the pandemic.

“Our staff and physicians are facing unprecedented challenges as they navigate COVID-19 and, although I can’t be there in person, I wanted to do something to make them smile,” she said.

That opportunity came in the form of homemade scrub caps. Karen – who taught herself to both knit and crochet – has produced more than 220 colourful caps for departments throughout the hospital.

The caps assist health care practitioners in keeping their hair away from sterile environments in the hospital setting. They can be worn underneath the face shields that are often needed in patient care.

These stylish caps are not the only item being generously handcrafted. Wide, comfortable headbands are also being made by and for the MSH community. Staff and physicians must wear surgical masks at all times while in the hospital and these headbands include buttons on each side for the mask straps to avoid them rubbing on a person’s ear.

“The minute my mother heard about the need for these headbands, she immediately began creating them,” said Lisa Harper, Director of Medical Administration, Planning and Transformation. “Now, my cousin is making some surgical caps so it has become a real family affair.”

Lisa’s colleague, Capital Planning Senior Advisor Roberta Lau, has also been sharing her sewing skills in making headbands.

“It’s an honour for me to do this for my colleagues and I’m proud to see others helping out in the same way,” said Roberta.

“It truly illustrates the incredible sense of community that exists at MSH.”

“Karen, Lisa and Roberta are part of a whole slew of staff who have come forward to support their colleagues with these caps and headbands,” said Christian Buendia, Patient Care Manager of the Critical Care Unit, whose team has received many of the items.

“We’re thankful to all of them for their kindness. It’s the small things that go a long way in making a difference in our days.”