From OHC

August 1, 2019

When you’re battling cancer or a blood disorder, a beautiful, hand-knitted shawl is a wonderful gift of warmth. At OHC, it’s also a gift of hope and prayer, thanks to a local group of caring women.

When someone receives a cancer diagnosis, it affects all aspects of their life. They may feel sad, fearful, or lonely. To support patients during this emotional time, OHC’s team of cancer care experts are often recipients of heartwarming gifts from grateful patients, family members, and local organizations who want to offer kindness, hope, love and support to our patients. Most recently, it was through a special gift from the ladies of the local Guardian Angels Prayer Shawl Ministry.

“We have a group of eight ladies who knit shawls. As we knit, we pray for the person who will receive the shawl,” said Mary Jo Clear, the group’s founder. “We don’t know who will receive them, but we ask God to bless the recipients. When we’re finished, we have the pastor at Guardian Angels Parish at bless them. Then we use a Guardian Angel pin to attach a prayer card to each shawl.”

Mary Jo and the ladies believe the shawls provide patients with a unique sense of support and warmth, especially during times of fear and uncertainty. The gift feels extra special because the shawls are made with unconditional love, compassion, prayers and a blessing.

“Some of my patients have said they like the shawls especially because they have been blessed,” said Mark E. Johns, MD, Medical Oncologist and Hematologist at OHC Eastgate. “Our patients are also amazed that these are complete strangers, people who don’t know them at all, who care about them.”

Mary Jo formed that group in 2006 after reading a book about how the “knitting ministry” emerged. Some of the ladies meet and knit together and some prefer to knit on their own. Either option is fine with Mary Jo.

“We’ve made 433 shawls since our first meeting,” she said. “Some of the people who receive a shawl believe they can literally feel the love and caring that goes into making the shawls, almost like an electric energy. That’s a beautiful thing.”

The doctors and staff at OHC are firm believers in the power of supportive care. OHC provides clinical expertise and the most advanced treatments combined with support and compassionate to give patients and their families care that is genuinely comprehensive.

To learn more about OHC, its doctors and services, or for a second opinion, please visit or call 1-800-710-4674. If you’re interested in joining the Guardian Angels Prayer Shawl Ministry, please call Mary Jo at 513-708-6153 or Ericka at 513-232-5629. People who crochet are also welcome.

ohc cancer patients with shawls

Pictured, top, left to right, are five of the eight members who recently visited OHC Eastgate and donated more than 15 shawls: Mary Jo Clear, Rosemary Ross, Leslie Hoekzema, Anna Hahn, and Erika Smith. Members not pictured are Marilyn Fanning, Paula Guanche, and Helen Plotke. Pictured, bottom, with patients Kim Turner (left) and Tammy Back (right) is Rosemary Ross, a member of the shawl ministry.

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