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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – A group of women are working to comfort patients at a local hospital.

What started as their own charity at Magee-Women’s Hospital has turned into something much more meaningful.

Their hands work quick, wrapping yarn around the needles, as the women knit row after row. They aren’t just making hats. They are also providing comfort.

“The people in the unit, when they receive them are most gracious,” Dena Chottiner said.

This group of women is known as the Hat Makers of Magee. What started as a small gesture several years ago to make hats for newborn babies grew into something equally, if not more, meaningful.

“We decided to go on to make adult hats for patients and it’s been very successful,” Chottiner said.

“Anything we can do to help our cancer patients while they’re going through treatment is a real benefit,” Judy Herstine, of the Magee-Women‘s Cancer Program, said.

The patients receiving chemo and radiation often lose their hair and treatment. It can also leave them physically feeling cold. The group has made over 5,000 hats since they began knitting for adult patients four years ago. They sell a hat here and there, but the money made goes right back into the program.

“Right back to buy more yarn. We don’t get that much money. We give all the hats to patients. The only ones we sell are in the lobby here,” Chottiner said.

They still help the youngest patients at Magee, currently knitting red hats for newborns for the American Heart Association’s observance of American Heart Month in February.

“It’s called Little Hats Big Hearts. Magee will probably distribute about 100 red baby hats,” Chottiner said.

As Chottiner tells the patients, the hats are made with warmth and delivered with love.

“They say they never went to the hospital or doctor’s office and came home with a present,” she said.