Humber Valley Terrace resident using her knitting talent to help infants

Humber Valley Terrace resident Swaran Suri is on a mission to knit as many sweaters, booties and hats for babies receiving treatment at Toronto’s Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids).

Swaran Suri sits smiling in a chair while knitting a pink outfit for a babySuri, 89, has been knitting since she was five years old, so it is something she does well. One day Emily Viray, Revera Inc. long-term care home’s recreation manager, saw a sweater Suri had knitted and marvelled at its detail.

Viray then had an idea. What if the resident could use her talent to help others? She asked Suri if she would be interested in knitting clothing for babies at SickKids. Suri liked the idea. Viray then contacted Marie Scarland-James, president of the hospital’s women’s auxiliary, to ask if she would be interested in having Suri donate her knitting. Viray sent along photos of the resident’s work. Scarland-James was impressed and invited the resident to donate her knitting.
Swaran Suri is joined by two staff from SickKids Hospital and they are each holding outfits that she has knitted up for the camera

Suri got to work and was knitting items faster than they could be counted. In March, after only two months of work, Suri had a full bin of knitting to donate to SickKids. On March 10, Viray and Suri went to SickKids to drop off the bin at the hospital’s women’s auxiliary.

 The hospital’s staff members were “amazed” at how professionally knitted the items were. While the hospital is appreciative of Suri and her efforts, the resident is also pleased, Viray says.

 “I see how happy she is from donating (the clothing) – it was her first time visiting the hospital, and now she is inspired to continue our project and will soon visit SickKids again,” she adds.

 Viray says Humber Valley Terrace staff members look for ways to encourage residents’ strengths. Encouraging Suri to use her knitting talent to help infants receiving treatment at SickKids is an example of this, she says, adding the resident will spend hours watching TV while knitting. “Her hands never stop moving,” Viray says.

“I said, ‘Swaran, do you ever sleep?’” Viray chuckles. “Her work is so amazing – everything looks like it was made by a machine, but it is all done by hand.”

In photos: Swaran Suri poses with her projects, joined in the photo on the right by staff from SickKids.