Working by feel, 101-year-old hands grasp a green crochet needle and guide rainbow colored yarn through a cluster, then out of it to catch the yarn and pull it through again. Jerry Dillon misses. She tries again, and misses once more, sometimes taking three times to successfully complete one stich.
Having lost most of her sight to macular degeneration in 1998, Dillon sees a grey hole where her beloved project is. "I guess I'm pretty stubborn," she said. "I'm not going to give up."
Dillon has been sewing, knitting and crocheting for charity since the 1940s. Using the one last crochet stitch that she can accomplish, she creates beautiful afghans, and gives them to Project Linus, which provides handmade blankets to children in need.
Although she never meets those who get her afghans, she knows they are appreciated. "I hope it'll keep them warm and they give something to someone else," she said. "That's how payback works."
Dillon, who also suffers from arthritis in her hands, has made 269 blankets for Project Linus since she began donating to them in 2002. She wants other people who have macular degeneration or other physical limitations to know that they can still find a way to volunteer their skills. "I've been active all my life," she said. "I hope this will help people that have this condition that think they can't do anything anymore. I suggest they volunteer. It gives them something to do and helps somebody else."
To find out more about the local chapter of Project Linus visit www.sacprojectlinus.org
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