Friday, February 15, 2008

White Out Cancer!

Here's story number TWO for this week in the Springfield News-Leader! These two women are so wonderful and I am so glad someone took the opportunity to do a story on them. Not only do we have dishrags around here but Mrs. Anderson took the time to make the greatest earwarmers for all the little ones! They are warm, cozy and of course they are BROWN AND GOLD!!! I haven't gotten the chance to actually thank her for them so hopefully she reads this blog!! So, here's the article and a BIG thank you from the Stephanie Phillips Foundation to the people who are doing so much for Stephanie and her family. Love and Prayers.

(Click on the title of the blog and it will take you to the actual article!)
By Sarah Overstreet

Dishrags help wash out cancer-care cost Springfield Public Schools food service worker Shannon Kinney found an unusual ally in her friend Stephanie Phillips' battle with colon cancer — her knitting needles.

If most of us racked our brains trying to come up with an idea to raise money for a sick friend, probably only one in a million would come up with "dishrags."
Luckily, that one in a million lives here and has no padlocks on her imagination. Shannon Kinney had recently learned to knit from her friend Darleen Anderson, and knitting was the first thing that came to her mind.

"When I heard about Stephanie's cancer, I thought 'Everyone else can do something for her, what can I do?'" she remembers of hearing in August the heartbreaking news that Kickapoo High School's girls' basketball coach Stephanie Phillips had been diagnosed with colon cancer.

What she could do, she reasoned, was what she knew and what other people might want. She could knit, and the sturdy, pretty dishrags she knitted for friends and relatives lasted forever. She called Anderson to bounce the idea off, and her friend thought her idea was great. She researched the colors associated with different cancers — the American Cancer Society told her purple is for colon cancer — but from out of nowhere, a slogan popped into her mind: "White Out Coach Phillips' Cancer."

White. White, long-lasting dishcloths that are easily bleached when they lose their snowy sheen.
She hung sign-up sheets for orders and started talking to friends. Soon, some of them, like Anderson, joined her with needles.

Then, she became her own marketing department, talking to co-workers and customers at her second job, even taking custom orders for rags in various holiday colors.

Anderson says the impact of the small woman, her knitting needles and her mission has had an impact way past what Kinney even knows. "She brought together all these wonderful people everywhere she worked. They heard the story and went out with a new heart for cancer. They were so touched — here was this woman with two little boys (Phillips), just like Shannon was left with two little boys" (after Kinney's divorce).

By December, Kinney had reached her goal: She'd made 400 dishrags.
"I counted every stitch," Anderson says. "There are 1,865 stitches in each dish rag ... . Shannon says, 'With each stitch goes a prayer for Coach Phillips' full recovery.' She brought in $1,000 just by herself."

As we talk, Kinney knits, 10 spools of cotton yarn surrounding her feet at the couch where she sits. As Kinney does with almost any activity that lets her sit down, she knits. One of the only places she won't knit is at one of the high school or college games she often watches with Anderson. Her sons Dre and Channing Dokes grew up playing on teams with Anderson's grandsons Shane and Spencer Laurie all the way through middle school to high school graduation, and now Dre plays in the Canadian Football League.

"I can't knit and pay attention to the game," Kinney explains. "But Darleen knits. I don't care what game she's watching, she knits. I've at least got to the point where I can watch TV and knit."

Before she committed to her rag-a-thon, Kinney briefly wondered if she'd have the time. "Then I thought, 'Yeah, I'll have the time — I'll make the time.' It's in my heart."

When I reach into my pocket to get a few bills to poke into a kettle or contribute to a sick co-worker's hospital fund, I'm sure I'll often think of Shannon Kinney. She's bought more than $250 worth of yarn herself for the dishrags and baby blankets she makes for unwed teen mothers.
Shannon's hands don't stop at her pockets. They reach for her knitting needles, then pass on her work to others who need it more.

To visit the Web site maintained for Phillips by supporters, go to

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