Johns Hopkins All Children's Foundation

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Grandma’s Lifelong Fabric Supply Helps Keep Staff Safe


Posted on May 20, 2020

The photo shows the Emergency Center team in their custom, hand sewn scrub caps.
The Emergency Center team in their custom scrub caps.

“Can Grandma make me one?” Danielle Hirsch, M.D., kept hearing after she wore her grandma’s handmade scrub cap to the Emergency Center for her shift. 

“They don’t say ‘your grandma’ they just say ‘grandma,’” laughs Hirsch. “She’s pretty much everyone’s grandma. She loves to talk to people and loves to be a grandma.”

Her real name is Cynthia, and she lives right across the street from Hirsch. When the coronavirus pandemic started, Grandma wanted to put her sewing skills to good use to protect her granddaughter and her colleagues. After all, she was a seamstress for the Miss America Pageant for more than 30 years, sewing her whole life and her entire garage was filled to the brim with fabric. 

“She had too much fabric!” Hirsch says. “So Laura Gill, a nurse in the Emergency Center, and I kept going through her 60-year supply of fabric. I was finding some from the ’80s from when she made me a pair of shorts.”

It was all pediatric-related, so the kid-friendly touch made them even better.  

“We made cats on one side, dogs on the other and candy on the others – teddy bears! We were doing it on my kitchen table, and we had piles and piles of it!” Grandma says. “We’ve had a lot of fun.”

But perhaps Grandma took it most seriously, taking her back to the days of being a wardrobe seamstress.

“At one point she thought she was in a production line!” Hirsch says. “She’s ready to get a new sewing machine!”

That was a motivator for Gill who received a new one for Christmas and to date has made 50 caps. 

“And I’m not even sure how many Danielle’s grandma has made,” Gill says. “It was a pleasure to make them, a joy to see my coworkers wearing them and really an act of love for our work family!”

“We just had fun,” Grandma says. “She’s kept me in the house here and she keeps me busy. She says, ‘I’m keeping you outta trouble, Grandma.’”

And she certainly has, while protecting the frontline workers at Johns Hopkins All Children’s and keeping kids smiling with the unique array of pediatric patterns at the same time.